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Ahead of the Curve: Proactive Approach to HUD Privacy Regulations & Compliance

Compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations should be a top priority for any continuum of care (CoC) and associated agency. Your ability to receive ongoing funding for human services provision depends on it. The vulnerable and marginalized in your community depend on it.

By partnering a proactive system administrator with a robust homeless management information system (HMIS), you can ensure those experiencing homelessness in your community will receive the care and support they need to improve their situations.


A Proactive Approach to HUD Regulations & Compliance

At Bitfocus, we started our journey in 2003 as HMIS system administrators, translating federal, state, and local grant guidelines and program regulations into compliant technology that advanced sustainable solutions to homelessness.

Today, we continue to serve as system administrators for many of our largest implementations. As such, we have skin in the game when it comes to full and punctual compliance with HUD data standards and other applicable regulations. 

In our role as the system administrator, we participate actively at both the community and federal levels in following and establishing national best practices for HMIS lead agencies and CoCs. Our hard work has paid off, with a consistent track record of meeting or beating established HUD deadlines, and it’s motivated by our focus on the user experience.

To keep your community ahead of the curve, we staff our company with former CoC and HMIS directors, federal technical assistance providers, and certified legal and privacy experts. Furthermore, Bitfocus strives to be a thought leader in the HMIS field, and we make every effort to proactively engage in the national conversation around HMIS and homeless policy.

We have found that actively engaging with HUD around any proposed changes in the data standards or regulations as early in the process as possible is the best approach to ensuring policy implementations that are mutually successful for all stakeholders. 

As such, to ensure we’re on top of evolving requirements, we actively participate in the HUD Vendor Workgroup and assist directly in the testing and development of data standards and programming specifications to the greatest extent we’re able. We also regularly present at national conferences and events, such as the National Human Services Data Consortium (NHSDC).


Ensuring Compliance With HUD Standards

Below are some steps we take to ensure our customers stay compliant with all federal HMIS specifications and other relevant federal, state, and local requirements.

Demonstrating a commitment to mapping retired HUD data elements and other database updates based on HUD standards:As system administrators ourselves, we understand the importance of publishing HUD and other federal reports on time and in full compliance with published specifications.

We have consistently delivered updates to official data collection screens and reports on or before published HUD deadlines, including the most recent updates to HUD Data Standards. Clarity Human Services customers are uploading and submitting federal reports/exports on a daily basis.


Commitment to support the latest XML and CSV schema defined by HUD:Bitfocus is fully committed to ongoing compliance with all HUD HMIS regulations, including support for the latest HUD XML/CSV schemas and CSV report formats.

Ongoing compliance of the latest HUD data standards, HMIS regulations, and national best practices: Our standard agreements include contractual commitments to maintain full compliance with current data standards, programming specifications, and other HMIS policies and regulations established by HUD and its federal partners. 

Clarity Human Services includes pre-built program templates that take the guesswork out of configuration and cover the data collection and reporting requirements for each HUD and federal partner program type. This helps ensure that all required Universal and Program Specific Data Elements (as well as PDDEs and MEs) are collected fully and accurately. 

Reporting compliance: Clarity Human Services supports all standard HUD and federal partner reports in the Report Library, which hosts more than 175 pre-built reports. 

Customers enjoy the fact that Clarity Human Services is always equipped to carry out HUD reporting with ease. We go a step further to include built-in support documentation within our reports that guide users through the submission/upload process. For example, the APR has built-in documentation for how to upload the report to Sage, the HMIS Reporting Repository (Sage) for HUD reporting. Our Customer Support Team is also standing by to provide assistance as well, including support for the LSA and APR.

Custom Reports: Beyond the pre-built reports, Clarity's custom reporting and ad-hoc Data Analysis Tool enables administrators to quickly create and save reports that match all state and local requirements. Users can then analyze the reports, email them to stakeholders in countless formats, or embed them on dashboards on public-facing websites with sensitive data removed. The Data Analysis Tool allows users to query all data in the system, making it possible to analyze continuum-specific challenges and characteristics.

For example, in 2018, Bitfocus used numerous quality data analysis quality tools and custom reports to evaluate local conditions that appeared to be worsening racial inequalities in a particular community. Duplicate client accounts were merged using the client merge tool, and the pool of clients on the waitlist was refreshed by removing everyone and then re-adding people from a high-priority list. 

The analysis revealed that people of color, specifically Black and Native Americans, were disproportionately represented among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. Through data integration tools and sophisticated analysis, Bitfocus system administrators were able to help this CoC remedy a major flaw in their approach, and identify where these racial disparities were occurring. 

Customers can use the Data Analysis Tool to report on their custom data alongside their HUD data in order to gain valuable insights. Ideally, these insights can be used to guide strategies for addressing homelessness and to procure additional funding by showcasing community-wide data trends.

With several built-in layers to facilitate compliance with HUD regulations, Clarity Human Services and Bitfocus are reliable partners for any CoC hoping to stay ahead of the curve when new HUD data standards are introduced. Schedule a Clarity Human Services consultation today.

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