Homeless Management Information System

What is HMIS?

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires its McKinney-Vento grantees to use a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS). HMIS is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data, and data on the provision of housing and services individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness.
HMIS enables HUD to collect national data on the extent and nature of homelessness over time. Specifically, HMIS can be used to produce an unduplicated count of homeless persons, understand patterns of service use, and measure the effectiveness of homeless programs.
Each Continuum of Care is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD's data collection, management, and reporting standards. The NYC Department of Social Services (DSS) contracts with Foothold Technologies to use AWARDS for HMIS.  Many providers in NYC use AWARDS while others prefer to contract with vendors that offer equivalent systems and upload their data on a monthly basis into AWARDS.

Who Should Participate?

The goal of the NYC CoC is to have 100% participation of all homeless service providers within NYC, regardless of funding stream. Currently, the NYC HMIS participants come from the following funding streams:

  • HUD: McKinney-Vento
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
    • Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    • Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) projects funded by the Administration for Children and Families' Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD):
    • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) projects
    • Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
    • Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) projects
    • Grant and Per Diem (GPD) projects
    • Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) projects
    • Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD) projects
    • HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) projects.

What Makes NYC's CoC HMIS Different?

The NYC CoC HMIS is unique in that it is a Data Warehouse. The NYC Department of Social Services (DSS), as the HMIS Lead Agency for the NYC CoC, contracts with Foothold Technology to host the NYC HMIS Data Warehouse.

All participating NYC HMIS projects are responsible for uploading into the NYC HMIS Data Warehouse monthly, between the 1st and 10th business day of the month. Providers upload to the NYC HMIS Data Warehouse in one of two ways:

  1. Those providers using AWARDS (Foothold Technology) as their agency's system can upload seamlessly by a one button upload via their AWARDS database
  2. Agencies that use other software (Non-AWARDS Users) upload via CSV files that must be formatted according to HUD's HMIS CSV format specifications. The HMIS CSV Format Specification document defines CSV files and fields required for data exchange of all data elements defined in the HMIS Data Dictionary v1.3 basic rules and assumptions for HMIS export and import processes, and general descriptions of terms intended to describe.

    For more information on HMIS CSV Format Specifications, view the full HMIS CSV Format Specifications (Version 6.12).

    For more information on HMIS, please visit HUD Exchange.