The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a secure, computerized data collection system used to produce an unduplicated count of persons using homeless services. The system is used by multiple agencies to capture client-level information, over time, regarding the characteristics and service needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. This information is then used for reporting, grant writing, and community planning.
All recipients of The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds for homelessness and homelessness prevention services are required to participate in the HMIS. This includes recipients of Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) funds, Supportive Housing Program (SHP), Shelter Plus Care (S+C), Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation for Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). In addition, HUD encourages participation of other federal programs that serve homeless persons. Participation of other organizations that do not receive HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) funding is voluntary, but strongly encouraged in order to achieve an accurate accounting of homeless services in the community.
CARES Regional Homeless Management Information System Database Software
While the HMIS is a nationally mandated database, each participating agency or group of agencies may either build their own database or contract with a vendor. CARES Regional Database uses Foothold Technology’s AWARDS software chosen for their dedication to not-for-profit case management software services, an excellent product, great customer service, and the security of their database software. AWARDS is an internet based system which users access with an assigned log-in and unique password. There is no data sharing in the CARES Regional HMIS, so each user has access only to the client data within the agency and program(s) needed to perform their duties. Security and privacy of all consumers in the HMIS is of paramount importance to CARES and participating agencies. Consistently evaluating and updating privacy and security precautions within the database itself and the policies and procedures surrounding its use ensures that all consumer data is protected.