HUD recently published the first in a series of products for use by communities in monitoring, evaluating, and improving upon local Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) implementations.
These products support HUD’s SNAPS Data and Performance Strategy:
- Improve the capacity of people setting up, operating, and benefitting from data systems
- Data systems collect accurate, comprehensive and timely data
Continuums of Care (CoCs) can use these tools to build the capacity of their HMIS implementation by improving both system administration and software vendor oversight.
HMIS System Administrator Checklist
The first tool is an HMIS System Administrator Checklist which provides an overview of activities, duties, and tasks that a CoC may require of its HMIS Lead, as well as the plans, policies, and procedures that a CoC should have in place to govern its HMIS implementation. This checklist outlines roles and responsibilities that communities may require of their HMIS Lead.
HMIS Software Vendor Capacity Checklist
The second tool is an HMIS Software Vendor Capacity Checklist that provides an overview of both HUD requirements of an HMIS software as well as common technical and functional features that communities may require or expect from their HMIS software. This checklist provides CoC and HMIS leadership with a set of standardized criteria that the CoC may determine the HMIS software Vendor should meet, which can be defined in contracts and agreements.This checklist outlines features and functionalities that can be measured by a community to either verify compliance with HUD requirements or identify a quality improvement strategy to ensure that their HMIS software is meeting the data needs of the CoC.
These checklists provide HMIS Leads, system administrators, and CoC data leadership with an assessment framework to ensure specific roles and responsibilities are fulfilled by relevant stakeholders who are involved in the administration, management, and operation of a CoC’s HMIS implementation.
How communities should use these checklists
- Determine appropriate stakeholders to engage in the monitoring and evaluation process, accounting for subject matter expertise, authority within the CoC, and objectivity.
- Review the CoC’s HMIS governance charter, HMIS policies and procedures, and other applicable documents to determine which entity is responsible for checklist items (i.e. security monitoring, user license allocation, data export).
- Complete a review of the checklists and applicable contracts and agreements with HMIS stakeholders – including the HMIS Software Vendor and HMIS Lead – to ensure specific and measureable activities and tasks are being fulfilled by the responsible stakeholder.
- Identify the checklist items that are not clearly defined within the CoC’s local governance, policy, and operational documents and work collaboratively with CoC leadership and HMIS stakeholders to assign these roles and responsibilities, as needed.
- Implement action steps that address the underlying deficiencies identified through the review process.
- Assess on a regularly basis, using the checklist to select and implement appropriate improvement strategies to address deficiencies, and work collectively to improve the quality of HMIS.
HUD wants CoCs to set HMIS standards and to monitor those standards; write HMIS contracts and monitor against those contracts; set data quality thresholds and monitor against those thresholds; and determine HMIS staffing and resource needs and find diverse funding to meet those needs. In the coming months, HUD will publish additional tools to address these and other topics, in an effort to support CoCs improving their data systems and their performance.