HMIS Newsletter

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Dec. 18, 2019

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New data quality dashboard

HMIS dashboard

The Washington State Department of Commerce Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) team has some big news to share with all of you: We have a new data quality dashboard!

The HMIS team has been working hard to provide communities tools to better understand the services they are delivering. The latest of those tools is the Data Quality Dashboard found here on Commerce’s Tableau public page.

We will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020 at 2 p.m. to discuss the new dashboard and answer any questions you may have about its use. Click here to register for the webinar.

Data quality affects all of our work. Good quality data means better decision making at all levels. Alongside the dashboard, we are working on building a Data Quality Management Plan to help everyone improve data collection efforts. This will involve input from stakeholders across the state, so stay tuned as we begin this process.

We want your feedback on data engagement

Love Your Data

We want to improve our offerings to the hard working people of the services community and the first step is hearing your feedback. As part of our goal of providing quality services data we want to know how we can help all of you better work with data.  Please click here to take the HMIS Data Engagement Survey and let us know your thoughts. The survey is only 10 questions long and shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes of your time. It will be open until Jan 15, 2020. Your timely and thoughtful responses to this are especially important because…

We are Launching a Quarterly Newsletter!

The HMIS team is starting a quarterly newsletter beginning in February. The content in these newsletters will be directly driven by the responses provided in the Data Engagement Survey. We will include information such as: dashboard updates, how-to guides on HMIS reporting, real-life use cases for data in social services, Excel tutorials and anything else data related that the community needs from us.

Our aim is to improve engagement in HMIS and make data collection feel less like a burden and more like a tool for service delivery. We love our data and are excited to give all of you reasons to love yours.

Performance Team starting regular office hours

Office Hours

Welcome to Office Hours! On the third Thursday every month we (Performance Manager Emily Burgess and you) will discuss any and all things related to homeless system performance. 

We can dig in to the system performance measures, review reports and dashboards, talk about how things are calculated, brainstorm strategies for improvement and tackle any questions or concerns you have.

Click here to register.

Limited HMIS trainings – plan ahead for new staff

Please plan well in advance for your new staff’s training needs. We will have only one Olympia HMIS New User training and one HMIS New User webinar per month between now and mid-2020. New staff must complete the HMIS New User in-person training BEFORE they can take any additional HMIS training or use HMIS.

Visit the HMIS Training Calendar and register new staff early. Ensure your staff receive their required training in time for the work they need to do.

Remember: The Point-in-Time Count is on Jan. 23 – new staff need to be trained before then.

U.S. HUD System Performance Report is closing in

Please be sure to check your data quality in preparation for the upcoming U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) System Performance Report. The report is due to HUD by Feb. 28, 2020. You can run reports and make corrections to your data anytime between now and the end of February.

Focus on housing projects first (Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, PH – Rapid Re-Housing, PH – Permanent Supportive Housing, PH – Housing with Services and PH – Housing Only) and other project types afterward.

  • Let your local Consolidated Homeless Grant (CHG) lead know if any updates need to be made to your agency's projects or if you need any projects added. You can also contact Commerce for corrections or additions.
  • Run the [GNRL-106] Program Roster report in HMIS under Program-Based Reports. Enter anyone who is currently being served in your project, but is not in HMIS yet. Exit anyone who is no longer being served by your project. Make sure the entry and exit dates are correct!
  • Run the [HUDX-225] HMIS Data Quality Report in HMIS under HUD Reports. Update records with errors, paying special attention to any element that shows over a 5% error rate (ignore PII errors for consent refused/anonymous records).
  • Run the [GNRL-220] Program Details Report under Program-Based Reports in HMIS. Keep these fields in mind:
    • Housing move-in date (element 3.20) for Rapid Re-housing and other Permanent Housing projects. If this is blank, it looks like the participant was never housed by your project.
    • Update income and non-cash benefits before exiting (where required) – this is especially important for Continuum of Care-funded projects.
    • Enter a real exit destination whenever possible.
    • Living Situation (element 3.917) for all projects – avoid choosing "don’t know", "refused" or "data not collected" whenever possible.
    • Household “groups” – is everyone enrolled in the project in the same group?  This helps determine household type: it’s important to make sure it’s right.
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