The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a local information technology system that is used by homeless service providers to collect confidential client-level data including demographics, history of homelessness and services accessed, and service needs.
As the lead agency that administers the HMIS, we are building a team that values a shared focus on monitoring and evaluating the performance of the homelessness system overall and individual projects. Our HMIS team and the data they collect and analyze can help shape new initiatives and inform changes to existing programs working to end homelessness.
We sat down with Kai to learn more about him and what is ahead for his role as HMIS Coordinator.
What will you be doing at SSF?
I’ve been hired as an HMIS Coordinator. I’m working closely with Tina and Brandi to support HMIS end users, build new agencies and programs, and train new users on how to use our HMIS software.
What motivated you to join SSF?
I spent the last four years directly working with homeless veterans, as a Housing Navigator, a Case Manager, and most recently the Program Coordinator for the Sacramento office of the Berkeley Food and Housing Project. In those years, I kept discovering new ways that HMIS amazed and inspired me as a tool for seeing patterns in the population we were serving. The data provided so much insight into our work and I quickly became the HMIS guru of the office. When thinking about my next career move, my first choice was to join SSF and become one of the unseen HMIS Superheroes, supporting all of the community agencies who are working to help pull folks off of the streets and back on their feet. As a direct service provider, I was helping hundreds of homeless people. At SSF, my work is making a positive difference for thousands of homeless people.
What do you wish people knew about homelessness?
I wish people knew about easy and effective ways they can personally make a difference. A lot of people truly care about the homelessness problem, but it feels so overwhelming that they don’t know where to start. I also wish that more people who are experiencing housing instability knew about the amazing programs out there that can help them stabilize before they end up on the streets or sleeping in their cars.
What are you excited to do in your new role?
HMIS can do so much more than I ever knew as an end user. I’m excited to share my passion for data with direct service providers. I want to help them understand how the data they create translates directly into funding and ultimately real changes for the clients we serve. It’s easy to get lost in the never-ending need that comes from working directly with clients. I look forward to understanding the HMIS system well enough to provide tools that make the jobs of direct service providers easier and more effective.
We are excited to have Kai join our growing team to enhance the HMIS Department and apply his end user experience into the HMIS backend activities. Make sure to join our HMIS office hours every Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as access additional resources and support.