State of California Should Augment HUD’s $10 Million a Year to California’s CoCs to Operate Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) throughout entire state

Local Homeless Management Information Systems are crucial to
the success of State of California’s Soon to Be Implemented
Homeless Data Information System (HDIS) 

Annual state funding should augment HUD’s annual funds
since state funding awards concerning homelessness
require funded projects to participate in a local HMIS

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awards California’s Continuums of Care (CoCs) approximately $10 million a year for Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) as noted in HUD’s Grant Inventory Worksheets. They are “used annually to record all grants with a CoC’s geographic area that are eligible for renewal funding for an upcoming CoC Program (annual) grant competition.”

As noted by HUD,

“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 (CoC) is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards.”

HUD also notes,

“To end homelessness, communities must be able to analyze data at both the system and project levels and to evaluate their efforts by subpopulation, across project types, and in other ways.”

HUD has also established “three overarching goals” for itself and communities:

  1. Communities use their data to optimize systems of care through making ongoing system performance improvements and determining optimal resource allocation;
  2. Communities operate data systems that allow for accurate, comprehensive, and timely data collection, usage and reporting; and
  3. Federal government coordinates to receive and use data to make informed decisions in coordination with other data sets, across and within agencies.”

Each year during the CoC Program grant competition, CoCs are eligible to renew their HMIS award from HUD. Currently, California’s CoCs receive approximately $10 million in renewal funding for their HMIS.

Table 1. HUD HMIS Continuum of Care Awards

  Continuum of Care Award
CA-500 San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC $913,946
CA-501 San Francisco CoC $687,585
CA-502 Oakland, Berkeley/Alameda County CoC $423,856
CA-503 Sacramento City & County CoC $270,704
CA-504 Santa Rosa, Petaluma/Sonoma County CoC $305,767
CA-505 Richmond/Contra Costa County CoC $216,166
CA-506 Salinas/Monterey, San Benito Counties CoC $0
CA-507 Marin County CoC $7,520
CA-508 Watsonville/Santa Cruz City & County CoC $149,142
CA-509 Mendocino County CoC $1,171
CA-510 Turlock, Modesto/Stanislaus County CoC $162,181
CA-510 Stockton/San Joaquin County CoC $92,094
CA-512 Daly City/San Mateo County CoC $80,110
CA-513 Visalia/Kings, Tulare Counties CoC $189,073
CA-514 Fresno City & County/Madera County CoC $312,000
CA-515 Roseville, Rocklin/Placer County CoC $49,859
CA-516 Redding/Shasta County CoC $30,000
CA-517 Napa City & County CoC $34,418
CA-518 Vallejo/Solano County CoC $21,894
CA-519 Chico, Paradise/Butte County CoC $97,273
CA-520 Merced City & County CoC $84,879
CA-521 Davis, Woodland/Yolo County CoC $1,725
CA-522 Humboldt County CoC $73,853
CA-523 Colusa, Glen, Trinity Counties CoC $0
CA-524 Yuba City/Sutter County CoC $0
CA-525 El Dorado County CoC $9,817
CA-526 Tuolumne, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa Counties CoC $48,057
CA-527 Tehama County CoC $5,000
CA-529 Lake County CoC $0
CA-530 Alpine, Inyo, Mono Counties CoC $0
CA-531 Nevada County CoC $0
CA-600 Los Angeles City & County CoC $1,447,955
CA-601 San Diego City and County CoC $899,025
CA-602 Santa Ana, Anaheim/Orange County CoC $703,685
CA-603 Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County CoC $157,995
CA-604 Bakersfield/Kern County CoC $161,795
CA-606 Long Beach CoC $365,842
CA-607 Pasadena CoC $228,147
CA-608 Riverside City & County CoC $442,073
CA-609 San Bernardino City & County CoC $308,244
CA-611 Oxnard, San Buenaventura/Ventura County CoC $403,221
CA-612 Glendale CoC $113,666
CA-613 Imperial County CoC $5,069
CA-614 San Luis Obispo County $58,000



A Problem and A Solution

Problem: One-time State funding for HMIS as opposed to on-going funding 

The State of California has provided unprecedented funding to help prevent and end homelessness during the past few years. However, the various funding streams have provided localities with only a one-time flexible block grant fund to address their immediate homelessness challenges, including system support for greater demand concerning record keeping and data management.

One-time funding streams

One-time funding streams from the State include the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program (CESH), and Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention Program (HHAP).

Each of these one-time funding streams provided “Systems support for activities necessary to maintain a comprehensive homeless services and housing delivery system, including CES, data, and HMIS reporting, and homelessness planning activities” as stated in section 50490.4 in SB 850 Housing, which is the bill that created HEAP and CESH.

AB 101 Housing development and financing authorized HHAP round 1, which allowed funding to be “expended on a strategic homelessness plan and/or infrastructure development to support Coordinated Entry Systems (CES) and Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)” and AB 83 Housing that provided for a 2nd round of funding under HHAP round 2.

The implementation of the one-time funding sources has increased the number of projects participating in local HMIS throughout the state. A condition of funding for funded projects is participation in a local HMIS, which is why on-going State funding is crucial for augmenting HUD’s annual funding for local HMIS. 

            State’s future Homeless Data Integration System 

The Homeless Data Integration System (HDIS) is a technology solution that will allow the State of California

“to access and compile standardized homelessness data collected by individual Continuums of Care (CoCs) in order to make data-driven policy decisions aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in California.”

The statewide Homeless Management Information Systems managed by California’s CoCs are core for the success of State of California’s HDIS, which is why on-going State funding is critical for augmenting HUD’s annual funding for local HMIS.

The State of California notes that HDIS will also

“pull the client data required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from each CoCs Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) into a de-identified database of homeless client service activity. It is envisioned that HDIS will also pull client data from state systems to provide a more holistic picture of state and locally provided services.”

The State of California also notes that once implemented

HDIS will be a rich repository of data that can be used to give policy makers, service providers, and funders a better understanding of homelessness in California. Analysis of statewide data will allow for improved planning and resource allocation, enabling state and local providers to more effectively address the needs of individuals and families that are at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness.

HDIS “will allow the State to access more accurate and timely information about homelessness in California, including:

  • Obtaining more accurate counts of the number of people experiencing homelessness who have accessed services.
  • 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.
  • Identifying patterns of service usage and looking for gaps in services, including investigating how people experiencing homelessness are connected to other state-funded services.”

Solution: On-going State funding for HMIS as opposed to one-time funding

On-going funding for a local HMIS is necessary for CoCs to adequately fulfill all of the state HMIS requirements in addition to HUD’s requirements.

It should be noted that AB 3300 Homelessness: California Access to Housing and Services Act was introduced earlier this year but was not signed into law. The bill would have created an on-going annual funding stream to help prevent and end homelessness and included HMIS among systems improvements as an eligible activity for funding.

Another legislative bill to prevent and end statewide homelessness needs to be introduced to include on-going funding for local CoC HMIS improvements. Such funding would augment HUD’s current funding for local CoC HMIS. Funding from HUD for CoCs to implement a local HMIS for HUD-funded projects has been challenging enough. The increase in projects participating in local CoC HMIS, because of state funding requiring funded projects to participate in a local HMIS, adds to the challenge of operating a local robust HMIS. This challenge should be met with robust funding from the State to ensure that CoCs maintain a comprehensive HMIS that will, in turn, ensure the success of the State’s HDIS.

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