September 1, 2016


Slides from the meeting can be found here:


Please use this link to download slide deck if desired.

Note: for a detailed description of all Data Standards updates (including updates for SSVF, PATH, and RHY funded programs), an overview of changes is here

Attendees: Elisha Heruty (HomeFirst), Camille Mariategue (HomeFirst), Juliana Juarez (Abode Services), Vincent Nguyen (HVEHF), Grace Davis (West Valley Community Services), Mohua Chatterjee (LifeMoves), Kim Nguyen (Bill Wilson Center), Norma Aguilar (Momentum for Mental Health), Shelly Barbieri (Office of Supportive Housing), Trang Van (The Health Trust), Jan Stokley (Housing Choices), Aiko Yep (PATH), Yadira Cruz (PATH), Mark Fries (Community Solutions), Gerald Witters (SUTS UTP), William Arevalo (Family Supportive Housing), Shannon Robinson (Downtown Streets Team), Consuelo Collard (Catholic Charities), Lorna Lindo (VHHP), Laurie Mello (VHHP), Erin Stanton (Office of Supportive Housing), Hilary Barroga (Office of Supportive Housing), Jason Satterfield (Bitfocus), Jenn Ong (Bitfocus)

  • CoC/Coordinated Entry Updates
      1. HUD CoC NOFA: The CoC is preparing to submit the 2016 NOFA to HUD. As a CoC we will submit our community application for Santa Clara County and 40 project applications this year. The deadline to submit to HUD is 9/14.
      1. CoC Membership Meeting: The semiannual membership meeting will be next Friday 9/8 at 1pm at the Charcot Training Center. Please join us!
      1. Coordinated Assessment: Please join us at the next Work Group meeting on Thursday 9/8 at 1pm at The Health Trust. We will share community input gathered this summer regarding planning for coordinated assessment for emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
    1. Upcoming CCP Training: There will be a CCP Orientation and Training on September 27-30. It will include intensive, hands on, one-on-one training on the CCP workflow in HMIS for the CCP. It will also include data clean-up. HMIS Admins are welcome to attend the data portion of the orientation.
  • UPLIFT Updates

UPLIFT is starting its third quarter in Clarity in mid-September. If any of your users need a refresher on how to request UPLIFT passes check out the UPLIFT page on the HMIS website ( There are videos, PDF versions of the forms, and Q&A.

If you don’t know what your allocation is you can email UPLIFT at and ask. Every agency is limited to their allocation for the first month of the quarter. At the end of the first month we pool remaining passes and give them out first come, first served.

  • New HUD Data Standards take effect 10/1/16

HMIS data standards are HUD’s documentation of the information we are required to collect in HMIS. The data standards cover all of the required questions we ask people and what the drop-down options for answers should be. The data standards are important because they are used as a basis for reporting both on a program level (e.g. APR) and a community level (e.g. System Performance Measures). HUD makes updates to the data standards every few years. The 2016 changes will take effect on October 1st.

Between now and October 1st you may see some minor changes to some questions in Clarity – these will not affect your ability to enter data using existing intake forms. It will only be minor changes in wording of questions or answers. On October 1st, you will see the bulk of the changes required by HUD. This may include new required questions. The changes will be implemented going forward. You are not required to go back and re-do data entry for clients entered prior to October 1st. Depending on how HUD requires reports to be completed it may be helpful to go back and supplement prior data entry to ensure complete and accurate reports.

What is Changing?

      • Gender: “Other” will be replaced with “Doesn’t identify as male, female or transgender.”
      • Disabling Condition: This will now be required for everyone (previously required for adults).
      • Health Insurance: There will be two new categories: “Indian Health Services” and “Other.”
    • Living Situation: The workflow for “Residence Prior to Entry” and “Time on the Streets, Emergency Shelter, or Safe Haven”: is changing. The changes are meant to help capture Chronic Homeless status. The workflow will be different depending on the type of program you are enrolling someone into:
      • If enrolling the client in Emergency Shelter, Street Outreach, or Safe Haven programs: “Residence Prior to Program Entry” will be renamed “Type of Residence.” The questions will remain the same as the current questions.
  • If enrolling the client in other programs (TH, RRH, HP, Service Only): There is a more complex workflow and additional questions will be asked based on the response to Type of Residence:
      • If the Type of Residence is: 1) Homeless Situation, 2) Institutional Situation AND Length of Stay is < 90 days AND the night before was on the streets, in emergency shelter or safe haven, or 3) TH/PH situation AND length of stay < 7 days AND Night before was on streets, ES, or SH, then HMIS will ask questions regarding the length of time homeless. If the client does not fit any of the three situations, they will not be asked the length of time homeless questions.

In addition, there are some program specific changes. If you have programs that are funded by SSVF, PATH, or RHY please note that there are some changes, including new fields. Bitfocus will include the details of these changes when the minutes are posted.

There is a change to the residential move-in date to the data standards for Rapid Rehousing programs. Bitfocus is determining whether it will change the workflow or whether it can be adjusted through reporting. Bitfocus will provide follow-up information if the workflow changes.

Update 9/9: no workflow changes will be necessary for residential move-in date.

  • HUD System Performance Measures Report Review

The HUD System Performance Measures for 10/1/14-9/30/15 were submitted to HUD. Thank you to everyone for working hard on data cleanup. The results of the report looked significantly better after all of the data cleanup efforts. In the future our results will be compared to prior years to look for improvement.

Measure 1 – Length of Time Homeless: Currently this measure reports on time spent in emergency shelter, safe haven, and transitional housing programs. Next year we will also start to report on the total length of time that people report spending homeless. The average length of time homeless for the 2014-15 report year was 44 days in emergency shelter and safe haven and 145 days in shelter, safe haven, and transitional housing. The median was 15 days and 48 days, respectively.

Measure 2 – Returns to Homelessness: This measure looks at what happens to people exiting to permanent housing from various program types and assesses how many people return to homelessness within two years. The results vary by program type. People who exited from street outreach to permanent housing had a 23% recidivism rate within two years. In contrast, people exiting to permanent housing from a permanent housing program had a 1% recidivism rate. Across all program types, our recidivism rate was 14%.

Measure 3 – Point in Time Count: We saw a big decrease in the last unsheltered count in 2015 compared to the prior unsheltered count in 2013. The next count will be in January 2017.

Measure 4 – Income: This measure looks at a narrow target population that only includes participants in HUD CoC funded programs and only includes those participants who stayed for 12 months. We saw relatively small increases in income. Income is one of the areas we most need to focus on improving data quality.

Measure 5 – First Time Homelessness: This is a measure of people who appeared for the first time in HMIS (note: the report only looks back two years). In 2014-15 it was over 4,000 people.

Measure 7 – Successful Housing Placement: In 2014-15, 6% of exits from street outreach were to successful destinations (temporary and permanent) and 24% exited from emergency shelter, safe haven, transitional housing, and rapid rehousing to permanent housing destinations. 94% of people in permanent housing programs retained permanent housing or exited to another permanent housing destination.

  • Continuous Data Quality Improvement Process

Data quality is a term that refers to the reliability and validity of client-level data in HMIS. It is measured by the extent to which data in the system reflects actual information in the real world. Data quality is important to ensure we can communicate about the successes of our programs and our entire continuum of care. High quality data is also important for real-time use in coordinated assessment, both to make appropriate matches to services and to help programs find people who have been referred to them.

A continuous data quality improvement process facilitates the ability of the CoC to achieve statistically valid and reliable data. It sets expectations for both the community and the end users to capture reliable and valid data on persons accessing your agency’s programs and services. Assessing data quality includes both whether or not all of the required questions are completed and whether or not the information that is entered is accurate. Continuous data quality improvement will be a partnership between Bitfocus and each HMIS partner agency. If you have feedback or concerns about this plan please contact Bitfocus.

Bitfocus Roles and Responsibilities:

    • Provide end user trainings and workflow documents.
    • Work with agency management to identify at least one agency employee as an HMIS agency administrator.
    • Produce data quality reports and information on how to correct any identified data quality issues. All agency admins should already be receiving monthly data quality reports around the 15th of the month.
    • Provide technical assistance to agencies requesting assistance in identifying what steps need to be taken in order to correct data quality issues.
  • Provide other services as contracted with a CoC and/or agency.

HMIS Partner Agency Roles and Responsibilities:

    • Agencies will take primary responsibility for entering, verifying, and correcting data entry in a timely manner.
    • Agency staff will measure completeness by running APRs and other reports, then distribute those reports to staff tasked with improving data completeness.
  • It is the responsibility of Agency management to ensure staff tasked with correcting data quality issues do so in a timely manner.

Data Quality Standards:

There are three general types of programs, each with a set of required data elements. All required elements, regardless of program type, should have 0% null values (no missing data). This is only a problem for historical migrated data. Clarity does not allow null values for required data elements. Don’t Know and Refused rates vary by program type.

  • Timeline: Data quality reports should be run at least once per month throughout the year (these are the reports that Bitfocus sends out, thus the agency responsibility is to review the report). In the week prior to submitting a report (e.g., AHAR), data quality reports may need to be run on a daily basis.
  • Data Completeness: No null (missing) data for required data elements. Don’t Know or Refused responses should not exceed the allowed percentages:
      • TH, PSH, & RRH Programs: 0% null values and 5% Don’t Know or Refused (data not collected or client not refused). Exceptions: Don’t Know or Refused rates may be higher for social security number and race.
    • Outreach and Emergency Shelter: 0% null values and 5% Don’t Know or Refused for all values except for exit destination. 30% Don’t Know or Refused for Exit Destination. Exceptions: Don’t Know or Refused rates may be higher for social security number and race.

Steps to Minimize Data Quality Issues:

    • Enter client data as soon as possible. Recommended time frames:
        • Transitional Housing and Permanent Housing Programs: enter all program entry/exit data within three work days.
        • Emergency Shelter and Non-HUD: enter check in/check out within one work day.
      • Outreach: Create client profile, if necessary, within three work days. Record outreach services within one work day.
    • Whenever possible, consider entering data during client visits so that clients may help identify potential inaccuracies.
  • Review data quality using APRs at least once a month. Correct all null values as soon as possible.

When to Correct Data Quality Issues:

At a minimum you should begin correcting data quality issues at least two months before a report is submitted to the agency requesting the report. In general, you should evaluate and correct data quality quarterly using the following schedule:

  • First month of quarter: begin data quality review, focused on ensuring the correct number of clients are enrolled and there are no null values. Make corrections as needed. (Focus on data completeness).
    • Second month of quarter: review data with relevant program managers and/or staff to verify accuracy of data compared to other records. (Focus on data accuracy).
  • Third month of quarter: assess agency workflow to identify process improvements that may help ensure high quality data is consistently entered into the system.

The following reports in HMIS can help identify the majority of data quality issues:

    • HUDX-120: Annual Performance Report (OCT2014) – Question 7
    • DQXX-110: Duplicate Clients
    • DQXX-103: Monthly Staff Report
    • DQXX-102: Program Data Review
  • DQXX-105: Monthly Agency Utilization Report