Half of California’s Continuums of Care Changed Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Software Vendors Between 2016 and 2022

Continuums of Care and HMIS Software Vendors Need
to Keep Pace with Expanding HMIS Requirements
to Guide Data-Driven Statewide Policy Decisions

There was a significant shift in HMIS software vendors among California’s Continuums of Care (CoCs) during the six-year period of 2016 through 2022, as evident in the following chart.

*In 2016, Bowman Systems was acquired by Mediware Information Systems, and in 2018 Mediware Information Systems announced that it became WellSky. 

Note: Click on names of HMIS software vendors to visit their web sites: Bell Data Systems; Bitfous; Eccovia Solutions; Social Solutions; and WellSky.

Table 1 at the end of this report shows half or 22 of 44 California Continuums of Care (CoCs) changed HMIS software vendors during the six-year period of 2016 through 2022.

  • 10 of 23 Northern California CoCs;
  • 2 of 8 Central California CoCs, and
  • 10 of 13 Southern California CoCs changed HMIS software vendors.

Each CoC that changed HMIS software vendor is highlighted in blue text in Table 1.

Assembly Bill (AB) 977 Homeless Program Data Reporting: Homeless Management Information System

Assembly Bill (AB) 977 Homeless Program Data Reporting: Homeless Management Information System was approved by the Governor last year. The Bill requires significant changes in HMIS Program Data Reporting Requirements.

The Bill states that beginning on January 1, 2023, “a grantee or entity operating specified state homelessness programs” must enter Universal Data Elements and Common Data Elements, as defined by HUD Homeless Management Information System Data Standards. State homelessness programs include:

State-funded homelessness programs also include supportive housing, transitional housing, and affordable rental housing for veterans, pursuant to the Veterans Housing and Homeless Prevention Act of 2014 (VHHPA).

This year, SB 914 HELP Act was passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor last month and requires

cities, counties, and continuums of care receiving state funding to address homelessness, on or after January 1, 2024, to include families, people fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, and unaccompanied women within the vulnerable populations for whom specific system supports are developed to maintain homeless services and housing delivery. The bill would also impose other homelessness planning and data analysis requirements on these cities, counties, and continuums of care. 

This bill also requires the California Interagency Council on Homelessness

to set and measure progress toward goals to prevent and end homelessness among domestic violence survivors and their children and among unaccompanied women in California, as described. The bill would require initial goals to be established by January 1, 2025, and those goals to be evaluated at least every 2 years to determine whether updated goals are needed.

Homeless Data Information System

HMISs are crucial to the success of the State of California’s Homeless Data Information System (HDIS), which will allow the state to access more accurate and timely information about homelessness in California.

HDIS is a technology solution that was launched early last year and allows the state “to access and compile standardized homelessness data collected by individual Continuums of Care in order to make data-driven policy decisions aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in California.” An analysis of de-identified client data, allows for improved planning and resource allocation, enabling state and local stakeholders to more effectively address the needs of individuals and families that are at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness.


As State required changes in HMIS Program Data Reporting Requirements evolve, so must the capacity of HMIS software vendors and the backend functionality of their HMIS software.

Recent state legislation that focused on HDIS, including AB 977 and SB 914, emphasize

  • Understanding the occurrence and duration of homelessness across the state;
  • Identifying effective interventions and sharing promising practices across CoCs;
  • Providing information about how people move across CoCs to inform cross-jurisdictional approaches to addressing homelessness; and
  • Identifying patterns of service usage and looking for gaps in services, including investigating how people experiencing homelessness are connected to other state-funded services.

Next steps for HDIS include the establishment of a “systemwide performance measures that will help the state and local jurisdictions better assess their progress toward preventing, reducing and ending homelessness in California.” Once finalized, the HDIS website will “focus more on the outcomes of people accessing services through the California homelessness response system.”

Future legislation will likely emphasize the need for further integration of local, state, and federal partnership data in order to determine how people are experiencing homelessness across the state. Future legislation will likely stress statewide service systems integration to ensure that local, state, and federal alignment and coordination of resources are informed by integrated partnership data.

Thus, CoC and HMIS software vendor capacity building should continue to be a mutual undertaking to help CoCs respond to more challenging changes in HMIS Program Data Reporting Requirements that will likely be required in future state legislation.

Challenging changes to HMIS Program Data Reporting Requirements included in future state legislation will likely stem from more data-driven policy decisions to further develop and implement a statewide strategic plan with measurable goals, objectives, and outcomes. Data-driven policy decisions will also guide future funding fueled by new legislation encouraging innovative solutions to prevent and end statewide homelessness.


Click here to see a map of California’s 44 CoCs


  1. Kayshla Maria Lopez on October 11, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    At the ground level, providers question why HMIS is necessary. HMIS gathers the necessary data elements, but it is not used as a case management software like our counterparts in the medical field such as other data software’s like EPIC or Avatar where the providers can follow client history. HMIS policies do not require homeless service providers to document notes or referrals provided which continues to provide miscommunication as a system and lack of systemic collaboration between providers. HMIS is not being utilized to serve the clients, but to provide data for policy makers. The data is incomplete without gathering the successes and failures during service delivery.

  2. Clarence R. Pulliam on October 12, 2022 at 3:57 am

    I really think we need to hold an online focus group to share yours, mine and others solutions so we may implement changes as we know doing the same thing really is only putting a bandage on the problem.

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