HMIS Data Standards







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Want a walk-through of the FY2020 HMIS Data Standards Changes in AWARDS?  Check out this FootholdConnect recording!  (46 min)

This portion of AWARDS Online Help is intended to guide you through functionality specific to the HMIS Data Standards using a variety of resources, along with frequently asked questions.  Click one of the following links to navigate directly to the corresponding section of Data Standards-related information, or scroll through the content below.

HMIS Data Standards Changes - FY2020 - A detailed list of all changes made to meet requirements for FY2020 Data Standards.

Useful Resources - A complete list of related resources, including links to webinars, training films, AWARDS documentation, and links to official HUD documents.

Frequently Asked Questions - Commonly asked questions about the Data Standards-related changes in AWARDS.

HMIS Data Standards Changes - FY2020

In order to meet requirements for FY2020 Data Standards, many AWARDS changes were deployed for HMIS projects as of Tuesday, October 1st.  Please review the full list of changes below.  

  TIP: For more information on the data standards we encourage you to read the HMIS Data Standards Manual.  We also recommend viewing the recording of our HMIS Data Standards Updates - FY2020 webinar (46 min), in which the AWARDS changes were demonstrated ahead of deployment.

Key Changes

For programs that upload to an HMIS:

  October uploads will be delayed until October 15th due to changes to the CSV standards. You will not be penalized for late uploads in the month of October.

  For programs that use the old Entitlement Filter to specify which clients need to be uploaded to the HMIS, it was previously mentioned those programs will need to be split into two programs. If you have a combined program that has not yet been split, please contact your Foothold Customer Success & Advocacy team representative before doing your next upload. The Entitlement Filter should no longer be used. The new HMIS Data Standards requires programs either be designated as 100% participating in HMIS, or 0% participating in HMIS. 

All Changes Implemented as of October 1st

Project Descriptor Data Elements

The following were made to "Project Descriptor Data Elements," which define how projects are set up:

  Victim Service Provider moved from the program level to the agency level - from "Agency Program Information" to "Continuum Provider Agency Information." Continuum Provider Agency Information is a feature under System Setup > Agency Program Information where information about your entire agency/division is stored.

Add/Edit Entire Program Feature

The following changes have been made to the Add/Edit Entire Program feature under System Setup > Agency Program Information:  

  In the "HMIS Project Type" list, Coordinated Assessment has been relabeled as Coordinated Entry

  Emergency Shelter Tracking Method is a new option used by Emergency Shelter programs to record information that was previously only stored behind the scenes. Options are "Entry/Exit Date" and "Night-by-Night." Night-by-Night shelters are those that require clients to leave every morning with no guarantee of a bed that night. 

  HMIS Participating Project is a new question and it needs to be set to "Yes" for any program that is uploading to the HMIS. This question, and the implications behind it, are why programs can no longer upload just part of a census to an HMIS database.  

  Federal Funding Source has been relabeled as Funding Source and some of the options have changed:

- ADDED:  HUD: CoC – Joint Component TH/RRH 
- ADDED:  VA: Grant Per Diem - Case Management/Housing Retention
- ADDED:  Local or other Funding Sources (with an "If other specify" text box)
- REMOVED:  VA:Compensated Work Therapy Transitional Residence

HMIS Bed Inventory Feature

The following changes have been made to the HMIS Bed Inventory feature located under System Setup > Agency Program Information:

  Information Date has been removed.

  The following options have replaced Chronically Homeless Bed InventoryVeteran Bed Inventory, and Youth Bed Inventory:  

Beds dedicated to chronically homeless veterans
Beds dedicated to youth-veterans
Beds dedicated to any other veteran
Beds dedicated to chronically homeless youth
Beds dedicated to any other youth
Beds dedicated to any other CH
Non-dedicated beds

  Bed Inventory has been relabeled Total Bed Inventory, and is the sum of those previous 7 options.

  This information should be updated at least annually, as it is needed for the Housing Inventory Chart (HIC) and Longitudinal Systems Analysis Report (LSA).

Data Elements

Even more changes have been made to the client-level data elements known as Universal Data Elements and Program Specific Data Elements:

  In the Special Needs section at Intake, Face Sheet, and Discharge, the follow-up questions for HIV/AIDS and Developmental Disability have been removed.  If a consumer has these special needs, then it is already known that it is of a long-term nature, and it counts as a Disabling Condition.

  The logic behind Disabling Condition is being changed to be in alignment with the changes made to Special Needs. In addition, if AWARDS auto-calculates that the client does have a Disabling Condition the user will no longer be able to overwrite "Yes" with "No;" however, if AWARDS does not determine that the client has a disabling condition the user will be able to overwrite the "No" with a "Yes." 

  Living Situation has been renamed Prior Living Situation and a few changes have been made to the list:  

- ADDED:  Host Home (non-crisis)
- ADDED:  Rental by client, with HCV voucher (tenant or project based)
- ADDED:  Rental by client in a public housing unit
- REMOVED:  Interim Housing

  TIP: For the removed "Interim Housing" option, please run the HMIS ReportBuilder and see if any clients had selected this option. If so please revisit the Intake form for those clients and change the answer to their actual residence prior to entry.

  A new section called Current Living Situation replaces the Contacts previously collected in Street Outreach, PATH projects, and Night-by-Night shelters. This section is also included for Coordinated Entry projects. It is collected for Heads of Households and Adults. It is collected at Intake/Admission, as well as every time you have an encounter with a client. The encounters are recorded on either the Outreach Encounter form (for Street Outreach projects), or on the Face Sheet (for all other types of projects).  Note that:

- The section starts with Currently Living Situation, with the same options as Previous Living Situation and "Other" and "Worker Unable to Determine"
- A Location Details field is also present.
- If the client is NOT currently homeless, a follow-up question is asked: Is client going to have to leave their current living situation within 14 days?
If "Yes" is answered for the follow-up question, additional follow-up questions are asked:

Has a subsequent residence been identified?
Does individual or family have resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing?
Has the client had a lease or ownership interest in a permanent housing unit in the last 60 days?
Has the client moved 2 or more times in the last 60 days?

  The Staying On The Streets/ES/SH option previously located on both the Outreach Encounter form and the Supportive Services Checklist in PATH projects has been removed.  It has been replaced with Current Living Situation.

  In PATH projects, one minor change has been made to the PATH Status option. Under "Reason not enrolled" (for clients not enrolled) a new "Unable to location client" option has been added.

  Sexual Orientation is now being asked in YHDP projects in addition to RHY projects.  A new "Other" selection has been added with a "Please Specify" text box.  

  Employment Status is now also required in VA: GPD – Low Demand and GPD – Case Management/Housing Retention (previously just RHY, VASH, and SSVF).

  VAMC Station Number is now also required in VA: GPD, VA: CRS Contract Residential Services, and VA: Community Contract Safe Haven Programs.

  At Discharge, the Destination list has been reordered with headers for Homeless Destinations, Temporary Destinations, Permanent Destinations, and Other. There are also three new options in the list: "Host Home (non-crisis)," "Rental by client, with HCV voucher (tenant or project based)," and "Rental by client in a public housing unit."

  For SSVF projects, the list of eligible services on the Supportive Services Checklist has been updated with three new service types and one new Financial Assistance service type:

SSVF Rapid Resolution
SSVF Extended Shallow Subsidy
SSVF Returning Home
SSVF Financial Assistance - Extended Shallow Subsidy – Rental Assistance

Coordinated Entry FormBuilder Forms

Two new Coordinated Entry data elements have been added as FormBuilder forms, located on the Services - Individual fly-out menu:

  Coordinated Entry Assessment - Will be completed each time you complete a crisis needs assessment or housing assessment

  Coordinated Entry Event - Will be completed each time a referral is made for a client. 

These forms and the related assessments will be included as part of HMIS exports and imports.

Communities have until April 2020 to implement them in preparation for the new CES APR coming out in the fall of 2020.  If you'd like to begin using these forms please reach out to your Foothold Senior Project Manager for help in customizing and turning on these data elements.

APR and CAPER Changes

Several changes are being made to the CoC APR and the ESG CAPER reports. An additional question about Income/Disabling Condition has also been added.  

CSV Version Update

Finally, the CSV version used to transmit data between system is changing from CSV version 6.12 to CSV FY2020 version 1.6. AWARDS will support exports in either version; however, the code values of some data elements such as Prior Living Situation have changed and the codes that are exported may be incorrect if you use the old format. 

  NOTE: The new version will be available starting on October 15th. No uploads or imports will be allowed between October 1st and October 14th. Communities will not be penalized for missing their October upload.

  Useful Resources

Enhancement Request Forms

HMIS - Coordinated Entry Assessments / Events - Enhancement Request Form

FootholdConnect Event Recordings

NEW! HMIS Data Standards Updates - FY2020 (46 min) - September 2019

  NOTE: Recordings marked with a red asterisk (*) were made prior to deployment of significant AWARDS enhancements and do not reflect those changes; however, the overall content is still relevant and useful.

HMIS Data Quality - Learn How to Be the Best In the Pack [An Expo 2017 Session] (1 hr 1 min) - October 2017
Worried your HMIS data is not accurate? Struggling with bad data quality reports from your CoC? Finding that your HMIS exports are full of errors that you don't know how to resolve? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this session is for you! HMIS data quality is so critical to your agency, allowing you to ensure you are providing appropriate and effective services to your participants, and helping you to remain competitive in the challenging world of obtaining and maintaining HMIS funding. Join us as we walk you through various data quality reports in AWARDS and teach you how to troubleshoot common CSV export errors!

Understanding the CoC APR (1hr 28min) - June 2017
Learn about the new CoC Annual Performance Report (APR) in AWARDS, including the brand new data quality questions and the Sage Export file.

Training Films

  NOTE: Films marked with a red asterisk (*) were made prior to deployment of significant AWARDS enhancements and do not reflect those changes; however, the overall content is still relevant and useful.

HMIS - CSV Part 1 - Export & Validation (40 min) * - For a PDF version of the Powerpoint slide show used in this training film, please click here.

HMIS - CSV Part 2 - Import & Upload (24 min) * - For a PDF version of the Powerpoint slide show used in this training film, please click here.

HMIS - Understanding Annual Updates (14 minutes) - May 2017 - Learn how annual updates are recorded for clients, and how those updates affect the CoC APR.

HMIS - Using AWARDS to Track Chronic Homelessness (17 min) - May 2017 - Learn how Chronic Homelessness is calculated in AWARDS.

HMIS - Using the CoC APR Sage Export File (6 min) - May 2017 - Learn how to use the new Sage Export Files for submitting your APR to HUD.

Useful Links to Official HUD Documents

HMIS Data Standards Data Dictionary

HMIS Data Standards Manual

HMIS Standard Reporting Terminology Glossary

Frequently Asked Questions

The following frequently asked questions provide details on the most commonly asked about pieces of the HMIS Data Standards functionality in AWARDS.  Click a question from the list here to navigate directly to the corresponding answer, or scroll through the full list of questions and answers below.

Can an HMIS client have overlapping admissions to two residential programs?

Where do I locate the Victim Service Provider option?

Why does AWARDS say "not an annual update" when I try to do an HMIS Info Update using the anniversary of the client's admission?

Why does the "Housing Move In Date" section display on the Intake/Admission form for some programs and not others?

Why doesn't a local CoC Admin see a client when running a report that involves a program the worker has access to?

Why don't I see a certain field?

Why is "Disabling Condition" not editable on the HMIS Intake/Admission form?

Why isn't AWARDS auto-calculating "chronically homeless?"

Can an HMIS client have overlapping admissions to two residential programs?

Yes, if one of the programs is a Permanent Housing program and the program is using the Housing Move In Date field(s).  The question, Has the Client Been Placed into Permanent Housing? must be set to "No" (on the admission form or in the HMIS Info Update portion of the client's face sheet), and the Housing Move In Date must be blank.  In residential projects where the Housing Move in Date field is present, clients will not be assigned to a bed/apartment until the leading question, Has the client been placed into Permanent Housing, is set to "Yes." Once a client has been assigned a residence unit then this section will become read only and corrections can only be made using Program History Corrections.  This allows Permanent Housing projects to admit clients as soon as they are accepted by a program, even if an apartment or unit is not yet available. "

Where do I locate the Victim Service Provider option?

The Victim Service Provider option can be found under System Setup > Agency Program Information > Continuum Provider Agency Information - or - Agency Information (depending on how your AWARDS database is configured).  A "Yes" or "No" selection should be made here for the entire agency.

Why does AWARDS say "not an annual update" when I try to do an HMIS Info Update using the anniversary of the client's admission?

AWARDS calculates household members' annual assessment dates based on the head of household's admission date rather than their own (if it was after the head of household's).

  TIP: To make it clear when a client's HMIS Annual Update is due, the anniversary of the Head of Household's admission is automatically populated to two locations:

  
Face sheet > HMIS Info section > Date of relevant anniversary field

  HMIS ReportBuilder > HMIS Info Updates section > Date of Relevant Anniversary (Update) data variable  

Why does the "Housing Move In Date" section display on the Intake/Admission form for some projects?

Housing Move in Date is a new section that is required for all Permanent Housing projects as of October 1st, 2017.  (Previously this section was known as Residential Move In Date, and was required only for Rapid Rehousing projects.)

When working with this portion of the Intake/Admission form, keep in mind the following:

  "Housing Move In Date" is separate from "Project Start Date."

- Project Start Date is the client's Admission Date and signifies that he/she is eligible for the program and has been approved for housing.
- Housing Move In Date is the date the client actually moves into his/her apartment/housing.

The Housing Move In Date and Project Start Date may be the same day; however, Housing Move In usually happens later.

  Housing Move In Date is turned on using Configure Data Elements.  It can be found both at Intake/Admission, and on the HMIS Info section of the Face Sheet when turned on. Users can fill in information in either location, but it is only saved once per enrollment; information entered in one location will override previously saved information.

  When Housing Move In Date is turned on in a Residential project, the bed/unit assignment will no longer take place at admission; instead, it will take place when a Housing Move In Date is entered. The list of available Residence Units during data entry is based on available units on the Housing Move In Date. Non-Residential projects (such as Uploading projects) will not see the Residence Unit assignment.

  Once a Housing Move In Date is entered this section becomes read-only, similar to how Admission Date becomes read-only after an admission is processed. If you want to make a correction to the Move In Date you will need to use the Program History Corrections tool.  Bed/Unit Swaps can still occur using the Housing Bed Swap feature; however, this feature is not used to change Move In Dates.

  Error checking will prevent Housing Move In Dates that are before the Project Start Date (Admission Date), or after the client's Project Exit Date (Discharge Date). A client cannot be dually enrolled in two residential programs in the same division while in Housing; however, a client can be dually enrolled if they do not yet have a Housing Move In Date.

  Reports that look at Housing History will pay attention to the Housing Move In Date to determine if the client was in housing.  Affected reports include:

- Housing Report
- Housing Utilization Report
- Point In Time Report (to be updated in January 2018)
- 2018 HMIS Grantee APR
- 2018 AHAR Report

  This data element was deployed on 10/1/2017.  The Housing Move In Date for existing clients at the time of deployment was pre-populated with the client's Admission Date.  With this change in place, Rapid Re-Housing Projects are encouraged to switch to being set up as residential projects. Contact the Help Desk to have a project converted to a residential project.

Why doesn't a local CoC Admin see a client when running a report that involves a program the worker has access to?

If a client doesn't have Client Location (Continuum of Care) information filled out, then he/she won't be included on reports run by the worker.

Why don't I see a certain field?

The fields and options that are displayed by default are based on the HMIS Project Type and Funding Source associated with each project (as set under System Setup > Agency Program Information > Add/Edit Entire Program).

Why is "Disabling Condition" not editable on the HMIS Intake/Admission form?

If the client has already had an HMIS Info Update or a Discharge completed, the update needs to be made on the most recent form where Disabling Condition is available.  If it has already been filled out more recently on a different form, the Intake/Admission form will let you know which form with an indicator in parentheses below the Disabling Condition field label.  For example:  "(Value saved on the latest collection stage:  HMIS Info Annual Update 11/02/2018)."  Additionally, during a new Intake/Admission, if any of the Special Needs questions that would result in a disabling condition are answered "yes," then Disabling Condition will auto calculate to "Yes" and be read-only.

Why isn't AWARDS auto-calculating "chronically homeless?"

The auto-calculation fields only work if you are using a browser supported by AWARDS.  (For more information on supported browsers, see our System Requirements.)  In addition, the client must be a member of a household in order for the auto-calculation to work properly.

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