Homeless case management plays many roles in ending homelessness in America. Many experts agree that one particular case management responsibility is of utmost importance—HMIS documentation.
The solutions to homelessness are not deductive. It is not a ‘top down’ approach. Congress cannot act without the information that case managers provide through their documentation.
Each case counts.
Homelessness can be hidden and ambiguous, making accurate statistics and data difficult to achieve. However, through proper homeless service documentation, homelessness case managers help to raise awareness about the prevalence of homelessness in the United States.
With the information that these case managers enter into the HMIS on a daily basis, policy makers are able to offer grants, and Congress is able to create legislative initiatives such as the McKinney-Vento Act as amended by HEARTH, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and the Prevention Assistance & Temporary Housing Act (PATH).
Proper homeless case management documentation also leads to crucial reports such as the Annual Homeless Assessment Report AHAR, which is prepared annually for Congress by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This report provides the most accurate and current information on the state homelessness in America. And it is the most powerful force in raising awareness and funding.
With the information provided by the AHAR, HUD has been able to expand the impact of their outreach. For example, in February 2012, HUD awarded $95 million in grants to go directly to low income families to receive job training, and gain employment. Also in February 2012, HUD provided 31.5 million to fund housing for very low income seniors.
Just recently, they awarded nearly $35 million in grants to various agencies across the U.S. that assist residents of public housing to find employment and regain economic and housing independence. This funding will also go to the elderly, and to those with disabilities, enabling them to live independently.
The AHAR is based on two forms of documentation:
- Continuum of Care Applications
- Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS)
HMIS systems, such as Clarity Human Services, provide case managers with the means to conduct the homeless case management documentation that makes such large grants possible. With every report that is created, and each case that is documented, America’s fight against homelessness becomes stronger.