The new 2014 HMIS Data Manual that has come out has done a great job of clarifying some definitions and correcting some confusing terminology, though there are still some outstanding questions. In this tip, you will learn what some of those clarifications are and some of the terms and definitions that apply more to the Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care (BOSCOC), so that as we move forward in talking about the Data Standards, terminology will not be a hindrance to us. We recommend that users read the manual for more detailed information.
Data Standards: In 2004 and 2010, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released "HMIS Data Standards". The 2004 version was centered on security and privacy and also dictated what data elements would be collected. The 2010 version expounded on the 2004 version, changing data elements to include data collection requirements for the now-ended Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP) program. These versions were called the 2004 Data Standards or 2010 Data Standards. Some parts of the documents were technical in nature, applying to vendors who code the software to be in compliance, while other parts of these documents were more legal in nature, and were more useful to administrators looking to be in compliance with privacy and security regulations or understand how to collect the data. The 2014 Data Standards is broken into two documents: the Data Manual, and the Data Dictionary. So, saying "the 2014 Data Standards" would refer to the general changes HUD is implementing through the use of both documents.
Data Manual: The part of the 2014 Data Standards written with CoC and project administrators, HMIS leads and users, and the public in mind.
Data Dictionary: The part of the 2014 Data Standards written with the HMIS vendors in mind, which defines in detail exactly how data should be collected into HMIS and how it should be calculated in reporting.
Program Manuals: HUD publishes program manuals for each of its various programs (like SHP and ESG) for program administrators. The current program manuals are being rewritten and new ones are being published imminently.
Program vs Project: In past HUD documentation, the words "program" and "project" are used seemingly interchangeably. In the new Data Standards, Program is defined to mean the funding source (e.g., HUD CoC, HHS PATH, VA SSVF, ESG, HCRP, etc.) while Project is defined to mean a distinct unit of an organization that serves, regardless of funding. So a Community Action Agency that serves clients with SSVF assistance would be referred to as an SSVF "project" whereas referring to the SSVF regulations from the VA, you would say the SSVF "program"
Permanent Housing: Refers to Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid Rehousing, Housing with Services (no disability requirements), and Housing without Services (for example, SROs).
Universal Data Elements: Data elements that all projects participating in HMIS must collect, regardless of funding.
Program-Specific Data Elements: Data elements that only certain program types must collect.
Information Date: The date on which the data element was collected. For example if a client gains an income source during a program stay, the Information Date would be the date the case manager found out about the increase, and not (necessarily) the date the increase occurred for the client.
CoC: Continuum of Care. Although sometimes counties within the Balance of State of Ohio have called themselves a "CoC", when HUD refers to a CoC, they are referring to a very specific HUD-defined region. The Ohio Balance of State CoC (OH-507) includes 80 out of 88 counties in Ohio. HUD's CoC's in Ohio:
Recurrence: Refers to client returns to homelessness. The term "recidivism" is being phased out due to its definition which is a tendency to relapse into a mode of behavior. Homelessness is not a behavior, so using the term recurrence is more accurate.
While it is helpful to read the training materials we provide and any instructions you may receive from COHHIO, it is important to know where to find the source materials to fill in any gaps in understanding. It is everyone's responsibility to be familiar with the regulations relevant to your program. This page details the varied resources available to all HMIS participants.
Below is a list of common documents that are useful to review for planning or making changes to your project or understanding HMIS.
United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The Veteran's Administration (VA)
Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA)
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO)