New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency

How an entire state uses AWARDS to collect data from more than 1000 programs that serve the homeless

Who: New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency
Role: Lead agency for the New Jersey HMIS
Project Started: 2004
Location: Trenton, NJ
Clients Served: Over 1,300 annually
Annual Operating Budget: $13 million

The Situation: Changes in legislation

When the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) directed every Continuum of Care in America to collect an unduplicated count of the homeless persons served in their communities, this directive included a mandate to implement a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) that would also track the demographics and services used by homeless individuals and families. However, state agencies responsible for administering these programs, such as the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), were faced with the challenge of selecting software to stay in compliance with HUD’s directive while ensuring it could be smoothly implemented into programs across the state.

The Solution: AWARDS software from Foothold Technology

After evaluating several programs, NJHMFA chose Foothold as its HMIS vendor because of its ability to quickly implement the software in over 200 agencies. “We needed one application that could be implemented across the varied systems used by agencies in the state. After hearing from several vendors that such a huge project could take as long as two years, we selected AWARDS since it could be easily and quickly implemented in the 796 supportive housing programs we have in New Jersey,” explained Abram Hillson, Assistant Director of HMIS at the time. “The implementation process with Foothold was both smooth and timely. The absence of a long roll out period allowed Foothold to spend a considerable amount of time training our staff, getting all 1300 users up and running. The Foothold support staff has been with us every step of the way.”

The Result: A smooth transition to automated case management

Foothold not only provided NJHMFA with a solution that met HUD’s requirements, but also configured the software to fit the specific needs of programs in New Jersey. “While our agencies initially only needed AWARDS for HMIS, many have been impressed with its functionality and features that can be used for all of their programs – as well as agency operations management,” said Hillson. “AWARDS drastically cuts down the time required to track and report on our HMIS programs. If this could be replicated in ALL of our agencies’ other programs, staff would certainly be more efficient and agencies would be in better shape for audits.”

“AWARDS’ ease of use and simplicity by far exceeds all of the other programs we considered.” Abram Hillson, Former Assistant Director, HMIS
New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency