ACTION NEEDED: 2015 Point in Time (PIT) Survey

Good morning!  Please take a moment to review the materials for our 2015 Point in Time survey listed below or on our site.  Feel free to contact Sam and Jason at or 443-574-HMIS for any questions and/or concerns.  Thank you!

2015 PIT Survey Date - 1/29/15

PIT Flyer - info related to training and registration 

Volunteer Registration - everyone must register online

HMIS Participants - all HMIS participants (especially DSS screening unit, shelters, transitional housing, rapid-rehousing, permanent housing, and anyone serving homeless clients) must have all client data entered by 11:59pm on 1/29/15

Setup Status - info related to setup 

Jason Burns, MCSE 
Systems Administrator 
HMIS Support Team 
Always use ServicePoint manuals. NEVER guess! Properly entering data, or contacting us, saves hours! Forums News Report Cards * Support * Training * Unsubscribe

NHSDC Call for Session Proposals!

NHSDC Call for Session Proposals!
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Conference Update!

The National Human Services Data Consortium (NHSDC) will be holding its Spring Conference on April 16 & 17, 2015, at the Embassy Suites Denver-Downtown/Convention Center in Denver, CO. Conference registration will open early in January.

This year's theme is Supporting cross-systems data collaboration for integrated, person-centered care planning.

Those interested in presenting at the Spring Conference are encouraged to review the "Call for Session Proposals" section below.

Hotel Information
Embassy Suites Denver-Downtown/Convention Center
1420 Stout Street Denver, CO 80202
Room rate: $149.00 (not including tax or fees)
Use our Online Reservations Link 
Or call 303-592-1000 and reference NHSDC Spring 2015 Conference or code NHS
Please note: the room rate is available until March 25, 2015 or until the room block is filled, which ever comes first. 

Call for Session Proposals 

NHSDC Conference attendees are interested in unique, novel or otherwise innovative applications of data to the delivery of human services.  In keeping with this year's theme, NHSDC is looking for session proposals that address the growing need of communities to explore new ways of using data to connect service providers, expand the use of data beyond traditional boundaries and learn about tools and techniques organizations are using to achieve these initiatives.
NHSDC is particularly interested in creating a dedicated track for beginners at our Spring 2015 conference. We anticipate (and welcome) numerous proposals directed towards advanced users. If you submit such a proposal, please consider adding an additional session targeted towards beginners, which would mean that you would deliver two versions of the same presentation: one for beginners and the other for experienced users. Please submit a separate proposal for each.
Topic ideas for conference sessions are as follows:
Policy and Planning: Sessions in this area should focus on how your community or project uses data or management information systems to support new strategies in public policy around reducing poverty, improving self sufficiency of human service program participants, and the like. For example:
• Using data to coordinate policy and planning across multiple systems of care (homeless housing and services, criminal justice, healthcare, mental health, substance use disorder, veterans services, employment and vocational programs, etc.)
• System redesign projects, like transitioning to a coordinated assessment system • Program evaluation using technology
• Using data & outcomes in grant writing

End Results: Sessions in this area should focus on the mechanics used to demonstrate how programs delivered and documented effective outcomes. Conversely, the NHSDC members value accurate data, and understanding the roots of program failure is also interesting. For example:
• Using evaluation to shape program modifications
• Comparison of federal and local metrics
• Developing performance measures from sound evidence
• Collaboration to improve discharge planning (Foster care, Criminal Justice, Hospitals)
• Evaluating costs off-sets or the benefit of Social Impact Bonds
• Measuring community-wide impact

Data Sharing & Collaboration: Sessions in this area should explore real strategies for the dissemination of data across multiple sectors and the coordination of these efforts. Projects increase the impact of their information exponentially when they effectively collaborate with other data oriented projects. The audience for these sessions must be able to understand the mechanics of data sharing. Presenters should articulate not only the outcomes but the mechanics of making it happen. For example:
• Integrating data systems for improved client outcomes (VA, HMIS, HHS, etc)
• Development of project plans for data sharing initiatives
• Mechanics of communication and negotiation with multiple vendors
• Addressing the fear of data sharing: technical, legal, and community agreements

Technical Application: Show us how technology is being used to tell the story of your data. Sessions in this area should demonstrate specific uses of technology that have increased the skillsets or capacity to serve within a community. Your audience should walk away with applicable skills to enhance the utilization of human service data systems. For example:
• Advanced uses of technology (e.g. GIS, advanced Excel, mobile devices, social media)
• Technology and applications for data visualization • Practical tools for statistical analysis
• Report Building and Technical Writing
• System Administrator Communication Tools
• Real world tools for better communication with community stakeholders and system users
Note: NHSDC Conference attendees represent communities of all sizes and systems of varying levels of sophistication.  Sessions that address issues common to any community as well as the concerns of very small or very large communities are encouraged.
To prepare for your online submission, please have the following information:
Session Title: Limit to 100 characters
Description: Descriptions should be a brief summary of the content and purpose of the proposed session. Attendees will want to learn about real world success and failure. Only the first 500 words of the description will be forwarded to the reviewers. Indicate if your presentation would be characterized as beginner, intermediate or advanced level information.
Audience and Learning Objectives: All proposals must identify the targeted level of the audience: beginner or experienced. We are particularly interested in creating a dedicated track for beginners at our Spring 2015 conference. Therefore, we encourage proposals geared towards beginners. We anticipate (and welcome) numerous proposals directed towards advanced users. If you submit such a proposal, please consider adding an additional session targeted towards beginners, which would mean that you would deliver two versions of the same presentation: one for beginners and the other for experienced users.
Bio: All proposals must include a paragraph that discusses the experience of each speaker (please include names, titles, and foundation/agency and limit to 300 words).
Session Contact Information: If your proposal includes a panel or group please indicate which individual NHSDC should communicate with regarding the session.
Preferred Session Format: Please indicate in your proposal your preferred format (plenary, workshop, presentation, and round-table). If NHSDC thinks your proposal might be good for everyone we may reach out to you about presenting as a plenary or repeating your session.
Please Note:
  • Session lengths are planned to be between 50 & 75 minutes in length and should include time for questions and answers.  NHSDC attendees value opportunities to engage in discussion with session presenters and attendees.
  • If you don't feel as though your proposal specifically fits one of the above topics, but feel that it could be beneficial for conference attendees, please feel free to submit your proposal with an additional narrative demonstrating this.
  • NHSDC offers a vendor neutral conference.  Sessions must not promote a specific company, product or service.  Vendor specific references, materials, logos and screenshots must be excluded from proposal and presentation materials.
  • Presenters chosen for the NHSDC Conference will be offered a discount off the full conference registration price. To qualify for the discount, presenters must register for the conference by the registration deadline. Please note, for panel presentations, discounts will be limited to three presenters.
  • The Conference Committee reserves the right to request a modification of the proposed content, which may include asking presenters to combine similar presentations.
Proposal deadline – Monday, February 2, 2015. To read the Call for Proposals release, click here.  To submit your proposal online, click here.

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays and Exciting News from SNAPS

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Happy Holidays and Exciting News from SNAPS

As we celebrate the Holidays and the end of the year is upon us, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you once again for all of the work that you do day in and day out to serve men, women, and children who are experiencing homelessness in our communities. I am grateful that we have so many talented and dedicated people working to end homelessness across the country.

With no Continuum of Care application deadline looming, I hope that you are enjoying a restful and peaceful holiday season with friends and family. We hope to keep it that way in years to come!

I also wanted to share with you some exciting news. Earlier this year, after a lot of consideration I accepted the job of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs (vacated by Mark Johnston when he retired), and began the search for the new Director for the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS). This was not an easy choice—SNAPS has been my home for more than seven years and I love the work that we do. But I am confident that it was the right choice and that our team is getting even stronger.

It is my pleasure to announce the selection of Mr. Norm Suchar as the new Director of the SNAPS Office. Norm brings to the Department a wealth of national and local experience on the issue of homelessness, as well as an incredible passion for the work and the mission of the Department. Many of you know Norm from his years with the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Norm takes over as the Director effective December 29.  

We are pleased to have him join the team. Please join me in giving Norm a warm welcome.

Ann Marie Oliva
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs
Acting Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Suicide Myths and a New Tool for Suicide Prevention


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Suicide Myths and a New Tool for Suicide Prevention
It's a common myth that suicide rates are highest during the holiday season. Suicide rates are actually lowest in December, and rates peak during the spring and fall.
However, suicide remains a major public health challenge all year long; more than 40,000 Americans die by suicide every year, and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. As the new year approaches, SAMHSA is preparing to release a free mobile app—optimized for tablets—called Suicide Safe, a suicide prevention learning tool for behavioral health and primary care providers. Suicide Safe helps providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and reduce suicide risk among their patients.
SAMHSA's free Suicide Safe app will be available in early 2015 for iOS® and Android™ mobile devices.

Like SAMHSA on Facebook   Follow SAMHSA on Twitter   Subscribe to SAMHSA's YouTube Channel   Visit the SAMHSA Dialogue Blog

Save the Date—HUD, USICH and HHS on Housing and Healthcare: Opportunities to Partner—January 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM EST

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD Exchange Mailing List

Save the Date—HUD, USICH and HHS on Housing and Healthcare: Opportunities to Partner—January 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM EST

HUD's Office of Special Needs Assistance (SNAPs) and Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH), in collaboration with the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are joining forces for a federal partners' panel discussion on the important connection between homeless assistance and health care. SNAPS, USICH and HHS will present and discuss a range of opportunities to partner at the community level in our collective effort to address the complex needs of people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness.
Jennifer Ho, representing HUD's Office of the Secretary, will moderate an esteemed panel of presenters who will talk about why this connection between homeless assistance and healthcare is so critical. They also will explore concrete steps that you can take to strengthen this connection including how to access currently available resources. Panelists include:
  • Ann Marie Oliva, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, HUD
  • Richard Cho, Senior Policy Director, USICH
  • Seiji Hayashi, HHS, Chief Medical Officer, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Jayme Marshall, HHS, Branch Chief, Homeless Programs Branch, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Donna Cohen Ross, HHS, Director of Enrollment Initiatives, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMS)
  • Emily Rosenoff, HHS, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, (ASPE)
This panel discussion will kick-off a series of webinars that will be available to CoC, ESG, and HOPWA grantees and project sponsors in the coming months as part of the H² technical assistance initiative. This initiative is part of SNAPs and OHH's effort to support grantees and project sponsors with accessing mainstream resources on behalf of the people entrusted in your care and facilitating effective utilization of healthcare services in particular.   
To view the panel discussion, go to the Webcast Schedule page on the scheduled date and time.
Stable Housing Better Health H2

FHFA Directs Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fund Housing Trust Fund

December 23, 2014    

ISSUES  |  POLICY  |  SOLUTIONS  |  NEWS & EVENTS Forward Editor: Emanuel Cavallaro

Spotlight On...
FHFA Directs Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac to Fund Housing Trust Fund

Earlier this month, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin allocating funds to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, affordable housing programs meant to increase and preserve the nation's stock of affordable housing for low-income households. The contributions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to these programs, which were originally established in 2008 with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and signed into law by President George W. Bush, had been temporarily suspended on the basis that allocating funds to the programs would contribute to their financial instability. The FHFA notified Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Thursday, Dec. 11, of its decision to end the suspension.

President Signs $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill into Law
On Tuesday, Dec. 16, President Obama signed the 'cromnibus' spending bill for fiscal year 2015 into law. The bill provides $2.135 billion for the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program, a $30 million increase over FY 2014 funding, but $271 million less than the Obama Administration's requested funding level. Of the $2.135 billion, at least $250 million is set aside for Emergency Solutions Grants with the remainder set aside for Continuum of Care grants.
The cromnibus bill funds the Department of Homeland Security through the end of February 2015 and funds all other federal operations, including homeless assistance and affordable housing programs, through the remainder of the federal fiscal year to Sept. 30, 2015.
Senate Committee Assignments Announced
Last week, Senate leaders announced committee assignments for the 114th Congress, although committee chairs and ranking members are not yet official. House committee assignments have not yet been announced.
Congress Departs for Recess
The House and the Senate have departed for the holiday recess thus concluding the 113th Congress. The 114th Congress is expected to convene Tuesday, Jan. 6.

Last week, both chambers of Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill for federal programs for fiscal year 2015, and President Obama signed the bill into law. In this post, we discuss what this bill means for funding for homeless assistance programs.
5 Reasons Why Housing Providers Should Be Using Medicaid for Supportive Services
By Jayme Day
With the federal goal to end chronic homelessness by the end of 2016 fast approaching, communities need to pull together funding for housing and supportive services quickly and with sustainability in mind. In this post, we look at how communities can take advantage of Medicaid to cover the cost of supportive services.
The Year in Review: Youth Homelessness
By Mindy Mitchell and Emanuel Cavallaro
In this post, we take a look back at the major developments of 2014 in the fight to end youth homelessness.

HUD Releases Point-in-Time Mobile Application

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HUD Releases Point-in-Time Mobile Application

HUD has released a Point-in-Time (PIT) mobile app to assist communities with conducting their 2015 PIT counts. This tool is completely optional but HUD encourages communities to take advantage of it to facilitate an effective count.
Communities choosing to use the mobile app can experience a more effective way of collecting data by allowing electronic, real-time data collection and quality assessment. Data collected through the mobile app can be more consistent and more easily integrated with HMIS data for analysis and reporting by decreasing the chance of errors and reducing data entry requirements after the PIT count is completed.
The PIT mobile app has been designed to capture quality, consistent data for the PIT. The app captures the GPS location coordinates for each survey conducted to assist CoCs in understanding where within their community’s unsheltered individuals and families are encountered, providing valuable information for deployment of services. The surveys in the mobile app reflect the model surveys recently published by HUD and include six surveys:
  • Individual and Household Unsheltered surveys
  • Individual and Household Observation surveys
  • Individual and Sheltered surveys
To utilize the mobile app, local communities must set up a backend place (a data store) to receive their data from the mobile app. Submitted data will not rest with or be transmitted to HUD or third parties associated with HUD – it will remain with the local communities. Guidance will be provided to assist communities in assessing their options for setting up the data store.

The PIT mobile app is designed to operate on Android and Apple mobile devices. It can be downloaded to mobile devices from HUD PIT Mobile App - Google Play (for Android devices) or HUD PIT Mobile App - App Store (for Apple devices) or by searching for “HUD Point In Time” in either the play store apps or with a browser. 

Communities wishing to learn more about the mobile app or wishing to use the app for the 2015 PIT count should submit a request for assistance through the Ask A Question (AAQ) portal of the HUD Exchange. Select HDX Homelessness Data Exchange (Including PIT, HIC and AHAR) for the Reporting System under My question is related to (Step 2), then type PIT MOBILE APP under Please provide a subject line for your question, before adding your full question or requesting additional information. Further information and resources will be made available through the HUD Exchange shortly.

SNAPS and the ACF Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Encourage CoCs to Work with their Local RHY Grantees to Help Them Begin to Use HMIS

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SNAPS and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) Encourage CoCs to Work with their Local Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) Grantees to Help Them Begin to Use HMIS

As stated in the October 14, 2014 SNAPS In Focus: Youth Homelessness message from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Needs, Ann Oliva, HUD recognizes that youth have unique developmental needs and our approach to youth homelessness has to do a better job taking these into account. This is true for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), but is also true for communities and for local providers. Both HUD and HHS recognize the need for better data on homeless youth in order to make informed decisions on what works to end youth homelessness.

One of the best ways HUD, HHS, Department of Education, and the other federal partners can work to end youth homelessness is to promote high quality, cross-sector data gathering. This will help federal agencies make informed policy decisions, as well as help each community determine the extent of youth homelessness and how best to assist youth. This strategy also aligns with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) plan. 

To create better data on youth homelessness, HHS and HUD worked together to release unified elements in the 2014 HMIS Data Standards issued earlier this year. HHS' Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) program grantees will be able to use HMIS as the primary source of data entry for reporting back to the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).

FYSB recently sent a letter to their RHY grantees outlining this partnership and their efforts to foster greater coordination among organizations serving homeless youth. As part of this effort, FYSB is requiring all RHY grantees to begin using their local CoC's HMIS and suggesting that they become active in their local CoC. HUD encourages CoCs to reach out to youth programs in your community and to welcome the RHY grantees into your CoC, if you are not already doing this.

HUD recognizes communities will have questions about this collaboration and what it means for their CoC. HUD suggests you visit the RHY program's website to learn more about the FYSB RHY Act and Resources. HUD and its national TA providers are working with FYSB staff to finalize a RHY-HMIS Program Manual that will provide detailed instructions on RHY project set up and additional data collection guidance for the RHY programs. This will be out within the next few weeks. HUD also encourages communities with questions about this new collaboration to submit their questions through the Ask a Question (AAQ) Portal on the HUD Exchange. On Step 2 of the question submission process, select "HMIS" from the "My question is related to" drop down list. 

HUD and HHS also recognize that RHY grantees have requirements around client confidentiality and data sharing specific to the youth they serve. These issues will be addressed further in the HMIS Privacy and Security Notice, which HUD will release, and communities will have an opportunity to comment on, in 2015. HUD and HHS are also working together with communities who have successfully navigated these issues to develop examples of best practices and hope to release those in early 2015. For now, communities and CoCs are encouraged to work with RHY grantees to be sure they have a seat at the table and to help them understand HUD’s requirements. Communities that need assistance with this should request technical assistance via the HUD Exchange.

RHY grantees who are not sure who the CoC contact is for their community, please visit the About Grantees section of the HUD Exchange.

Additional resources on homeless youth: