Data is Improbable not Impossible

Life is about learning, and when we initially published our ‘impossible data’ table, we missed a few things. So, we’ve made a few updates. Primarily we have learned that while data seems like it should be impossible, there are always exceptions to rules, so we have redubbed it to ‘Improbable’ data.

Please see this document for what we’ve identified as improbable.

Impossible Data?

What is Impossible Data?

Impossible data is something that exists in ClientTrack that is against HUD data standards or other programmatic requirements. Several data abnormalities are impossible by data standards but still exist in our database. As organizations complete data validation processes, they should look for ‘impossible’ data as a starting point to ensure that their data at the minimum meet standards expected by HUD.

This table shows the data the UHMIS Lead Agency currently identifies as ‘impossible’.

What triggers a Return To Homelessness (SPM Measure 2)

Measure 2 of the System Performance Measures is relatively complex, and it takes several items into account.

1) The clients included in the percentage return.

Measure 2 uses the reporting timeframe and then looks back two years for potential clients to include as a return to homelessness. It has clients that exited to a permanent housing destination from Street Outreach, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, and Permanent Housing (including Rapid Rehousing).

2) The projects that trigger a return to homelessness change depending on when the client is enrolled in a new project after being exited to a permanent housing destination.

  • 0-6 months after an exit to a permanent housing destination, a return to homelessness is triggered when a client is enrolled in an Emergency Shelter or Transitional Housing project.
  • 6-24 months after an exit to a permanent housing destination, a return to homelessness is triggered when a client is enrolled in an Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing project, or Permanent Housing project.  
  • Enrollments into a Coordinated Entry, Services Only, and Other type projects do not trigger a return to homelessness.

3) The report looks at the first exit to permanent housing to calculate if a client has returned to homelessness.

4) If the client exits from Transitional Housing or Permanent Housing, a return to homelessness will not trigger unless the new enrollment falls on or after 14 days since the exit. 

HUD provides a helpful example in its programming specifications, on page 20.

Working with the U.S. Census

We recognize how important the U.S. Census is for the clients we serve. Counting every person, is among many things, an important step in providing funding for many social services, including homeless services.

We encourage agencies to work closely with their local Census representatives to ensure all the persons they serve are counted in the U.S. Census.

However, releasing HMIS data directly to the U.S. Census is not appropriate. It directly conflicts with clients signed releases of information, and ultimately clients should have the choice to be counted. The UHMIS Steering Committee met on July 15, 2020, and confirmed this guidance as a committee.

More information about the U.S. Census can be found here: https://2020census.gov/


This post is intended to provide accurate and up-to-date information for users of UHMIS and the developing COVID-19 crisis.

COVID-19 form, and how to inform HMIS users of a clients COVID-19 status:

Data Sharing:

  • UHMIS Privacy Posting Amendment.
    • An amendment has been approved by the UHMIS Steering Committee to allow for limited data sharing to protect persons experiencing homelessness.
    • It should posted next to the existing UHMIS Privacy Posting, and removed once the additional sharing provisions are no longer needed.

Data Collection:

One of our providers reached out to us asking if there would be any consideration for reduced data collection and overall data quality for projects where social distancing also hinders confidentiality, i.e., Street Outreach.

So far, we haven’t seen any guidance from HUD regarding data collection from HUD regarding reduced data collection or data quality as a direct result of social distancing restrictions.

We submitted an Ask A Question (AAQ) to HUD for more clarification. HUD stated that no reduction in data collection would be implemented, but if it happens that it should be documented in reporting. We encourage you to take this step further and also document it in HMIS using the Case Notes, or comment boxes.

E-Signatures (Especially for the Informed Consent Release Form)

Before data is shared about clients in HMIS an Informed Consent Release Form should be signed by the client. This poses some challenge if interaction is being limited or done virtually.

HUD approves the use of e-signatures for this document, so long as the signature is collected using a legally binding method and the storage of the signature follows best practices. Agencies wishing to implement e-signatures for UHMIS may contact the UHMIS System Administration team (HMIS@Utah.gov) for additional information.

UHMIS does not have a formal policy regarding e-signatures at this time, but that may develop as we process the unique challenges presented to us.

HUD COVID-19 Resources:
Updated information from HUD will be posted on: https://www.hudexchange.info/homelessness-assistance/diseases/#covid-19-community-planning-and-preparednessAnd

HMIS Specific information is posted here: https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/5994/covid19-hmis-setup-and-data-sharing-practices/

More information will be posted soon.

Too many people are signed in, what!?!

Have you ever signed into the system to get this error?

If you haven’t gotten this error, then great! If you have, you know the frustration of not being able to login to the system just when you have an urgent issue that requires ClientTrack to resolve. Unfortunately, even if you reach out to your friendly Administrator, there isn’t much we can do about it.
We are allowed 80 concurrent users at a single time, it is part of the contract we have with the developers of ClientTrack, and usually, it works in our favor. Fortunately, we very rarely have over 80 users accessing the system at any given time.
If you see this error, let us know, we want to know how often it happens so that we can negotiate for a higher number of active users in future contracts, but you will have to wait until someone else logs out so you can log in.

Annual UHMIS User Recertification Test.

Hello HMIS Users,

In May 2019 the UHMIS Steering committee approved a plan to require all end-users to complete a recertification test annually. Please email HMIS@Utah.gov if you need a link to the training video and test. If you are an active UHMIS end-user on or before November 30, 2019, you are required to pass this test to continue to access UHMIS (ClientTrack) after January 2020.

The test is due January 1, 2020. Overall it should only take about an hour of your time, you may leave and come back to it as much as you need to complete it. You may take the test as many times as you need in order to pass with a score of 80% or 32 points. 

Once you have passed the test a UHMIS System Administrator will grant you access to HMIS until January 2021. You will see your score immediately after taking the test, and when you score 32 points or greater you have passed. You will not receive an email immediately after passing the test. A UHMIS System Administrator will send you an email when they extend your access rights confirming you have passed the recertification test requirements.

UHMIS Data Quality Plan Approved by Steering Committee on 10/31/2019

The UHMIS Data Quality Plan was approved by the UHMIS Steering Committee on 10/31/19. The plan outlines data quality expectations and monitoring requirements for UHMIS of all organizations that input into UHMIS.

The UHMIS Monitoring Toolkit used for the State Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) includes the questions and expectations UHMIS inputting organizations will be monitored on during State Fiscal Year 2020 . UHMIS System Administrators will contact each eligible organization in November 2019 to schedule a monitoring visit. This is later than what is outlined in the UHMIS Data Quality Plan, the delay is a direct result to the voting process to the new procedure, and is not expected to occur in State Fiscal Year 2021. UHMIS inputting organizations and users are highly encouraged to review both documents. 

UHMIS Data Quality Plan open for Public Comment

UHMIS leadership is proud to present a UHMIS Data Quality Plan for your review. This plan details data quality expectations for UHMIS and monitoring policies for all UHMIS inputting organizations. If you received this email, you will be required to follow the policy proposed once a plan is formally adopted. 
We want your and all other homeless services stakeholders input on this plan and have opened it up for public comment. 
Please read through the plan and submit your comments before 5:00 PM on September 12, 2019.
After the comment period is closed, UHMIS leadership will reconvene to ensure that all needs are met by this plan.
The plan and comments may be found here: https://forms.gle/YdXuq76Q44NjfWdc6

HMIS Reports: Cheat Sheet for Agencies is posted.

We are proud to announce the HMIS Reports: Cheat Sheet for Agencies has been published on the UtahHMIS.org Training materials page. This document contains a description of: reports Agencies can use to check and clean up their data, commonly requested reports, and some of the reports we help to submit to the State of Utah, and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This document also contains a walk-through of each of the reports, and some other things we thought you may find helpful.

Best of all, this is a live document, which means as things change we will change it in the document. If you refer to the document every time you have to run a report, you will always have the most up to date guide.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to reach out to us. HMIS@utah.gov