The system performance measures are a critical component to assist communities to best serve persons experiencing homelessness. As this data becomes more available and the data quality increases it will become more important in HUD’s annual Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition. HUD expects communities to be aware of their performance and to be striving to improve. In the coming weeks, CoCs will submit their system performance measures via HUD’s Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX). HUD anticipates opening this sometime in June and will send a listserv when the opening and closing dates are established.
The purpose of this listserv is to prepare CoCs to submit their data in the coming weeks and to highlight some reminders. HUD encourages CoCs and HMIS Leads to take the following steps to prepare for this:
- HUD Guidance and Resources: HUD’s System Performance Measures site links communities to several resources. These resources include a range of tools that are intended to answer basic questions as well as technical questions. HUD recommends that all communities refresh themselves on the contents of the System Performance Measures Introductory Guide. Other resources that are available on this site are identified below.
- Preparing for Measures: HUD encourages CoCs to run their System Performance Measure data in their Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). Review the data with your community to ensure that there is a common understanding of what each measure means, and what your HMIS is reporting. HUD also strongly encourages CoCs, providers, and HMIS Leads to review the white board videos on the measures. The videos go over each measure, provide context for your local data, and are a critical tool that should be used locally to build a common understanding of these measures. CoCs should also visit www.hudhdx.info and confirm that they have active accounts for the system. If you have recently had a staff change or need to alter your HDX accounts, please submit your questions to the HDX Ask A Question (AAQ) portal. To submit a question to the HDX AAQ portal, select “HDX: Homelessness Data Exchange (Including PIT, HIC and AHAR)” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.
- System Coverage: As previously noted by HUD, most of the system performance measures rely on the use of HMIS data that reflects the full system of homeless assistance available in each community, and not just those projects that are CoC Program funded. CoCs and HMIS Leads should understand their current system, identify projects not participating in HMIS, and work closely with those projects now to encourage their participation in the system.
However, please note that victim service provider projects cannot be entered into HMIS. These projects must enter their data into a comparable database, and therefore will not be included in any calculation of system coverage.
- Data Quality: CoCs should begin running data quality reports as soon as possible and continue to improve their data quality.
- HMIS Software Readiness: HUD released the System Performance Measures HMIS Programming Specifications in October of 2015. At that time, HUD stated in its listserv message that HMIS vendors should have the measures programmed into their HMIS by January of 2016. Any CoCs that believe their HMIS vendor has not yet programmed the System Performance Measures into HMIS should submit their questions to the HUD Exchange AAQ portal immediately, so that HUD is aware of any potential vendor issues. To submit a question to the HMISAAQ portal, select “HMIS” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process and include “Reporting” in the subject line.
- Test Reports: HMIS leads are encouraged to review their HMIS reports. This data should be shared with the CoC as well, so that both the HMIS Lead and CoC can identify any concerns that they have about the accuracy of the programming of the HMIS report in their software.
HUD is excited about the great potential this data has to effect change and hopes that communities feel the same excitement. This is not merely data for data’s sake. This is data that will allow communities to understand what is going on locally and make important changes. HUD knows this may take time to incorporate into community operations but HUD encourages all communities to start now to make their system performance a prominent aspect of their own evaluation.