Date: February 7, 2013 To: Interested Parties From: Mary Tingerthal, Commissioner Cathy ten Broeke, State Director to Prevent and End Homelessness RE: Developments regarding HMIS Assessment We are writing to update you on some recent good news we have received that we believe will positively impact our collective goal of improving our HMIS system in Minnesota. As you may know, under the HEARTH Act, HUD is requiring every Continuum of Care (CoC) around the country to develop a Coordinated Assessment System to better assess the needs of people coming into our homeless systems in order to more effectively target resources that will assist them in exiting homelessness. A strong Coordinated Assessment System can provide clear access points, an efficient screening and assessment process, real-time knowledge about program inventory and capacity, and referral and waitlist management. Developing strong Coordinated Assessment Systems is requiring most communities around the country to make major changes in their existing homeless response systems. To assist this process, HUD announced technical assistance (TA) resources through the HUD Homelessness Resource Exchange (HRE). The Minnesota Statewide Coordinated Assessment planning group put a TA request in to HUD in November, 2012. Last week, the group received word that HUD is interested in focusing its TA resources on developing Coordinated Assessment in Minnesota with the intention of highlighting Minnesota as an example to generate best practices to share with other communities. Staff had an initial conversation with the highly respected TA providers who will be working with us on our Coordinated Assessment System and explained to them some of the current challenges and opportunities we have with our HMIS system. The TA providers expressed how important it will be for us to address HMIS issues while developing a Coordinated Assessment System and proposed possible HUD TA for an HMIS assessment in Minnesota as well. Possible areas of inclusion in an HMIS Assessment could be both technology and governance issues. Indications are that the individuals who would be assigned to provide the TA in Minnesota are among the most knowledgeable consultants in the country. While we are quite confident that both of these areas of TA will move forward together, we will have the official word from HUD in 2-3 weeks. We know that there are a number of groups that are working on technology and governance issues around HMIS and Coordinated Assessment Systems, so we wanted to share this news with you as soon as possible, even though the details are not yet final. We will keep you informed as soon as we hear more details. Our hope is that the HUD will help us to accomplish much of the needed work, which we can then supplement and link with other related projects. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns about this opportunity.