HMIS Data Standards Manual

A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is the information system designated by a local Continuum of Care (CoC) to comply with the requirements of CoC Program interim rule 24 CFR 578. It is a locally-administered data system used to record and analyze client, service, and housing data for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
HMIS is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) as its comprehensive data response to the congressional mandate to report annually on national homelessness. It is used by all projects that target services to persons experiencing homelessness within SNAPS and the office of HIV-AIDS Housing. It is also used by other federal partners from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and their respective programs to measure project performance and participate in benchmarking of the national effort to end homelessness.
The HMIS Data Standards were first published by HUD in 2004 as the HMIS Data and Technical Standards. The original standards served as the foundation for software developers in constructing HMIS applications. In March 2010, HUD updated the Data Standards (March 2010 HMIS Data Standards), primarily to reflect data collection requirements for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP). HUD, in collaboration with its federal partners, updated the HMIS Data Standards again in 2014 with the release of the 2014 HMIS Data Standards Manual and Data Dictionary. Both documents superseded the previously released HMIS Data Standards. Together, the 2017 HMIS Data Standards Dictionary and Manual are the documentation of requirements for the programming and use of all HMIS systems and comparable database systems,1 effective October 1, 2017.
This manual is designed for CoCs, HMIS Lead Agencies, HMIS System Administrators, and HMIS Users to help them understand the data elements that are required in an HMIS to meet participation and reporting requirements established by HUD and the federal partners. An HMIS software must be able to collect all the data elements defined within these HMIS Data Standards, support the system logic identified in the HMIS Data Dictionary, and ensure that the visibility of data elements is appropriate to the Project Type and Federal Partner Funding Sources for any given project.
There are many software products on the market that communities across the county have chosen to use as their HMIS. Each product has unique features and was built to meet the different data collection needs of each community. Each software vendor should provide the guidance, support, and documentation necessary for the CoC to understand the system they are using.
Communities may elect to add data elements or maintain historical data element collection beyond what is specified in the Data Standards as long as it does not impact the ability of the CoC to accurately collect and report on the required data elements. In these cases, HMIS Leads should work directly with their HMIS vendors to meet their individual needs. 


  • HMIS Data Standards Overview
  • Related Documents
    • HMIS Data Standard Documents
    • HMIS Federal Partner Program Manuals
  • HMIS Data Standards Terms and Concepts
  • Data Element Structure 
    • Sample HMIS Data Element
  • Reference Tables
  • Metadata and Data Element Relationships


  • HMIS Project Setup Guidance
    • Multiple Funding Sources
    • Multiple Project Setup 
  • Elements 
    • 2.1 Organization Identifiers 
    • 2.2 Project Identifiers
      • 2.3 Continuum of Care Code
    • 2.4 Project Type
    • 2.5 Method for Tracking Emergency Shelter Utilization
    • 2.6 Federal Partner Funding Sources
    • 2.7 Bed and Unit Inventory Information
    • 2.8 Additional Project Information


  • General Data Collection Guidance
  • Data Collection Guidance by Project Type
  • Universal Identifier Elements (One and Only One per Client Record)
    • 3.1 Name
    • 3.2 Social Security Number
    • 3.3 Date of Birth
    • 3.4 Race
    • 3.5 Ethnicity
    • 3.6 Gender
    • 3.7 Veteran Status
  • Universal Project Stay Elements (One or More Value(s) Per Client or Household Project Stay)
    • 3.8 Disabling Condition 
    • 3.10 Project Start Date
    • 3.11 Project Exit Date
    • 3.12 Destination
    • 3.15 Relationship to Head of Household 
    • 3.16 Client Location
    • 3.20 Housing Move-in Date
    • 3.917 Living Situation


  • Common Program Specific Data Elements
    • 4.2 Income and Sources
    • 4.3 Non-Cash Benefits
    • 4.4 Health Insurance 
    • 4.5 – 4.10 Disability Elements
    • 4.5 Physical Disability
    • 4.6 Developmental Disability 
    • 4.7 Chronic Health Condition
    • 4.8 HIV/AIDS
    • 4.9 Mental Health Problem
    • 4.10 Substance Abuse
    • 4.11 Domestic Violence
    • 4.12 Contact
    • 4.13 Date of Engagement
    • 4.14 Bed-Night Date
    • 4.18 Housing Assessment Disposition


  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACYF)
  • Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB)
  • U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)


Click HERE for the full manual.
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