Hidden among the many service areas of CSA is our Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) office. Partially funded by a grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the three employees of this office maintain a database that records demographic information about clients, stores notes from the case managers, and tracks services provided, all in a collaborative effort of CSA, other non-profit agencies, and funders in the Acadiana region. The database creates reports for many uses, such as monitoring our service offerings, informing our funders of the results of the money they invested, and showing our progress in meeting the goals we have set as an agency and as a region.
One of the most important reports that the HMIS office generates every year is the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), a document compiled by HUD to provide Congress and the general public the current state of homelessness in America. This report compiles information from various regional databases across the nation, and being included in the national report is an honor. To be included, the database must show that the information is complete and of excellent quality. Many regions are only able to provide partial reports due to issues with their data, while some cannot be included at all. This year, our region’s full report was accepted into the AHAR once again, making it the 8th time in a row dating back to 2009.
Since the AHAR is a national report, it is important that information about the entire state of Louisiana be included. To achieve this goal, Andrew Zegura, the HMIS System Administrator for both the Acadiana region and the state, works with eight other regions across Louisiana to help them ensure their AHAR reports will be accepted and used. With statewide data incorporated into the AHAR, Congressional and State policymakers receive a clear picture of the needs of people experiencing homelessness across our state. See the chart below to see not only their data illustrated, but also the progress we've made in ending homelessness.