FAQs

What is an HMIS Lead? 

An HMIS Lead is the single entity charged with the program administration, operation, and management of the HMIS in alignment with federal regulations.  The Indianapolis CoC has designated CHIP as the HMIS Lead.

Who can access HMIS?

Direct access to HMIS is restricted to licensed end users.  In order to obtain a user license and login credentials, individuals will need to attend training.  Aggregate information pulled from HMIS is published several times a year.

Who can input into HMIS?

Direct input into HMIS is limited to organizations that operate programs that serve persons who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  This is not limited to organizations who receive federal funds.  Any organization that meets the requirements can input.  New organizations must demonstrate capacity to input all required elements, capacity to maintain compliance with security standards, and capacity for sustainability of project.

What costs are associated with HMIS?

The software vendor charges license fees for use.  A portion of the fees are covered through grants CHIP receives.  Participating Agencies pay the other portion of the license fee.

Other costs for HMIS include salaries for staff to train end users, assist end users with helpdesk tickets, manage compliance with HUD regulations, write specifications for CoC and agency reports, fulfill federally mandated reporting requirements for PIT, HIC, and AHAR, and contribute to CoC data policy.  CHIP contracts with @Work Solutions for SQL development, database administration, and other tasks beyond the capacity of our agency.  These costs are covered by grants CHIP receives.

What are the benefits of HMIS?

With timely and accurate input from end users, HMIS can generate reports on persons who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness served across Indianapolis.  It can quickly generate information on housing and income outcomes for multiple program types. This information can be used to inform donors, analyze program efficacy, and better track long term trends.

Does the HMIS interact with any other databases?

No information is directly linked from other databases, federal, state or local.  We import formatted data from other homeless data systems when possible.  Some federal funders require formatted exports into repositories on a scheduled basis.  All formatted data must meet HUD Import/Export standards.

Who controls the functions and setup of ClientTrack?

The HMIS staff use the current tools available to manage user accounts; grant, service, and outcome codes; and reports.  The software vendor controls the interaction of data elements, designs the visual themes, writes federally specified reports, and defines functions available to use by customers.

Will HMIS tell me if my client is eligible for services under a particular grant?

No.  HMIS is not currently used as a final indicator for grant eligibility.  Some grant eligibilities fall into data elements tracked in HMIS.  Questions related to eligibility for a grant should be deferred to the grant manager.

Who has oversight of the HMIS Lead?

HMIS oversight for federal compliance is provided by City of Indianapolis through grant monitoring.  The HMIS Lead reports to the Planning and Investment Committee for data policy and approval.  The Blue Print Council monitors and charters with the HMIS Lead.

My organization already uses a case management and billing data system.  Do we have to use HMIS for our homeless assistance grants?

Recipients and sub-recipients of federal homeless assistance grants are required to directly input information into HMIS.

How frequent is HMIS training? 

CHIP offers trainings every month covering topics in data entry and reporting.  Training other than what is regularly offered can be arranged on a case by case basis.

Where can I find the most recent HMIS Standards and Regulations?

The best source for federal HMIS information is www.onecpd.info/hmis.

Why do some people say HMIS and other people say ClientTrack?  Aren’t they the same?

There is a difference between HMIS and ClientTrack.  An HMIS is a category of data system.  ClientTrack is a specific software application.  Every CoC has to have an HMIS, but can use the software that best meets their needs.   By using ClientTrack we have the ability to go beyond the minimum requirements for HMIS, but we will always need to maintain compliance with standards to remain an HMIS.