by Michelle Nevius, Quality Assurance, Foothold Technology
As much as those of us in the social services industry wish this was not the case, often what matters most to our funders is the hard and fast numbers. The competition for federal dollars from HUD and the federal partners for your organization is truly a numbers game. When we look at this in the context of combating homelessness, the big picture questions look like this:
- How many homeless individuals were housed?
- How many of them are veterans?
- How many were chronically homeless?
- How many were Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY)?
- How many are living with HIV or AIDS and are part of the HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS) program?
- How many are survivors of domestic violence?
The list goes on and on, breaking down data for those you serve into different demographic characteristics. Using AWARDS as your Homeless Management Information System allows you to have those numbers at your fingertips. Plus, Foothold developers use the specifications released from the federal government on an ongoing basis to continually refine reporting within AWARDS. For our customers, this means reports mirror what needs to be submitted to their Continuum of Care (CoC) or to their funders automatically. You can rest assured, by the time the deadline rolls around for a new mandated Homeless Management Information System report, or a revision to an existing report, we have spent months developing and testing it, and crafting training materials, so it is ready for use. Here are some examples of the many types of HMIS-specific reporting available through AWARDS.
AWARDS is set up to accommodate all HMIS Project Types. When you or your Implementation Consultant create your projects in AWARDS, with an easy checkbox you indicate if your project uses HMIS Data Elements. Then, from a drop-down list, you go on to specify the Federal Funding Source(s) for your projects. The drop-down options include all the various types of CoC, HOPWA, SSVF (Supportive Services for Veteran Families), RHY, PATH (Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness), and ESG (Emergency Shelter Grants) funds. Specifying the HMIS Project Type and the Federal Funding Sources takes just a moment in AWARDS, but will guarantee that you are asking the correct questions (all of the required ones) for all of your clients.
Next, we provide easy tools to audit your data entry on an ongoing basis, so there is no crunch-time that happens when the reports are due. We have an HMIS ReportBuilder which allows you to build your own reports to include any fields you wish, and to discover where you might have incomplete or missing data. Additionally, we’ve saved you time by crafting some saved templates for the HMIS ReportBuilder, so users can easily run a report to check for duplicates, or one to check that all Universal Data Elements have good answers.
And, we haven’t even gotten to the exciting reports yet! The CoC APR (Annual Performance Report), the ESG CAPER (Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report), the AHAR (Annual Homeless Assessment Report), the System Performance Measures report, the Point in Time Report, the PATH Annual Report Survey and the HMIS Grantee APR–all just take a few clicks to run. One of the primary goals of our Homeless Management Information System is to ease the burden of record-keeping for providers. When we hear from people like Sue Palmer, an HMIS Customer Service Representative at Foothold’s customer CARES, Inc. saying, “[the HMIS Point In Time Report generated from AWARDS] has saved a tremendous amount of time for me and the collaborative applicants,” we have a sense of pride knowing individual staff members have tools they need to accomplish their goals.
Using AWARDS as your Homeless Management Information System is going to make it that much easier to account for the services you are already providing, and increase your chances of securing federal funding. Plus, AWARDS has full interoperability with other federally certified systems and is the only record-keeping system that is certified as both a Behavioral Health EHR and a HMIS software.
About Foothold Technology
Foothold Technology, an electronic record, EHR vendor and human services software provider, offers web-based software for human service providers that eases the burden of documentation, providing agencies with the freedom to focus on their Mission. More than 1,000 agencies nationwide count on Foothold’s AWARDS software to manage their services, including Mental Health, Alcohol & Substance Abuse, Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities, Homeless & Housing, Employment & Training, Seniors, Veterans, Youth & Family, and more. Having originated from three agencies in 2000, AWARDS is a complete electronic record and EHR software for human service providers that also supports administrative activities, including facilities maintenance, human resources, scheduling and alerts, audit reports, and automated billing. AWARDS offers full interoperability with any other federally certified system for participation in Health Information Exchanges (HIE) and RHIOs. It is also the only record-keeping system that is certified as both a Behavioral Health EHR software system and an HMIS software package (Homeless Management Information System). With roots and origins in human services, no software vendor is better prepared to support you than Foothold Technology. For more information, visit footholdtechnology.com.