HMIS Guides and Tools

These resources are intended to assist Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead agencies, Continuum of Care (CoC) representatives, and HMIS vendors in designing, implementing, and maintaining an HMIS. Resources available include data standard manuals; trainings, templates and tools; and sample policies and procedures.

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HMIS Data and Technical Standards

HMIS Data Standards

HMIS data standards have been established by HUD, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow for standardized data collection on homeless individuals and families across systems. The Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool, the HMIS Data Dictionary, and the HMIS Data Standards Manual are the documentation of requirements for the programming and use of all HMIS systems and comparable database systems. FY 2022 resources are effective as of October 1, 2021.

Date Published: October 2021

Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool

The FY 2022 Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool is designed for CoCs, HMIS Lead Agencies, HMIS System Administrators, HMIS Users, and HMIS Software Providers to help them understand the data elements that are required in an HMIS to meet participation and reporting requirements established by HUD and other federal partners at VA and HHS.

Date Published: October 2021

2004 HMIS Data and Technical Standards Notice

The privacy and security standards for HMIS, as described in the 2004 Data and Technical Standards Notice, seek to protect the confidentiality of personal information while allowing for reasonable, responsible, and limited uses and disclosures of data. These privacy and security standards are based on principles of fair information practices and on security standards recognized by the information privacy and technology communities. The standards were developed after careful review of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards for securing and protecting patient information.

Communities are expected to continue to use the 2004 Notice to implement their HMIS.

Date Published: August 2004

Vendor Programming and Data Exchange Resources

HMIS Data Standards

HMIS data standards have been established by HUD, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to allow for standardized data collection on homeless individuals and families across systems. The Interactive HMIS Data Standards Tool, the HMIS Data Dictionary, and the HMIS Data Standards Manual are the documentation of requirements for the programming and use of all HMIS systems and comparable database systems. FY 2022 resources are effective as of October 1, 2021.

Date Published: October 2021

CoC APR and ESG CAPER HMIS Programming Specifications

These HUD HMIS Programming Specification documents detail the business rules required for the HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Annual Performance Report (APR) and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).

Date Published: August 2021

Client-Level System Use and Length of Time Homeless Report

The Client-Level System Use and Length of Time Homeless Report is designed to provide a general summary of information in an individual client’s HMIS history that is relevant to chronic homelessness.

Date Published: April 2018

HMIS Standard Reporting Terminology Glossary

This Glossary was created by HMIS vendors for HMIS vendors. This document is not intended to be a guidebook instructing communities as to what they must collect or need to do. Rather, the Glossary is designed to provide HMIS programmers a foundation upon which they can best program HMIS-required reports.

Date Published: June 2017

Data Exchange Resources

This page contains HMIS CSV and XML schema and related tools.

System Performance Measures

This page provides HUD guidance for CoCs on system-level performance.

APR Guides, Tools, and Webinars

Recipients with HUD funding received through CoC homeless assistance grants (e.g., Supportive Housing Program, Shelter Plus Care, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program, CoC Program) are required to submit an Annual Performance Report (APR) electronically to HUD every operating year. Data collection for the APR is aligned with the most recent version of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Data Standards.

ESG CAPER Submission Guidance

Recipients with HUD funding received through the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program are required to submit a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) to HUD annually. Data collection for the ESG portion of the CAPER is aligned with the most recent version of the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Data Standards.

Project Setup and Data Collection Resources

CoC Program HMIS Resources

HMIS Comparable Database Manual

This Comparable Database Manual provides Victim Service Providers, prohibited from participating in their CoC’s HMIS, with information needed to meet Comparable Database project setup, data collection, and reporting requirements.

Date Published: October 2021

HMIS Project Set Up Tool

The HMIS Project Set Up Tool provides a general framework to support project setup in HMIS by system administrators. It assists system administrators in ensuring that all HMIS participating projects are set up using the appropriate HMIS project types and are collecting the required data elements. Accurate setup is critical for enabling your HMIS to generate System Performance Measures and project-level reporting to federal funders.

Date Published: August 2021

Comparable Database Vendor Checklist

This document is intended to help agencies ensure that vendors provide software that meets the minimum privacy standards and data collection/reporting requirements in addition to meeting the needs of the community. Additionally, this checklist can be used as a strategic planning resource for how a comparable database can be used as a tool to prevent and end homelessness in the community.

Date Published: October 2020

CoC Program HMIS Manual

The CoC Program HMIS Manual is intended to support data collection and reporting efforts of HMIS Lead Agencies and CoC Program recipients. This manual provides information on HMIS program setup and data collection guidance specific to the CoC Program and the legacy programs: Supportive Housing Program (SHP), Shelter Plus Care (S+C), and Single Room Occupancy for the Homeless (SRO) that have not yet renewed under the CoC Program.

Date Published: September 2019

CoC HMIS Recordkeeping Requirements Startup Training Video

This video provides an overview of the data collection requirements for projects funded under the CoC Program interim rule, describes when data must be collected from clients, and outlines what recipients need to consider in order to prepare for data collection under the newly published 2014 HMIS Data Standards.

Date Published: September 2014

ESG Program HMIS Resources

ESG Program HMIS Manual

The ESG Program HMIS Manual is intended to support data collection and reporting efforts of HMIS Lead Agencies and ESG recipients and subrecipients. This manual provides information on HMIS program setup and data collection guidance specific to the ESG Program.

Date Published: June 2021

HMIS Allowable Expenses for ESG

This document highlights several costs in which ESG recipients or subrecipients may use ESG funds, as well as additional eligible costs for ESG recipients that are HMIS Lead agencies.

Date Published: July 2020

ESG HMIS Data Collection Templates

This set of documents contain data collection information for HMIS Data being collected by ESG programs.

Date Published: October 2017

YHDP HMIS Resources

YHDP HMIS Manual

The YHDP HMIS Manual is intended to support data collection and reporting efforts of HMIS Lead Agencies and YHDP recipients. This manual provides information on HMIS program setup and data collection guidance specific to YHDP.

Date Published: November 2019

Federal Partner Resources

Federal Partner Integration Resources

The Federal Partner Integration Resources page contains resources and materials to assist System Administrators, CoC administrators, and end users in following the HMIS requirements of HUD and other federal partners.

HMIS Leads and Governance

HMIS Lead Series

This suite of HMIS Lead products is intended to support communities advance the goals and support the improvement strategies of the SNAPS Data TA Strategy to Improve Data and Performance. Resources include:

  1. HMIS Lead Standards: Coming Soon
  2. HMIS Staffing and Resourcing Toolkit
  3. HMIS Lead Improvement Evaluation Matrix
  4. HMIS System Administrator Checklist
  5. Data Quality Management Program
  6. Tools for Contract Management
  7. HMIS Software Vendor Monitoring Tool
  8. HMIS End User Training Guide
  9. HMIS Software Vendor Capacity Checklist

Read more about the HMIS Lead Series

Additional HMIS Lead Resources

CoC Program: HMIS Broadcast

Part of series of broadcasts on the responsibilities of the Continuum of Care (CoC), this segment provides an overview of the continuum’s responsibilities related to Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).

Date Published: September 2013

Designating and Operating an HMIS Video

This video provides an overview of designating and operating a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) under the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, as well as discusses the purpose behind the HMIS requirements in the CoC Program interim rule.

Date Published: September 2013

CoC Program Funding for HMIS User Guide and FAQs

This user guide provides an overview of HMIS and the CoC’s responsibilities in relation to HMIS, and describes how CoC Program funds can be used by the HMIS Lead and by other recipients to support the implementation of HMIS.

Date Published: August 2012

HMIS Budgeting and Staffing Toolkit

This document provides an overview of eligible activities that can be funded within SHP budget categories, presents a variety of funding strategies, and discusses alternative staffing models.

Date Published: March 2011

HMIS Privacy and Security

The following resources have been developed to support communities in their work towards implementing sound and compliant HMIS privacy and security practices:

HMIS Privacy and Security Standards: Emergency Data Sharing for Public Health or Disaster Purposes

This document seeks to inform communities covered under HUD's HMIS Privacy and Security Standards of the capabilities and limitations of sharing participant information under the HMIS Standards during public health or disaster emergencies.

Date Published: March 2020

Coordinated Entry Management and Data Guide

This Guide expands on the policy and management responsibilities described in HUD’s Coordinated Entry Notice. Each of the guide’s chapters discusses aspects of coordinated entry management, evaluation, data privacy and security, and use of data to guide system change efforts. Policy, management and evaluation roles are covered in the context of data privacy and security. The Guide provides special focus on data systems and their functionality when considering how to evaluate CE processes.

Date Published: October 2018

Comparable Database Decision Tree

This tool is intended for Continuum of Care (CoC) administrators, HMIS System Administrators, HMIS Software Vendors, and program directors. The tool walks the user through a series of questions that help determine if a domestic violence program should be entered into an HMIS or a comparable database.

Date Published: August 2018

2004 HMIS Data and Technical Standards Notice

The privacy and security standards for HMIS, as described in the 2004 Data and Technical Standards Notice, seek to protect the confidentiality of personal information while allowing for reasonable, responsible, and limited uses and disclosures of data. These privacy and security standards are based on principles of fair information practices and on security standards recognized by the information privacy and technology communities. The standards were developed after careful review of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards for securing and protecting patient information.

Communities are expected to continue to use the 2004 Notice to implement their HMIS.

Date Published: August 2004

HMIS Data Quality

Strategy 2 of the SNAPS Data Strategy encourages communities to ensure that their "Data systems collect accurate, comprehensive and timely data". The resources and guidance below are intended to support those efforts by highlighting HUD expectations and emerging practices to support improved data quality in HMIS.

Grant Consolidation and Closing Projects: How to Handle Client Data in HMIS

This document discusses the variety of circumstances that may require a client or a group of clients to be moved from one project to another project in HMIS. The method used to transfer data from one project to another can have significant impacts on the way client and system data are reported.

Date Published: July 2020

CoC Data Quality Brief

High quality data is essential to understanding the health of a community’s homeless assistance system and knowing where performance improvements are needed. This brief provides HUD's vision for data quality, introduces tools HUD has developed to support data quality improvement, and recommends a process for implementing a data quality management program.

Date Published: May 2017

Data Quality 201: Strategies to Check the Accuracy of Your System

What are effective strategies to check the accuracy of an HMIS? This presentation describes how to review the results of HMIS reports to identify potential issues with the accuracy of programming as well as potential data quality issues.

Date Published: April 2019

Data Quality 201: Governance Agreements and Monitoring for DQ

How can a CoC make sure that they have the agreements and practices in place to increase data quality across its HMIS? This presentation is intended to help communities develop strong data quality governance agreements, benchmarks, and monitoring practices.

Date Published: April 2019

HMIS Data Quality Monitoring Toolkit

This toolkit provides CoCs, HMIS lead agencies, and homeless service providers with guidance and tools needed to develop a community-level HMIS data quality plan. This toolkit will assist in the development of a data quality plan and protocols for ongoing data quality monitoring.

Date Published: August 2010

Enhancing HMIS Data Quality

This document describes program and system level strategies to improve data quality. Separate chapters provide information and tips for front-line and data entry staff, program directors, CoC and implementation-level HMIS managers and administrators, and software providers. The appendices include valuable resources, such as a sample data collection form, a list of validation checks for particular fields, and sample data quality reports.

Date Published: October 2008

HMIS Data Quality Plan Worksheet

This document lists a series of questions to consider answering to ensure a data quality around the four data general quality principles: timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and consistency. It is intended as a guide for creating and implementing benchmarks for your HMIS implementation in assuring quality data that can help you better understand and address homelessness in your community.

Date Published: September 2008