VIA LINK’s HMIS Ranks #1 in Orleans and Jefferson Parish for 3rd Year In a Row
VIA LINK’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) tracks all homeless people and runaway youth in the area, monitors services available to them, and keeps an inventory of available housing for those in need.
The National Homeless Information Project has been ranking the performance of HMIS Continuums of Care nationally since 2014. We are happy to announce that VIA LINK’s HMIS programs in Jefferson and Orleans Parish have again been ranked #1 nationwide in system performance among large cities for the third year in a row! Below, you can learn a bit more about HMIS and VIA LINK’s program. We could not have done so well without our amazing group of partner agencies in the UNITY of Greater New Orleans Continuum of Care. Thank you.
What is HMIS?
The HMIS system is a database that tracks all homeless people in these parishes, including runaway and homeless youth. It also collects information about the services that are being provided to the homeless and keeps an inventory of the beds in shelters and the housing options that are available. Part of this work involves our HMIS staff going to shelters each night to gather information about who is staying there and how many beds are available.
How is VIA LINK involved with HMIS?
VIA LINK oversees the HMIS system on behalf of the UNITY of Greater New Orleans Continuum of Care, which is a collaboration of over 120 programs that serve the homeless. VIA LINK acts as a liaison between these programs and government agencies to ensure that homelessness data is accurate and readily available. By managing the HMIS system we ensure that the Continuum of Care complies with HUD’s data collection and reporting requirements.
What is the purpose of HMIS?
Accurate data plays an important role in helping to design and evaluate homeless services. The information collected through HMIS creates a narrative on the past and current experiences of households dealing with homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. If gathered widely and interpreted accurately, data can lead to deeper insights and result in appropriate community responses.
How did VIA LINK’s program measure up in NHIP rankings?
Our HMIS program scored HIGH on 5 out of 6 of the measurements used to determine program performance. Some highlights The New Orleans Continuum of Care’s performance include an 82% HMIS coverage and a Big City high score of a 77% permanent housing placement.
Does a high score equate to decreased homelessness?
No! Performance on the annual System Performance Measures is one measure of program quality. It cannot account for macro-social impacts that impact the number of new people entering homelessness every year and the impact of the homeless definition on homeless totals (e.g. defining people with shared or transitional housing as homeless). Solving one person’s homelessness is a separate issue from stemming the tide of HUD defined homelessness. Hospitals treat diabetes, but cannot stop the rise in cases.