The Coalition is the HMIS Lead Agency for the Commission on Homelessness for the FL 504-Continuum of care for Volusia and Flagler Counties. HMIS provides for a more comprehensive coordination of services across our continuum of care. Participating agencies can view available resources offered through other CoC agencies and make the appropriate referrals in “real time” when services are actually needed. System users can view client information, reducing duplication of efforts by clients and agencies which in turn will improve outcomes for clients and agencies alike. Adequate training, monitoring and oversight of agency users by the HMIS Administrator and other Coalition staff who support HMIS functioning is essential for accurate and complete data entry.
The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is an invaluable tool for communities and HUD to develop better information on the nature of homelessness, the number of people experiencing homelessness, the existing patterns in housing programs and services and the effectiveness of programs and services in addressing homelessness. Participation in HMIS is required for programs funded under the McKinney-Vento Act programs as well as State, local and other private funding sources. Without adequate HMIS to support the administration of the database, the whole homeless assistance and housing system is put at risk which may impede if not halting the progress towards achieving HUDs “opening Doors” Strategic Plan to End Homelessness in our Continuum.
In addition, HMIS requirements affect more than the CoC funded programs and the standards are published in a separate regulation (24 CFR part 580) that specifies the minimum requirements. CoC’s must have an HMIS that has the capacity to collect unduplicated counts of individuals and families experiencing homelessness and provide information and provide information to project recipients and applicants for needs analysis and funding priorities. With the inclusion of ESG and other Federal partners like the VA along with State partners that require data entry into HMIS, the need for added capacity becomes apparent in order to be able to use the HMIS to review performance on a systematic basis and in providing ever increasing and immediate services to emergency shelters, street outreach, homeless prevention, transitional housing, permanent housing and other direct services.
An expansion of HMIS user agencies is being pursued by the Commission on Homelessness for Volusia and Flagler County CoC to increase participation in the database, increase the validity of outcomes through accessing more data, and increase communication between agencies with greater coordination of services across providers, a requirement of the Hearth Act and Interim Rule (CFR 24 Part 78). Additionally, the CoC fully implemented its coordinated entry (assessment and intake) system which will utilizes HMIS system as its central point of reference. Per 24 CFR 576.107(a)(2) and 24 CFR 578.57(b) HMIS Leads may use funds to pay to customize or enhance the CoC’s HMIS to integrate coordinated entry. Agencies who have access to the HMIS database will be able to identify families in need and match them with available openings in the various housing components as indicated in the HMIS by the participating agencies.