The Institute for Community Alliances (ICA) is a non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa that provides HMIS training and support for Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Omaha/Council Bluffs, the Rock River Coalition, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming homeless service agencies.
We work to inform regional and national efforts to end homelessness.
ICA engages in research and produces reports on homelessness and related issues. In cooperation with state and federal agencies, private research firms, and university researchers, ICA works to inform regional and national efforts to end homelessness.
HMIS helps us understand the complexities of homelessness in America.
A Homeless Management Information System, or HMIS, is a database that collects client-level data and provides reporting capabilities on behalf of homeless continua of care (CoC). HMIS were created after a Congressional directive to HUD spurred the need for a tool that allows communities to collect client-level unduplicated information on homelessness.
Prior to HMIS, there was no standardized, systematic data collection on the homeless in this country. The use of HMIS has allowed policymakers, academic researchers, and community stakeholders to more fully and precisely understand the size, scope, and dynamics of homelessness in America.
HMIS informs evidence-based efforts to end homelessness.
Equally important, HMIS allows for the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based practices whose effectiveness can be tracked through objective measures, such as how many clients are stably housed after completing a program or how many subsequently show up back in shelter.
The implementation of a statewide database allows individual service providers to more efficiently meet the needs of the clients, identifying what their needs are likely to be, and how well they responded to past interventions. As such, the HMIS system is an essential and valuable tool for policymakers and social service providers.