Upcoming HMIS Changes
Lots of changes are coming to HMIS. The first changes shown below will be happening in the next couple of weeks. It is essentially just a makeover of HMIS, and no underlying functionality has changed. All features will be located in the same places and will operate exactly as you currently experience HMIS. You can see a preview of the new layout below. In the following weeks this new layout will be deployed to our training site first and then to our live HMIS site. You will also be notified once the update has been made to our training site. Additional information related to data standard changes and how this information will be collected/recorded is also included after the layout changes. Data Standard changes do not go into effect until 10/1/2023, and no data collection should change before that time.
New HMIS Interface
In addition to the new layout, there will be a new address used to access HMIS in the near future. This will change from sp5.servicept.com/sc211 to a new address. When this happens the existing address will automatically forward you to the new website for a period of time. When this happens we will notify everyone to update any bookmarks you may have for HMIS, along with instructions on how to do so.
DATA STANDARD CHANGES
On 10/1/2023 the FY 2024 Data Standards will go into effect. There are a lot of changes and you can see them all here: FY2024 HMIS Data Standards Manual (hudexchange.info) There is a revision history at the beginning of the manual, which provides a summary of all changes, but the key changes can be found below. SSVF and RHY also have additional changes not outlined below. If you receive these funding sources, please be sure to review the RHY and SSVF specific changes outlined in the 2024 Data Standards Manual linked above. These do not go into effect until 10/1/2023, and no data collection should change before then. Existing client information will be mapped over automatically in HMIS.
Federal Funding Sources for SSVF and RHY also have additional changes for specific questions. If you receive this funding, please review the Data Standards Manual change revisions along with your program-specific manuals for FY2024, which can be found on the HUD Exchange.
3.04 Race and Ethnicity
• Combine Race and Ethnicity into single data element. (Eliminates separate Ethnicity option)
• Add response option for “Middle Eastern or North African” and modified “Hispanic/Latina/e/o” response option.
• Added text box to provide additional detail.
This essentially means that the existing Primary Race, Secondary Race, and Ethnicity options will be combined into 1 multi-select box similar to the current Gender data field. Clients may identify multiple races and all identified races/ethnicity should be selected. To select multiple options use your CTRL button (or Command on Mac) and click each chosen response.
• Change Female to “Woman (Girl if child)”
• Change Male to “Man (Boy if child)”
• Change “Gender other than…” to “Non-Binary”
• Add “Culturally Specific Identity (e.g., Two-Spirit)
• Add “Different Identity” and text box to add detail
New Race and Ethnicity Data Collection Instructions:
Record the self-identified race(s) and ethnicity, if applicable, of each client served. Help the client select as many race and/or ethnicity options that they identify with.
When enrolling a client who already has a record in the HMIS, verify that race and ethnicity information is complete and accurately reflects how the client identifies, and correct if it does not.
HMIS users and data entry staff should apply a Client-Centered Approach to Recognizing Race and Ethnicity Identities in Data Collection Staff observations should never be used to collect information on race and ethnicity. While interactions between intake staff and individuals seeking services can be brief, there is an important opportunity to meet each person on a human level and with a person-centered approach. Traumatic events including but not limited to experience with law enforcement, mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and sex work may influence clients’ comfort in answering questions. Stigmas surrounding the criminalization of homelessness, behavioral health concerns, drug use, and cultural sensitivity (i.e., cultural norms of withholding information due to shame and stigma) may also impact a client’s willingness to provide demographic information.
Provide all options to every client. Even if staff believes they can guess a client’s race and/or ethnicity, every client must be asked for their self-reported information. It is important to ask about all household members’ race and ethnicity because it is impossible to tell just based on a person’s appearance or name. Furthermore, HMIS may not provide a default answer. No documentation is required to verify a client’s response.
This element also includes an open text box field for clients to report any additional race or ethnicity information they wish to share. For example, a person may identify as “Hispanic/Latina/e/o” based on the response options provided, but more specifically identifies as Puerto Rican. Enter this information in the text box field. This information may be used for local purposes in custom reporting or in case management activities and is reported to federal partners utilizing the HMIS CSV export for reporting.
If the client does not know their race or ethnicity, or prefers not to disclose it, use “Client doesn’t know” or “Client prefers not to answer”, rather than making an appearance or name-based assumption.
New Gender Data Collection Instructions:
Record the self-reported gender of each client served. When enrolling a client who already has a record in the HMIS, verify that gender information is complete and accurately reflects how the client identifies, and correct if it does not. Gender identity is a person’s internal perception of themselves and may not match the sex they were assigned at birth. This element records one’s gender identity and not sex assigned at birth.
HMIS users and data entry staff should apply a Client-Centered Approach to Recognizing Gender Identities in Data Collection Staff observations should never be used to collect information on gender. Provide all options to every client. Even if staff think they can guess a client’s gender, every client must be asked for their self-reported information. If they prefer not to provide it or say they don’t know, do not select any response other than “Client doesn’t know” or “Client prefers not to answer” on the client’s behalf. Gender does not have to match legal documents and clients may not be asked about medical history or other information to try to determine the person’s gender. Simply asking, “Which of these genders best describes how you identify?” is appropriate and focuses on the person’s own internal knowledge of their gender.
If a client does not understand what a particular gender response means, the descriptions below can be provided (p55 – FY2024 HMIS Data Standards Manual (hudexchange.info)). Clients may select as many of the seven responses to ‘Gender’ as they would like to for their preferred identity, need, or situation. However, a response of “Client doesn’t know” should not be used interchangeably with the response option “Questioning”. “Questioning” is about exploring one’s gender identity. “Client doesn’t know” should only be selected when a client does not know their gender from the options available, including “Questioning”. “Client doesn’t know”, “Client prefers not to answer”, and “Data not collected” are not valid in conjunction with any other response.
If a client discloses being a culturally specific identity (e.g., Two-Spirit), transgender, non-binary, questioning, or a different identity, staff should ask if the client prefers to have the HMIS record reflect the client’s gender identity. For example, the availability of these options is not intended to indicate that transgender individuals are expected to disclose their status; each response is provided as an option in case an option (or more than one option) is better suited to a client’s identity, needs, or situation. For instance, if a client identifies as a transgender man but they do not want their transgender identity recorded in the HMIS, the staff person would select “Man (Boy, if child)” instead of both “Man (Boy, if child)” and “Transgender”.
Clients may report different gender identities or present different gender expressions at different projects within the same CoC. This may be because their gender identity has changed or because they experience a different degree of safety at different projects. If staff are working with a client who reports a gender identity that differs from the existing HMIS record, staff should ensure that the client understands and is comfortable with their information being updated across all projects prior to making any changes. Clients decide to which projects they will disclose potentially sensitive information. Project staff should enter the self-reported information as directed by the client.