NH HMIS Software Transition

October 2022

It has been only 6 months since we started the migration journey from ServicePoint to Clarity! Lots has happened since April 2022.

Snapshot of Migration Work:

  • Users Trained: 375
  • HUD CSV: 2
    • Each CSV included 14 files for a total of 28 files
  • Custom Files Migrated: 10
  • Reports Created: 45
    • Includes: System Admin reports, Funder Reports, Coordinated Entry, NOFO, Grant Applications, and Governor requests
  • HelpDesk Interactions: 4,306

System Admins have also updated guides and held trainings for multiple different program types, funding sources and reporting.
Examples of these are:

  • Basic Data Entry
  • ESG
  • CoC
  • PATH
  • RHY
  • Coordinated Entry
  • State Funded Programs

Wow! We have come a long way since April 2022! 

April 2022

ICA is proud to announce the VT HMIS Clarity system is now LIVE and running!
We had originally set the Go Live date as May 1, 2022, however with the hard work and diligence of ICA staff and the Bitfocus team, we were able to get the system ready before the anticipated date!

What does this mean for HMIS users?
Currently, the system is going live on a very basic level. Users can begin to enter data collected during the blackout period, update files as needed and enter current, and ongoing data.

What is required before gaining access to the system?
Any previous or new HMIS user  MUST complete the Basic Data Entry Training, Coordinated Entry Training, and the Privacy and Security Training before gaining access to the system. 

What do I do if I want access to the live system now that it is available? 
If you have completed all three required trainings, then you are able to have access to the live site! ICA has a list of users who have already completed the required trainings and will be setting up those user licenses first - if this is you, please know we are working on getting you access and will be sending an email to you once that is complete. 
  • If you still need to complete trainings, please do so and then you may request access to the live site here: 
  • Access will be given on a first come first serve basis. ICA will be working diligently to get all folks access as required trainings are completed. We appreciate your patience during this mass onboarding time. 
I have access to Clarity - what do I do now?
Start entering data! If you were a user of ServicePoint previously, keep in mind that this system is not comparable to what you are used to (in a good way!) It will take some time to get used to, and even with the Basic Data Entry Training and ICA resources, you will have plenty of questions. Lean on ICA to help you navigate this new world. Please reach out to us as much as needed with questions/concerns at the Help Desk and attend office hours for the opportunity to talk through your questions one-on-one with ICA staff. 
  • Login and change your password
  • Gather paperwork and information for clients that entered your programs during the blackout period
  • Review the Basic Data Entry Guide and CE Data Entry Guide
  • Search for clients in Clarity
  • Add any new clients in Clarity
  • Enroll your clients in your Agency's programs
  • Add any notes, record services, add file attachments, etc.
  • Exit any clients / household from your Agency's programs that left during the blackout period 

Remember, your System Administrators are here to support you! We will make ourselves available as much as possible to help steer you through this process. We understand that this is a learning curve for everyone, so we will be here to help guide you.

March 2022

Historical data you will see on day one: 
  • All the HUD UDE’s that are listed in the HUD Data Standards Manual (except 4.19 and 4.20), including:
    • Program Enrollments 
    • Program Updates 
    • Program Exits 
    • Income, Non Cash Benefits, Disabilities and Health Insurance
    • Chronic Determination Data Fields
    • Demographics
  • Funding Types: ESG, ESG CV, CoC, RHY, SSVF, PATH, HOPWA, Coordinated Entry 
  • Program Types: ES, TH, SH, RRH, PSH, OPH, SSO, SO, Prevention
  • HUD required Services
    • RHY
    • SSVF
    • PATH
    • Shelter Stays for Night by Night shelters
Historical custom data will be migrated in one of the next phases. Custom data includes: 
  • Coordinated Entry Assessment Data 
  • VT HOP Specific Data Fields
  • VT Family Supportive Housing Data Fields
  • NH State Grant in Aide Data Fields
  • Custom Services that are not required by HUD and Federal Partner funding
  • Manchester ESG /ESG CV Performance Report services
  • Services that are specific to an agency and not federal funding
  • File Attachments
  • Notes

Custom report building and requests will resume once all the data has been migrated. We will start with Coordinated Entry reports and move to custom reports for other projects, like HOP, Family Supportive Housing, Manchester ESG/ESG CV Performance Measures, Rapid Resolution and SGIA after that.


If you would like a document with the above information, CLICK HERE

FAQ for Data Entry Blackout Period
1. What does the HMIS software transition mean for me as an HMIS user?
There are several items that will impact each HMIS user and their respective agencies.  In particular, the next items to focus on are:
  • Complete all data entry necessary for programs by the end of the day on Thursday, March 31.
  • Take Clarity HMIS training as it becomes available.
  • If needed, generate any required reports on March 31st.
  • Keep up to date on all the changes by reading the newsletter and ICA website regularly.
On April 1st, the HMIS will “go dark.”  This means that there will not be the ability to do access or do any data entry, either in the former system or the new system.
2. How long should we anticipate not having access to HMIS?
At this point, we are informing users to expect not to have HMIS access for the month of April.
3. Why such a long time? Is it possible it will be available sooner?  
Yes, it is also possible it will be available later.  We want to make sure to be realistic with expectations and not over-promise.  The process involves a great number of variables, many of which are out of our control as system admins.  Here is a brief summary of what happens in April:
  • On April 1st, we wait to securely receive the last “severance” file from the prior vendor.  This file will take a few hours to generate as it contains all the system data. Since the first is a Friday, it is possible that the file doesn’t arrive until sometime on the weekend.
  • Once the file is received, ICA data team members convert the file into the appropriate format for the new database.  This should take a couple of days to complete as the computer works through the process.
  • Once the file is in the right format, ICA securely sends that file to Bitfocus.  This process can also take a few hours, depending on file size and internet traffic (side note, a lot of this process relies on internet traffic and network speeds.  Any disruptions on the internet will slow the process down).
  • Once Bitfocus has the final file, they will analyze it for structural and format issues.  If there are no issues, they will schedule it for the initial build of the database.  This file includes all the HUD data elements, and is “bones” of the system upon which all the other data and activities are built upon.  This process, if things go as planned, can take four to seven days.  If there are glitches or issues this part of the process can take longer.
  • Once the initial system build completes, ICA staff are given a test version of the database to access.  This is an all-hands-on-deck process where the system is reviewed as thoroughly as possible and practical, to ensure that data are in the right providers, fields that are expected to be completed are filled in, data visibility is correct, etc. 
  • Once the initial import has been reviewed and approved, the vendor is given the green light to have the system “go live.”
  • Once the system is “live,” ICA staff begin the process of creating user log-in profiles.  Since we anticipate approximately 150 users to be needing to be created from scratch, this will take some time before each user gets access (Note: while the system is building for the first time, nobody can have access to it, not even ICA staff).
This is a “big picture” view of the steps that occur with just the migration and creation of the new database in April.  There are more than 100 tasks on the migration “punch list” that have to be completed before the migration is truly completed.
4. Why are we not able to use the current system while the new system is being created?
There are two main reasons why we need to have a period where there is no HMIS use:  cost and logistics.
In terms of cost, there is a flat cost charged by the new vendor for the migration.  This cost is roughly equivalent to the annual cost of the database.  Any migration of a database is considered unique, so if we migrated data from ServicePoint, then migrated another data set from ServicePoint, this is considered TWO migrations, and thus would be billed at the same flat cost.
There is also a cost associated with the continual use of ServicePoint.  Because we are moving to Clarity, we did not execute a new contract with Wellsky.  To continue to use ServicePoint after March 31st, we would be charged an additional 25% on top of our pro-rated monthly costs to use the system.  As you can imagine, a former vendor for services is not too keen on making a deal with a soon to be former customer.
On the logistical side, the process of doing the migration twice is time consuming for all parties involved, the vendors, ICA staff, and even end-users.  For example, if we migrate data in ServicePoint through 3/31/22 and users continue to use ServicePoint through 4/30/22, the data entered into the system between 4/1/22 and 4/30/22 would have to make its way into Clarity.  If this was done through the migration process, the earliest we would see that data in Clarity would be June 2022.  That means the most recent data entered by agencies would not be available for use in May.  And since the data entered in April is likely to be the most relevant for users, that will not work from a practical standpoint.
For the ICA staff, this would effectively double the time devoted to the data migration, which would delay the implementation of other much needed items, such as custom reports. 

So, the most efficient and affordable option is to operate without an HMIS for a few weeks.

February 2022

Task Start Date End Date
System Configuration and Set Up 12/20/2021 02/18/2022
Data Transformation - Test Site 02/21/2022 02/28/2022
Test Migration 03/01/2022 03/15/2022
Review of Test Migration 03/15/2022 03/31/2022
Last day to enter data into ServicePoint 03/31/2022 03/31/2022
Final HUD CSV File pulled 04/01/2022 04/01/2022
Data Transformation - Live Site 04/04/2022 04/20/2022
Live Migration
Data Entry Blackout Period
04/01/2022 04/30/2022
New User Trainings 04/01/2022 04/30/2022
Go Live! 05/01/2022 05/01/2022
  • Dates are subject to change.
  • Factors that we cannot predict may cause a delay in one or more parts of the work that needs to be completed
  • ICA will provide a paper intake form and a Google Form for data collection during the data black out period.
  • All data must be entered and current by 03/31/2022. If it is not, you will not have a chance after 03/31/2022 to enter it till the Go Live in Bitfocus Clarity.
  • Starting 04/01/2022, ICA will pull reports that are needed:
    • SSVF Export
    • ESG CV
    • RHY Export
  • There is a lot of detail that goes into each step and the above timeline is a quick glance for our users. If you have questions please reach out to the HelpDesk. 

January 2022

  • Staff are working on templates and visibility. And hope to move onto creating Agencies and Programs in February
  • Continuing weekly meetings with Bitfocus team to go over questions and progress. 
  • Tentative timeline has us at a go live in Bitfocus Clarity for May 2022.
  • Staff has a goal of having the system configured by end of February, so test migrations can start in March. 
  • Staff will be able to start creating some training resources in March/April

December 2021

  • Staff started creating custom fields (data elements) and screens. 
  • Working with The Bitfocus team to make sure fields and screens are set up correctly. There are multiple different configurations that can happen with these, so staff need to find the best for the NH site, which means creating one field or screens with different configurations and testing each out. This takes a time to do an staff want to ensure that the system is set up the best it can be.
  • New User Training in ServicePoint has been suspended so the ICA staff is able to work on the following, though this is not a complete list:
    • System Performance Measures reporting
    • Longitudinal System Analysis reporting
    • Set up of the Bitfocus Clarity database and start migration timeline
    • Point in Time
    • Housing Inventory Chart
      • Be present at CoC and Committee meetings 

November 2021

  • ICA staff are continue to analyzing custom data elements, custom picklists and reports to see what we need to re-create in the new database. 
  • In the next few weeks, we will be able to start creating fields (data elements), screens and templates. These will be what users see when they enter data for a client.

October 2021

  • ICA is meeting with the Bitfocus team weekly.
  • We have at Live link and training site link. We started System set up and are working on learning the lingo for all the features that we will need to set up so users are able to enter data.
  • ICA staff are also analyzing custom data elements, custom picklists and reports to see what we need to re-create in the new database.

September 2021

  • BIG NEWS! ICA and Bitfocus Clarity have signed a contract!
  • We will start working with Bitfocus to start the System set up and learn more about how the database functions.

August 2021

  • Both VT CoCs have approved the to have a joint HMIS with New Hampshire!

July 2021

  • All 3 NH CoCs approved a joint HMIS with Vermont

April 2021

  • All 3 NH CoCs voted to switch their HMIS from WellSky Community Services (ServicePoint) to Bitfocus Clarity!

Where is started in  2020...

At the end of the summer of 2020, the New Hampshire CoCs voted to do a HMIS software review, on the NH HMIS Advisory Committee's recommendation.

In the fall of 2020, the NH HMIS Advisory Committee and ICA, proceed to create and send out the Request for Proposal (RFP) to 5 of the top HMIS vendors:

  • Bitfocus Clarity
  • Caseworthy
  • ClientTrack
  • Foothold AWARDS
  • WellSky Community Services (ServicePoint)

The RFP included the following:

RPF Sections
Scope of Services - Hosting and Maintenance End User Training Site
Technical Support Demonstration Site for RFP,  as well as for System Updates and Changes
System Security and Privacy Outages in Past Year
End User Security and Privacy Planned System Updates
System Administration Data Integration, Exchange and Access
Data Collection Comparable Database
Data Quality Tools Data Migration
Usability and Other Features Summary of Cost
API, ODBC or Direct Database Connection Additional Features

After each vendor submitted their RFP, demos with each vendor were scheduled; a demo for User Experience and a demo for Reporting.

All together the members and ICA staff participated in 10 demos from January 2021-Febrauary 2021 taken about 25 hours for each committee member and ICA staff. Each committee member filled out a rubric for each demo.

These scores were used along side the RFP information to inform the committee members as to which software might be the best for their community. 

In the spring of 2021, the New Hampshire CoCs voted to switch HMIS software to Bitfocus Clarity, on the NH HMIS Advisory Committee's recommendation.

Bitfocus Clarity was chosen due to the following:

  • Is consistently the top choice for CoCs conducting RFPs across the country
  • Leader in technology innovation
  • Built to be a HMIS
  • Has picked up market share due to other vendors loss
  • Positive customer reviews
  • Ability to negotiate cost and other aspects of the contract
ICA is in the process of contract negotiations with Bitfocus Clarity and are hoping that December 2021 we will be able to start the New Hampshire data migration!
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