Can Victim Service Providers enter data into HMIS?

Victim Service Providers (VSPs) are prohibited from entering data into HMIS.1  Depending on their funding, VSPs may instead be required to enter data into a comparable database.2  Generally speaking, federal programs such as the Continuum of Care (CoC) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs will require the use of comparable databases, whereas Minnesota’s State-funded programs may allow for alternative reporting methods.3  Minnesota’s HMIS has historically included several Victim Service Providers (VSP), however, as of July 1, 2019, these providers are no longer entering data into HMIS.

While VSPs cannot enter into HMIS, there are some instances where agencies with domestic violence programs can enter into HMIS. This includes agencies with broad missions (such as a CAP agency) that may receive DV Bonus funding through the CoC competition. There are additional considerations if an agency receives funding from the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), or Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) – which in Minnesota are funneled through the Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Programs. These considerations are detailed in HUD’s useful “When to Use a Comparable Database” decision tree.

If you have any questions about how these rules apply to your agency or program, please contact the Helpdesk. Members of Violence Free Minnesota (formerly the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women, or MCBW) may also wish to reach out to their team for more information.

[1] The HEARTH Act defines a victim service provider as “a private nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to provide services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Such term includes rape crisis centers, battered women's shelters, domestic violence transitional housing programs, and other programs.”

[2] Per HUD guidance, “A comparable database must be a relational database that meets all HMIS data standards and the minimum standards of HMIS privacy and security requirements. It also must be able to produce the .csv files required by HUD.” For more information on HMIS data standards as well as privacy and security requirements, please view the resources provided on HUD's HMIS Data Standards page.

[3] As always, if you are uncertain about your funder’s reporting requirements, we strongly suggest that you reach out to your funder directly.

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