HMIS and Data Committee

Three County CoC Data Updates

Please see below this data report from Andrea Miller, Data Director for the Three County Continuum of Care:
Below are updates regarding our Point in Time Count and Housing Inventory Count:
1. Hurricane Maria Evacuees: We were finally able to gather some information on a majority, but not all, of the families who fled Hurricane Maria and were housed locally through FEMA/MEMA vouchers.  As a result we added 73 persons to our PIT Count. 
Interestingly, HUD guidance specifies that, when assessing a CoCs performance in reducing or ending homelessness, they take into consideration the impact of natural disasters, and don’t penalize the CoC increases to PIT Counts that result.
2. PIT Trends Dashboard: The 5 year trend dashboard that I distributed at the Board Meeting has been updated and is attached here.
3. PIT Wiki Page: I’ve updated our Annual Point in Time Count page at the Wiki with 2018 information.  This includes the 5 year trend report as well as our annual Community Point in Time Count interactive report.  You may customize this report for one or more communities and download it as a PDF using the download icon.
One last update…
4. HMIS Annual Report:  We submit our HMIS Annual Performance Report to HUD at the end of April, and I summarize much of the reported data in a brief annual report – also featuring highlights that occurred throughout the year.  The HMIS Annual Report is posted to the Wiki on the CoC Info page as well as attached here.

New 2015 youth count survey data analyses available

With thanks to Andrea Miller, the Three County CoC data analyst, we now have access to more in-depth analyses of the data collected across the entire region – both the Hampden County and Three County CoCs  – during the 2015 Youth Count.

You can find them here:

1. All survey participants 14-24 years old
2. Homeless survey participants 14-24 years old
The analyses break down survey responses from those youth who declared themselves currently homeless, ever homeless and never homeless.  The goal is to give us a better understanding of the youth population and their experiences and needs.  The Network’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee is looking at the results closely and with Andrea’s support devising recommendations to DHCD and the Statewide Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth for survey improvements for the coming year.  Please stay tuned for further updates.
Also, to obtain additional data on the Three County region (produced by Andrea Miller), please go here.

Minutes: Hampden County CoC HMIS and Data Committee, 12/19/2013

The Hampden County CoC HMIS and Data Committee met on December 19, 2019.

Present: Deborah Merkman (City of Springfield), Dave Havens (MHA), Pamela Cook (Gandara SHINE), Jeff Langlois (Providence Loreto), L. Viviana deJesus (Homelessness Provider Consultant/Independant Contractor), Laura Saponare (Catholic Charities), Angel Middleton (HRU Lighthouse), Jennifer Lucca (Samaritan Inn)


Over the last several months, the Committee has been working on creating/updating the CoC’s HMIS policies and procedures.  The Committee had finalized portions of this work, but has been unable to reach resolution on issues regarding data sharing.  Specifically, providers have indicated that the ideal system for data sharing would enable sharing of basic identifying and demographic data on a standard basis (with a signed release of information) but allow any participant to choose to specifically allow or not allow sharing of data regarding mental health, substance abuse or HIV status.  In order to make this happen, our HMIS must allow users to individually lock and unlock individual items for sharing.  This requires us to have the functionality within our HMIS, and this is something that the City is working on with ETO.

The Committee decided that, rather than continue to let all policies and procedures stall while we work on this issue, we should proceed with implementation of the parts that the Committee has finalized, and return to the policies on data sharing once we have the functionality that supports the way we want to be able to share data.


The Committee endorsed the Privacy, Security and Data Quality Plans that have been developed.  These plans may be accessed through links below, and they are also posted on the CoC Corner -Hampden County CoC page on this Network site.


The Committee is still reviewing and finalizing the DRAFT CoC HMIS Manual.  The Committe hopes to approve it at the Committee’s January meeting, and forward it to the Board of Directors for approval at the January 24 Board meeting.

NEXT MEETING: Thursday, January 16, 2013, 11 am to noon, Springfield Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, MA

Minutes: Hampden County CoC HMIS and Data Committee, October 17, 2013

The Hampden County HMIS and Data Committee met on October 17, 2013.

Present: Yoshi Bird (CHD), Dave Havens (MHA), Jeffrey Langlois (Providence), Wendy Fydenkevez (Open Pantry), Angel Middleton (HRU), Betsy Shally-Jensen (A Positive Place); Janice Humason (FOH), Maria Perez (NNCC), Laura Saponare (Catholic Charities), Ann Lentini (Domus), Jennifer Lucca (Samaritan), Deborah Merkman (Springfield), Jesus Arce (Springfield), Gerry McCafferty (Springfield)

HMIS Policies and Procedures

After last months’ review of a draft Participation Agreement, it becamae apparent that the CoC needed to revisit all of its HMIS Policies and Procedures prior to creating/finalizing a Participation Agreement.  At this month’s meeting, we reviewed a DRAFT Hampden County CoC HMIS Manual which incorporates a privacy plan, a security plan, and our data quality plan.

In our discussion, we recognized a decision point we face: whether to require Contributing HMIS Organizations (CHOs) to conduct a criminal background check on staff who will access HMIS.  The criminal background check is in the proposed HMIS regulation, but we do not know if HUD will require it in the final rule; we are not required to conduct criiminal bbackground checks at this time.  Some agencies already conduct CORIs on new hires, so do not feel that this will be burdensome.  Others noted that, given the importance of clients personal information, that this was an important protect to put in place.  Gerry offered to contact agencies individually before the next meeting to get a sense of each agenmcy’s position on this issue.

As part of this discussion, we noted that if we implement the requirement of criminal background checks, each agency would be reviewing criminal information regarding its own staff.  There was a suggestion that we develop common standards to provide guidance to agencies on how to evaluate criminal information and apply it to make decisions regarding access to HMIS.


We discussed use of HMIS for data sharing.  After researching how this is handled in other CoCs, Gerry recommended that each agency be able to elect whether to data-share or not, and that each agency obtain a written authorization for release of information for a particular client for sharing of that client’s data.  The Committee agreed that these were importannt protections.

There was discussion about whether our HMIS provides the capability to share some data but not other data.  After the meeting, Social Solutions informed us that the sharing must be done in chunks–that is, we can share only the Uniform Data Elements (basic demographic information) only, or we can share both the Unifirm Data Elements plus the client assessment, but we cannot share just parts of the client assessment.  Based on this, it seems that we will want to make sure that we design a release of information form that is specifically asking a client about authorization to release information about mental health, substance abuse and HIV status.  The Committee considered that we might just never share any of this data, but then realized that this data often enables someone to be eligible for a program, so there are times when they will want to share that data.  Gerry offered to do more research on how this is being handled in other places, as well as working on a release of information form that will comply with federal ansd state law, and also provide clients with enough information for them to make informed decisions.

Next Meeting

The Committee will meet Thursday, Nov. 21, 11 am, at the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, to continue working on HMIS Policies and Procedures and the forms that we will use to implement them.

Minutes: Hampden Co CoC HMIS and Data Committee

The Hampden County CoC HMIS and Data Committee met on September 19, 2013.

Present: Millie Colon (RVCC), Angel Middleton (HRU Next Step), Dave Havens (MHA), Kaylee Nicholls (Gandara SHINE), Pamela Cook (Gandara SHINE), Janice Humason (FOH), Jeff Langlois (Providence Ministries), Jennifer Lucca (Samaritan Inn), Deborah Merkmen (City of Springfield), Gerry McCafferty (City of Springfield).

Participation Agreement

The Committee spent most of the meeting reviewing and discussing a draft Hampden COC HMIS Participation Agreement.  Once this agreement is finalized, each contributing HMIS organization will enter into the agreement with the City of Springfield.  The committee’s comments on the draft are captured in noted (in red) on the attached draft.  Gerry will respond to the issues noted and then circulate to the Committee prior to the next meeting

HMIS Manual

Gerry noted that the City’s existing HMIS Manual, last reviewed in January 2013, is being updated. Committee members should look for a draft prior to the next committee meeting.

Data Quality

Deborah noted that ETO’s data quality reports have changed, and she explained the new format to the Committee.  Deborah will continue to send monthly data quality reports to each contributing HMIS organization, and working with the organizations to correct any data errors.

Next Meeting

The HMIS and Data Committee will meet next on Thursday, October 17, 2013, 11:00 am, at the Springfield Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield.