HMIS in Lansing

The HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) is a database used to gather objective data on the homeless in our area.  It collects basic data on clients and tracks the services that they receive. Our agencies participate in this state-wide database, which it allows us to know who our clients are and how effectively our programs help them. The City of Lansing administers the HMIS database for GLHRN. We have assembled some documents to help agencies better understand HMIS.

If you are new at a HMIS participating agency, this document will take you through the steps of registering for training with MCAH and be on the road to using HMIS effectively. HUD has also created a tutorial on their data standards.

Starting October 2017, new data collection forms need to be used to conform to the 2017 update of the HUD HMIS data standards.  There are specific forms for different program models.

To protect the privacy of our clients, we must get consent from them in order to share their information through ServicePoint, which allows us to better coordinate their housing services.  We use the GLHRN MSHMIS_2017_Release of Information form to document this consent, which gives GLHRN the ability to look at and share their information. GLHRN HMIS agencies can also attach files, such as copies of driver’s licenses or birth certificates. This allows HMIS to store  these copies and provide them to clients if they were to lose their IDs.

One advantage to HMIS is it allows agencies to refer clients to other service providers in easy and efficient ways. This gives our clients additional places to receive need services, and also keeps track of how our agencies are coordinating.

HMIS also allows client to be grouped by households, allowing families to be served together more effectively.

Another aspect HMIS can track is case management time. This allows us to know how much time we have spent helping any given client. There is also a case management report that allows agencies to quickly determine the number of case management hours they have on HMIS.

Rapid re-housing (RRH) works very effectively by placing clients into housing directly via rental assistance. HMIS contains information about these services.

Preventing homelessness before it happens helps our families, because they wouldn’t need to leave their home. Prevention services are another important part of GLHRN, and are documented on HMIS.

A key feature of HMIS are sub-assessments. These allow the network to share the specific issues faced by our clients, and serve them better.

Occasionally, HUD will update the required data standards, so our agencies keep up to date with the latest HMIS standards, such as this one on questions regarding whether a client is Chronically Homeless.

If you have questions about HMIS in Ingham County or are in need of assistance with HMIS and are a licensed user in Ingham, feel free to contact Matt Stevenson (matt.stevenson@lansingmi.gov) at the City of Lansing’s Human Relations & Community Services Department.

The Continuum of Care for Ingham County, Michigan