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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
PATH and Homelessness Management Information Systems (HMIS)
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In December 2009, SAMHSA announced an initiative to move towards PATH reporting in Homelessness Management Information Systems (HMIS). This is the announcement that was distributed to State PATH Providers on December 21, 2009.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), are pleased to announce that collaboration efforts between the agencies have resulted in aligning client-level data collection and reporting for street outreach programs. In the case of SAMHSA’s PATH program the agencies’ collaboration efforts will focus on a multi-level approach to include intensive technical assistance and training activities to facilitate utilization of HMIS over the next several years.

In addition to utilizing the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Data Standards as the foundation for client-level data collection, the agencies have agreed to align reporting requirements by establishing common outputs and performance outcomes. This standardized data collection and reporting will reduce the reporting burden for organizations that receive both HUD and HHS funds to operate outreach programs and will enable consistent reporting to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on outreach programs across the two federal agencies.

The common outputs include counts of persons contacted, number of times persons were contacted, number of persons engaged and engagement rate. Common performance outcomes were established to assess the effectiveness of street outreach programs and will measure housing stability and access to mental health services, substance abuse services, primary health care and/or health insurance.

The revised Annual Performance Report (APR) for HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) programs, currently under review by OMB, includes the standardized outreach program outputs and outcomes. Beginning in 2010, HHS will provide intensive technical assistance and training activities for PATH programs on client-level data collection and reporting and alignment with HMIS. In 2011, HHS will seek approval for a revised annual report to include HMIS data.

HUD and HHS encourage their respective stakeholders, including CoC leads, HMIS administrators, PATH State Contacts and street outreach programs, to reach out to each other and begin discussing data collection, annual reporting, HMIS participation by PATH providers and inclusion of PATH programs into the Continuum of Care process.

Gretchen Stiers, Ph.D.
Branch Chief, Homeless Programs
Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA
PATH Resource
Washington, DC
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