The Mission:

To put an end to homelessness in Kern County through collaborative planning and action.

For information: Homelessness Resources Administrative Assistant Jessica M. Janssen (661) 834-1580 or Jessica.F@uwkern.org. 

 


Homeless Management Information System (HMIS)

Since 2005, the Kern County Homeless Collaborative (KCHC) has utilized a Homeless Management Information System (or HMIS) to collect, manage, analyze and report data on the homeless in our community who are served through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-funded Continuum of Care programs and projects.

The KCHC's HMIS Lead Agency is the Kern County Mental Health Department (KCMH), whose Technical Services Department provides KCHC members using HMIS with training, technical support and data analysis services.

The web-based software used for our local HMIS is ClientTrack. The system allows users to efficiently collect client demographic and service data on homeless or at-risk individuals and families. The data is protected, and current system users (which, besides Kern County Mental Health, include KCHC members Bakersfield Homeless Center, California Veterans Assistance Foundation, Clinica Sierra Vista, Flood Bakersfield Ministries, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Griffin's Gate Sober Living Center, Hearthstone Community Services, Housing Authority of the County of Kern and The Mission at Kern County) are able to to avoid duplication of services for KCHC clients thanks to ClientTrack's functionality.

California Veterans Assistance Foundation President Deb Johnson extolled the many practical uses of HMIS: "It has consolidated our universal data collection, case management notes, and other efforts into one system," she said, adding that any of her employees in CVAF's five offices throughout Bakersfield have instant access to client data stored on the cloud-based HMIS system.

With the implementation in 2010 of President Obama's and U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Ken Shinseki's Five-Year Plan to End Veteran Homelessness, Johnson said, the Veterans Administration has mandated that all agencies receiving federal funds to assist homeless veterans (for example, HUD, the VA or the U.S. Department of Labor) enter data into HMIS. "It's the most compehenvise data collection methodology they have for service providers working with homeless veterans," she said.

Big volume shelter service provider The Mission at Kern County uses HMIS in conjunction with scanning software and hardware to easily scan beds, meals, showers, and other services provided to as many as a couple of hundred homeless clients daily. This helps The Mission to automatically enter batch data into HMIS that would otherwise take many more man hours to enter manually. 

Whether collecting data on homeless vets or homeless persons in general, HMIS plays a key role in helping Kern County Mental Health to generate our community's Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), which is submitted to HUD and forms part of a nationwide AHAR that is presented to Congress every year. Accurate data collection and reporting on the homeless in our community thus ensures the continuing influx of federal dollars to fight homelessness. 

The Homeless Collaborative has an HMIS Committee that meets monthly. Please click here to view our online calendar.    

If you are a homeless service provider and want to learn more about HMIS, please contact HMIS Committee Chair Ken Willoughby at kwilloughby@co.kern.ca.us, or the Homelessness Project Manager at Homeless@kernhomeless.org.     

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