HUD TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE
The Partnership Center provides a wide range of technical assistance (TA) services focused on national HMIS issues through our Cooperative Agreement with HUD. Below is a description of some key aspects of our work:
HMIS National Data Lab:
- In its role as the National Data Lab, VESTA serves as the “test environment” for potential new features that HUD and its Federal Partners (Depts. of Health and Human Services, Education, and Veteran’s Administration) are interested in adding to HMIS requirements. Using VESTA as the Data Lab provides an opportunity to see the effects of proposed changes on data, in a real-world environment.
- The Data Lab is also used to generate ad-hoc reports on select data for HUD policy makers.
- In its role as the National Data Lab, PCL participates in numerous HUD TA provider workgroups, including the Annual Progress Report, HMIS and Data, and HARTT workgroups.
HMIS Data Standards and Notices:
- PCL was one of the primary authors of the 2014 and 2017 HMIS Data Dictionary and Data Manual that detail what data elements must be collected in an HMIS system, as well as when and how this data must be entered.
- PCL has also be instrumental in the drafting of the forthcoming HMIS Software Standards Notice, HMIS Privacy & Security Standards Notice, and HMIS Governance Standards Notice, which define policies, procedures, and functionality that must exist in all HMIS implementations.
Federal Partner Agencies -Depts. of Health and Human Services, Education, and Veteran’s Administration
- Effective with the publication of the 2014 Data Standards, homeless projects funded by Federal Partner agencies–specifically, Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY), Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH), and various VA Homeless Assistance programs—are now required to collect data in their local HMIS. However, VESTA has been collecting data for these programs locally for over a decade. As such, PCL has been on the forefront of providing technical and policy guidance to the Federal Partners on how to successfully integrate these programs into an HMIS.
- PCL staff meets regularly with national-level policy stakeholders at HUD and the Federal Partner agencies to facilitate HMIS integration and to ensure ongoing coordination among the agencies on broader policy issues around HMIS.
- PCL is also a frequent contributor of responses on HUD’s “Ask A Question” online forum, which allows providers, administrators, and vendors to receive timely answers to detailed questions on a variety of topics including: CoC administration, Consolidated Plan development/reporting, e-snaps reporting, ESG administration/reporting and other HMIS issues.
HMIS Software Vendors Support
- PCL hosts and facilitates a monthly conference call for all HMIS Vendors to encourage understanding of new and forthcoming HMIS requirements and foster discussion amongst vendors on common areas of interest.
- PCL manages the HMIS Vendor HUB, an online repository of key information to assist vendors in ensuring their HMIS implementations are in line with the most current rules and guidance from HUD and the Federal Partners.
- PCL routinely develops “dummy data” sets and results for HMIS vendors to use in testing to determine if their software is correctly generating HMIS required reports.
Report and Tool development for HUD:
- PCL is the primary author of the new System Performance Measures programming specifications, which are used by HMIS vendors to program the first efforts to use HMIS data to analyze performance on a CoC-wide basis.
- PCL is also a key partner in developing the HEARTH Annual Progress Report (APR), as well as the revised Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER), which will be collected at the project level and compiled into a single national repository for the first time.