To understand why the Bed and Unit Utilization Report is important, it is important to know about the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR, aka the LSA), which is a report that HUD submits to Congress every year. All data that we upload to the AHAR comes from your HMIS data. HUD expects the data to fall within boundaries they consider reasonable. Any data that does not fit within their specifications causes an error and requires either a change to the data or an explanation. An area that typically causes great difficulties is HUD's expectation of Bed Utilization rates fall between 65% and 105%. Your Bed Utilization Rate gives an idea of how full your program is on a given night.
Generally speaking, Bed Utilization is a measure of how many clients are being served as compared to the total number of beds reported on the Housing Inventory Chart (HIC).
If the Bed Utilization percentage is too high, either the number of beds
reported on the HIC is low or you are perhaps not exiting your
households from HMIS in a timely way or you are serving larger families
than was anticipated.
If the Bed Utilization percentage is too low, your project either served fewer households than was anticipated, not all your households got entered into HMIS, or the number of beds reported on the HIC is too high. If you are unsure of which is the case, please contact the HMIS Department at COHHIO for help.
To check your data for accuracy, you should log into R minor elevated. (See below for how that works.)
Unit Utilization is the average number of households who were served in your project, divided by the number of units reported on the HIC. In this calculation, a household can be a single individual or multiple family members and to get your total Unit Count, we add together the number of units reported for your family beds and the number of beds reported for your individual beds.
Unit Utilization is not currently used in any HUD reporting or in any CoC-level scoring or monitoring. This could change, however.
How it's all calculated:
Instead of measuring utilization only on the last Wednesday of each month, we are now counting bed nights* and dividing total bed nights served by total possible bed nights* served.
* A bed night is a single night in a bed.
Example A: Client A enters a shelter on May 1 and exits on May 5. They spent four nights in the shelter, so that was 4 bed nights from that client alone in the month of May for that shelter.
Example B: PSH Project A served 10 people every single night in the month of June. Each client was served 30 bed nights during that month, and since there were 10 clients, that PSH project served a total of 300 bed nights for the month of June.
* Total possible bed nights is calculated based on how many beds or units a project has x how many days are in the given month.
Example C: PSH Project B has 5 beds. That project's total possible bed nights for the month of April (which has 30 days in it) is 30 x 5, which is 150.
Example D: Using what we know from Example B of PSH Project A's total
bed nights for the month of June, let's calculate what their bed
utilization was for that month. They have 11 beds and June has 30 days
so since 11 x 30 = 330 possible bed nights. Their bed utilization is bed
nights (300) divided by possible bed nights (330), which is: 91%!
Please refer to the Bed Utilization guidance here for instructions on how to run and interpret the report.