The Calgary HMIS Initiative

What is the Calgary HMIS?

Calgary has a locally administered Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) - an electronic database that collects and securely stores information about Calgary's homeless population throughout the System of Care.

What is the value of an HMIS?

On any given night, nearly 3,200 Calgarians are experiencing homelessness (Winter 2012 Count). Homelessness involves many factors, including the high cost of living, lack of affordable housing, a highly competitive and limited job market, mental illness, addictions, rental history, criminal background, neglect and domestic violence. Calgary’s HMIS is an attempt to frame these determinants within a local context, to better understand who experiences homelessness, how the homeless population changes over time, and what types of services are needed to help turn these trends around.

What does the HMIS do?

The HMIS is currently being implemented across Calgary's System of Care and will allow us to:

  • collect system-wide, standardized data for accurate, real-time reporting on the total number of homeless in Calgary, the length and causes of their homelessness, and their demographic characteristics and needs;
  • better understand people's longitudinal homeless experiences by tracking the services they receive throughout the duration of their homeless episode(s);
  • enable agencies to better meet clients' needs by improving service co-ordination, determining client outcomes, providing more informed program referrals and reducing their administrative burden; 
  • improve research for evidence-based decision making, such as program design and policy proposals; and
  • help shorten the length of time people are homeless and direct them through the system of care more efficiently and with more understanding.

Funders

Thank you to:

Anonymous Donor

The Calgary Foundation Community Grant

Government of Alberta, Ministry of Human Services

NOVA Chemicals Corporation

TransCanada Corporation