What is a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)?

A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. Each Continuum of Care is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other planners and policymakers use aggregate HMIS data to better inform homeless policy and decision-making at the federal, state, and local levels.  HMIS enables HUD to collect national-level data on the extent and nature of homelessness over time. Specifically, an HMIS can be used to produce an unduplicated count of homeless persons, understand patterns of service use, and measure the effectiveness of homeless programs.  Data on homeless persons is collected and maintained at the local level. HMIS implementations can encompass geographic areas ranging from a single county to an entire state.

The HEARTH Act, enacted into law on May 20, 2009, requires that all communities have an HMIS with the capacity to collect unduplicated counts of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Through their HMIS, a community should be able to collect information from projects serving homeless families and individuals to use as part of their needs analyses and to establish funding priorities. The Act also codifies into law certain data collection requirements integral to HMIS. With the enactment of the HEARTH Act, HMIS participation became a statutory requirement for recipients and sub-recipients of the CoC Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), SSVF, PATH, RHYMIS, and other funds.

An HMIS can be used to:

  • Produce an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness for each CoC
  • Describe the extent and nature of homelessness locally, regionally, and nationally
  • Identify patterns of service use
  • Measure program effectiveness

If you are an agency interested in participating in the Monterey/San Benito HMIS program, click here

HMIS User Essentials