HMIS

HMIS Committee Outcomes - June 12, 2019

Overview

The HMIS Committee met on June 12, 2019.

Attendance

VOTING ATTENDANCE [LISTED AS NAMES, ORGANIZATION (ROLE, IF ANY)]

  • Clay Boykin, Louisiana Housing Corporation (Chair)

  • Gail Gowland and Joyce Watson, St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program

  • Betty Grant, Capital Area Human Services District

  • Keneisha Keener, Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge

  • Weston Schild, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless

NON-VOTING ATTENDANCE (LISTED AS NAME, ORGANIZATION, (ROLE, IF ANY)]

  • Gordon Levine and Aundrea Braniff, Louisiana Housing Corporation

CoC Manager’s Introduction

The CoC Manager presented his vision for this meeting and this Working Group: that during this meeting, the group would set its intentions for the next 12 months and hold biennial elections for its chair.

Chair’s Introduction

The Chair indicated that his intention for the Committee was that it help improve providers’ familiarity with and valuation of HMIS data as a tool rather than a requirement. He also expressed a desire to assist providers in learning how to request and produce reports on their data.

EmpowerDB and HMIS

The Committee discussed many of the practical aspects of data sharing between EmpowerDB and HMIS, specifically the process for referring a participant from EmpowerDB to HMIS and how a DV provider can check to see participant status on the Prioritization List.

Training

The Committee voted unanimously to instruct the Louisiana Housing Corporation to provide HMIS training as follows:

  • Every other month and by project type, open to all providers operating projects of that type;

  • One instance of HMIS training for PATH providers in partnership with the Office of Behavioral Health.

Committee Chair

The HMIS Committee tabled its biennial Chair election.

Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held by conference call. The next meeting has not yet been scheduled. To join this Working Group or be informed about its next meeting, please contact Gordon Levine, CoC Manager, at glevine@lhc.la.gov, or Clay Boykin, Committee Chair, at cboykin@lhc.la.gov.

LA BOSCOC Board Outcomes - 12/19/18

Overview

The Board met by phone to discuss several issues related to the LA BOSCOC governance structure and to funding in 2019.

Attendance

Voting Attendance [listed as Name, Organization (Seat) (Role, if any)]

  • Winona Connor, Louisiana Housing Corporation (Louisiana Housing Corporation) (Chair)

  • Michell Brown, Louisiana Department of Health (Louisiana Department of Health) (Vice Chair)

  • Eric Gammons, Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless (HMIS Lead)

  • Antiqua Hunter, Louisiana Department of Education (Louisiana Department of Education)

  • Addie Duval, Start Corporation (Baton Rouge Region)

  • Brooke Guidry, Start Corporation (Houma Region)

  • Tarek Polite, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury (Lake Charles Region)

  • Gail Gowland, St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program (Plaquemines/St. Bernard Region)

Non-Voting Attendance (listed as Name, Organization, (Role, if any)]

  • Gay Owens, Louisiana Housing Corporation (Recording Secretary)

  • Gordon Levine, Louisiana Housing Corporation (Continuum of Care Manager)

HMIS NOFA

HUD recently released a Homeless Management System (HMIS) Capacity Building Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA): https://www.hudexchange.info/news/hmis-capacity-building-project-nofa/

This NOFA will provide one-time funding to CoCs to improve their HMIS capacity and/or to consolidate their HMIS operations with other CoCs. This funding is specifically targeted to CoCs that HUD identified as having HMIS systems in need of improvement (and at CoCs they intend to consolidate with).

The Louisiana Housing Corporation, as the Collaborative Applicant for the LA BOSCOC, intends to apply for funding under this NOFA to consolidate its HMIS operations with the Monroe and Alexandria CoCs, both of which HUD identified as target CoCs for this funding.

If funding is received, the Louisiana Housing Corporation will become the HMIS Lead for the Monroe and Alexandria CoCs as well as the LA BOSCOC, and the Monroe and Alexandria CoCs will begin HMIS operations under the LA BOSCOC’s existing structure. The Louisiana Housing Corporation also intends to use some funding provided under this grant to improve its existing structure, including via technical assistance and system work in ServicePoint.

As part of the submission process for this NOFA, the CoC General Membership will need to approve the consolidation. Look for that vote to be held via email in early January 2019.

Possible CoC Mergers

The LA BOSCOC continues to pursue mergers with other interested CoCs in Louisiana. While the LA BOSCOC has nothing to announce at this time, it is optimistic that it will merge with another CoC in 2019, much as it did with the Houma CoC in 2018, the Baton Rouge CoC in 2016, and the Southwest CoC (Lake Charles) in 2015.

If another CoC decides it would like to merge with the LA BOSCOC, the CoC General Membership will need to approve the merger. The LA BOSCOC expects that if a merger will occur in 2019, the vote will be held via email in the first quarter of 2019.

Coordinated Entry Funding Through the 2019 CoC Program NOFA

Under the Funding Year 2019 Continuum of Care Program Notice of Funding Availability (FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA), which the LA BOSCOC expects HUD to release in mid-2019, the LA BOSCOC anticipates receiving approximately $1.05 million in new funding.

As in 2018, the LA BOSCOC expects to prioritize this funding by Region based on their level of need (i.e. Point in Time Count data), with each Region receiving priority for, at minimum, $150,000. Priority funding will be available to each Region’s high-scoring new projects first. Any funding not claimed by high-scoring new projects will then be awarded to projects irrespective of their Region.

For the FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA, for those Regions that do not currently have a CoC Program-funded Coordinated Entry project, the LA BOSCOC will instead guarantee $150,000 to those Regions exclusively to fund a new Coordinated Entry Access Point in each Region. (This amount will replace the $150,000 that is competitively available.)

This applies to the following Regions: Houma, Natchitoches/Sabine, and Plaquemines/St. Bernard.

In early 2019, the Louisiana Housing Corporation will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to identify one organization in each Region that will receive these funds and operate the new Coordinated Entry Access Point. Selected organizations will be eligible to receive Coordinated Entry funds as sub-recipients of a new Coordinated Entry project that the Louisiana Housing Corporation will submit under the FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA.

The Board voted unanimously to proceed with this plan.

Additional Coordinated Entry Funding Discussions

Several members of the Board have created a working group to explore dedicating additional funding from the FY 2019 CoC Program NOFA to expanding Coordinated Entry operations across the LA BOSCOC, including a dedicated call-in number for Coordinated Entry.

CoC Board Officer Structure

Currently, the Board Chair is always the executive director of the Louisiana Housing Authority, and the Board Vice Chair is chosen by the Chair.

The Board discussed changing the above structure to a structure whereby the Board would elect its Chair and Vice Chair.

In a straw poll, the Board voted unanimously in favor of switching to an election-based structure.

As the Board officer structure is written into the LA BOSCOC Governance Charter, the CoC Manager will propose amending the Governance Charter to change the Board officer structure at the next meeting of the CoC General Membership.

Upcoming CoC General Membership Meeting

The LA BOSCOC will likely host its next CoC General Membership meeting on April 1, 2019, in Baton Rouge. Mark your calendars! More details as the date approaches.

HMIS Comparable Databases Policy

Overview

Most projects funded by the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, and certain other funding sources that fund activities for people experiencing homelessness are required to record and maintain their participants' data in ServicePoint, the LA BOSCOC's designated HMIS.

Victim services providers and legal services providers are exempt from the above requirement. Instead, they are each required to establish and operate a comparable database that complies with HUD's HMIS requirements.

Victim Services Providers

Victim services providers that are funded by the CoC Program are required to use EmpowerDB as their HMIS-comparable database.

Certain other funding sources, including the ESG Program as funded by the Louisiana Housing Corporation, may require victim services providers to use EmpowerDB as their HMIS-comparable database. Please check with your program managers for more information.

Legal Services Providers

Legal services providers that are funded by the CoC Program are not required to use a specific database as their HMIS-comparable database.

More Information

For more information, including implementation timeline requirements, please refer to the actual policy as posted on the Members section of the LA BOSCOC website.

LA BOSCOC Board Outcomes - 7/11/18

Overview

The Board met by phone on 7/11/18 to review and approve the Request for Proposals (RFP) and scoring tools for the Funding Year 2018 (FY18) Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition. It also voted to approve an HMIS-comparable database for projects that serve victims of domestic violence and to approve opening a limited set of HMIS data to the other CoCs in the State of Louisiana.

Attendance

  • Nicole Sweazy, Louisiana Housing Corporation
  • Eric Gammons, HMIS Lead
  • Homeless Experience Representative
  • Brooke Guidry, Houma
  • Tarek Polite, Lake Charles
  • Gail Gowland, Plaquemines/St. Bernard
  • Randy Nichols, Membership and Rules Committee (non-voting)
  • Gordon Levine, Continuum of Care Manager (non-voting)
  • Clay Boykin, HMIS Specialist (non-voting)

FY18 CoC Program Competition

The Board voted to approve the RFP and all other documents posted here: https://laboscoc.org/fy18-coc-program-competition

The Board also voted to approve up to $100,000 in funding for a Coordinated Entry (SSO-CES) project hosted by St. Bernard Battered Women's Program, which for the last year has served as the sole Coordinated Entry access point in the Plaquemines/St. Bernard Region and the sole Coordinated Entry access point operated by a domestic violence (DV) service provider. These funds will be made available from the LA BOSCOC's total DV Bonus amount of $466,959, and any funds not claimed by this project will be added to the LA BOSCOC's competitive DV Funding Pool of $366,959 as described on Page 5 of the RFP.

HMIS-Comparable Database for DV Providers

DV service providers funded by the CoC Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, and by certain other funding sources are required to use an HMIS-comparable database instead of HMIS (ServicePoint).

The Board has approved the Domestic Violence Service Providers Working Group's proposal that the LA BOSCOC require that DV service providers use EmpowerDB as their HMIS-comparable database. This requirement will go into effect January 1, 2019, and will be retroactive for all participant data collected during contract periods beginning before January 1, 2019 and extending into January 1, 2019.

The LA BOSCOC will release a formal policy to this effect once the language has been vetted by the chairs of the HMIS Committee and Domestic Violence Service Providers Working Group.

You can find more information about EmpowerDB here: https://www.empowerdb.com/

HMIS Data Visibility

The Board has voted to make certain HMIS data elements visible to all other CoCs in the State of Louisiana.

This change was proposed during the most recent statewide Homelessness Working Group meeting. Currently, a given participant's data is only visible to organizations within the CoC where they presented for services. If a participant traveled to another part of the State, they would be required to provide their information again, and the new CoC would be unable to view the housing and services that participant had previously received. 

The representatives of each CoC that was present at the Homelessness Working Group meeting agreed to propose to their Boards that the following data elements from their CoC's participants be made visible to other Louisiana CoCs:

  • Participants' first and last name
  • Last four digits of participants' social security number
  • Entry and exit dates for participants' HMIS service transactions

All participant data will continue to be protected by HMIS releases of information and confidentiality agreements, which are implemented statewide by the Louisiana Services Network Data Consortium and are identical for all Louisiana CoCs.

HMIS Compliance Certification - State ESG FY18

LA BOSCOC projects that are applying to receive funding under the State Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program for Funding Year 2018 (FY18) are required to submit an HMIS Compliance Certification from the LA BOSCOC.

This requirement applies to ALL projects applying for funding: both Regional Applicants AND their sub-recipients.

To request an HMIS Compliance Certification for your project, including to certify that your project will begin using HMIS before the project period starts, please use the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/l0R2vN9dFvW6AWLp2

All HMIS Compliance Certification requests are due by 4 PM on Tuesday, July 31. 

The LA BOSCOC will issue all HMIS Compliance Certification no later than 4 PM on Friday, August 17.