Message From HUD on World AIDS Day 2017

On November 1st, 211OC held an HIV/AIDS Sensitivity training hosted by the AIDS Services Foundation. The content of this training will eventually become an optional training that HMIS Users can complete on our training site. Please check out today’s message from HUD on World AIDS Day 2017!

On behalf of the teams in the Offices of Special Needs Assistance Programs (SNAPS) and HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH), we wanted to take a moment to commemorate World AIDS Day 2017, and highlight how critical safe, stable housing is for the health and well-being of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Countries around the globe observe World AIDS Day annually on December 1. It provides an opportunity for all of us to come together in the fight against HIV/AIDS, stand in solidarity with PLWHA, and remember those who have died.

Access to safe, stable housing has been a major issue facing PLWHA since the beginning of the epidemic. It is estimated that approximately half of the 1.2 million PLWHA in the U.S. will experience homelessness or housing instability at some point following their diagnosis. Economic disadvantages, episodes of poor health, and co-occurring substance use and mental health needs often make it difficult for many PLWHA to secure or maintain housing. HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination add additional barriers to accessing and maintaining housing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this week on HIV testing in the U.S. According to this report, nearly 40,000 Americans received an HIV diagnosis in 2015, and 1 out of 2 of them had already been living with HIV for more than 3 years before being diagnosed. 1 out of 4 had been living with the virus for 7 years or longer. For Americans experiencing homelessness and poverty, ensuring access to HIV testing and services is critical in ending the HIV epidemic in our country.

According to the CDC, black, gay, and bisexual men are more impacted by HIV than any other group in the U.S. Stigma, homophobia, and discrimination put gay and bisexual men at risk for many physical ailments and mental health issues, and can affect whether they seek and receive health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services. In addition, transgender women are at high risk for HIV. Per the U.S. Transgender Survey, 19.0% of black transgender women were living with HIV in 2015, 60 times the rate of HIV infection in the general U.S. population (0.3%). Many transgender people face stigma, discrimination, social rejection, and exclusion that prevents them from accessing health care, education, employment, and housing. These factors affect health and well-being and increase the risk of acquiring HIV.

We know that homelessness and housing instability are directly linked to poor health outcomes for PLWHA. PLWHA who lack stable housing are more likely to delay or drop out of HIV care and less likely to receive HIV medications than PLWHA who are stably housed. For homeless and unstably housed PLWHA, evidence suggests that housing assistance is an effective HIV health and public health intervention. Over time, receipt of housing assistance has been found to be among the strongest predictors of accessing and maintaining HIV medical care. Housing interventions improve stability and connection to care for PLWHA by providing an essential foundation for participation in lifesaving HIV care and treatment. When PLWHA participate in medical care and take medications as prescribed, they can achieve viral suppression, meaning the amount of HIV virus in the blood is reduced to a very low level.  By achieving viral suppression, PLWHA can stay healthy, live longer, and effectively eliminate the risk of sexually transmitting HIV to a partner.

All levels of government, as well as private entities, play an important role in preventing and ending homelessness for PLWHA, and our partnerships help to maximize all available resources. We encourage providers receiving funding from various HUD programs (e.g. Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS, Continuum of Care, and Emergency Solutions Grants) and non-HUD programs to continue strengthening local partnerships to better prevent and end homelessness for PLWHA in their communities. Local partners should work to better identify homeless and unstably housed PLWHA and link them to appropriate housing resources, medical care, and other services.

SNAPS and OHH will continue to identify opportunities for cross-program messaging, guidance, and technical assistance as we stay focused on our core mission of ensuring that those who are some of the most vulnerable in our nation – individuals and families experiencing homelessness and those living with HIV/AIDS – are served by programs with the best outcomes and highest standards of service.

Thank you,

 

Norm Suchar
Director, Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs

Rita Flegel
Director, Office of HIV/AIDS Housing

Reactivating HMIS Enrollments

Adsystech has told 211OC that they will begin reactivating enrollments that HMIS Staff forwards to them. To have your reactivation request completed, you must submit a completed version of this spreadsheet (link will open as an Excel download) to the HMIS Help Desk.

Please list all reactivation requests by household as shown on the spreadsheet. Remember that reactivating the head of household DOES NOT reactivate the entire household. All clients must be listed if you need their enrollment reactivated.

NOTE: You MUST include the client’s exit date in this spreadsheet when you submit it to the HMIS Help Desk. Adsystech’s reactivation WILL DELETE ALL EXIT DATES FROM REACTIVATED ENROLLMENTS. This data will NO LONGER EXIST in HMIS upon reactivation. You will need to enter the client’s exit date after you have completed your corrections and proceed to exit them again. It is extremely important that you include the client’s exit date in the spreadsheet so that you have a copy of it to enter into HMIS upon exit. Any spreadsheets that do not contain exit dates will not be forwarded to Adsystech to avoid the loss of exit date data.

Since Adsystech requires the first and last names of all enrollments you must password protect the spreadsheet (click link for instructions on password protecting an Excel file and only follow the instructions under the heading “Encrypt an Excel file”) that you send to the HMIS Help Desk and call the HMIS Help Desk at 714-589-2360 to give us the password. Please do not call individual HMIS Staff members with passwords. Tickets entered to the HMIS Help Desk with a spreadsheet that is not password protected will receive an auto-response letting you know that you sent unencrypted personal identifying data and the ticket will be deleted to protect client privacy.

Thank you very much for your patience during this time

PSDEs No Longer Required For Non-Federally Funded Projects

Due to changes in the recently released 2017 HMIS Data Standards, Program Specific Data Elements are no longer required for projects that do not receive federal funding (i.e., CoC, ESG, SSVF, RHY, HOPWA, VASH, or PATH). As a result, the HUD Assessment used at entry in Version 6 of HMIS will only appear for projects that receive federal funding. Non-federally funded projects are only required to answer the CoC Assessment at entry, which contains Universal Data Elements that all projects are still required to collect.

We are still working with Adsystech to make the Exit Question assessments visible for all projects.Once available, this assessment will not contain any Program Specific Data Elements for any non-federally funded projects.

If you have any questions about this change, please submit a ticket to the Help Desk.

HMIS Version 6 Webinar

211OC will be holding a HMIS version 6 webinar on Wednesday, October 4th, from 11:00 – 12:00.  Please use this link to join, and please call in so you can ask questions during the call.  Please also plan to have HMIS version 6 open at the start of the call, as we would like users to follow along on their computer during the call.  If you are unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and posted on our website.

HMIS Part 3 Training is No Longer Required!

As of September 27th, 2017, 211OC is no longer requiring HMIS Part 3 Training! We have decided to discontinue this training as part of an effort to reduce your burden of administrative tasks that must be completed in order to access HMIS.

In the next few days we will be sending out an HMIS User Survey that will include, among other topics, an opportunity for you to let us know what optional trainings would be most beneficial to you.

We would also like to remind you that our online trainings are meant to serve as an ongoing resource for you to reference while working in HMIS. You can log in to your training.ochmis.org account at any time and review all of the training materials you have completed. We hope this helps your workflow!

Please see the new HMIS User training flowchart here.

Thanks!

Important – HMIS Version 6 Training

All Agency Administrators received an email from the HMIS Help Desk on September 19th regarding the new required training for all HMIS Users in preparation for a new version of HMIS implemented by Adsystech.

Agencies have varying dates of Version 6 implementation and as such deadlines for completing this new training are different, please check with your Agency Administrator in order to confirm the deadline for your agency.

All HMIS Users must complete this training by the date their agency is scheduled to be rolled over to Version 6 due to the new interface in Version 6.

Access the training here! We appreciate your patience during this implementation as we know this impacted schedule is tough.

September 2017 User Meeting Webinar

We are holding a User Meeting Webinar this month on Wednesday September 13th from 10:00 to 11:00AM. Use this link to join the meeting next week!

Our agenda for this meeting is as follows:

  1. HMIS Vendor Update
  2. Adsystech Version 6 Implementation
  3. HIC Update
  4. Data Standards Changes Training
  5. LGBT Sensitivity Training Online?
  6. Data Quality Meetings
  7. Question and Answer Time

Please take this opportunity to ask the HMIS Team any questions you may have, we love haring from you!

This meeting is not required, but we highly encourage at least one representative from each agency to attend.

There is no need to register or RSVP for the meeting, simply click this link on the 13th.

Check out past meeting minutes and PowerPoints here.

LGBT Sensitivity Training Wrap Up

On June 30th, 2017, 211OC hosted an LGBT Sensitivity Training session presented by the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and learned a lot about how to best serve our LGBTQ clients experiencing homelessness. Please feel free to look through the slides that were presented today to get a feel for what we discussed.

In a nutshell, here are some best practices that we went over:

  • Service providers should affirm and accept clients’ identities without invasive questioning or invalidation. This lines up with HUD’s guidance for data elements 3.4 Race, 3.5 Ethnicity, and 3.6 Gender which specify in the HMIS Data Standards manual that “staff observations should not be used to collect information” on race, gender, or ethnicity.
  • In order to foster a safe environment, our agencies should be actively affirming of LGBTQ clients. Our presenters told us that LGBTQ clients are very likely to check out a provider’s website before accessing services, and that seeing a small rainbow icon or some other indicator  on the website that the agency is a safe place for LGBTQ clients makes them feel more comfortable approaching the agency for services. LGBTQ clients generally do not assume they will be treated with compassion so adding an affirming icon or banner to your website is a great way to let LGBTQ clients know they are welcome before they take that big step first of contacting an agency to ask for help. Prominent LGBTQ affirming signage in your physical offices or any place clients might seek help are also very helpful.
  • Laws and regulations do not provide LGBTQ clients with complete protections. For example, although same sex marriage is legal federally, some states and counties continue to resist granting LGBTQ people marriage licenses. Just because anti-discrimination laws exist does not mean that discrimination against LGBTQ people has disappeared. In order to help enforce these legal protections, it is important that agencies have anti-discrimination policies in place and make supporting LGBTQ clients an ongoing conversation inside the agency.
  • If you have questions, the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach is happy to help! In the very last slide of the presentation you will find contact information for today’s presenter, Joel Gemino. You can reach Joel by email at jgemino@centerlb.org or by phone at (562) 434-4455 ex. 227. Joel is happy to help any service provider who has questions or concerns about serving LGBTQ clients.

Thanks so much to everyone who was able to make it to this training!

FREE LGBT Sensitivity Training Scheduled for 6/30/17

211OC will host a FREE LGBT Sensitivity Training for all Orange County homeless service providers on Friday June 30th from 10AM to 12PM. A representative from the Long Beach LGBT Center will conduct the training which will consist of a presentation and Q&A session.

Where? CASA Training Room (Upstairs) 1505 E 17th. St Santa Ana, CA 92705
When? Friday, 6/30/17, from 10AM to 12PM.

We are hoping at least one representative from each of our agencies can attend this important training. According to HUD “[m]embers of the LGBT community are more likely to become homeless, and once homeless, more likely to endure discrimination and harassment that extends their homelessness.” We want Orange County’s CoC to be a safe and welcoming place for all LGBT clients experiencing homelessness, and we hope that this training will help us serve this marginalized population better!

There is no need to RSVP for this event, please just show up ready to learn!

OC LGBT History Fun Fact: In April 1972, Costa Mesa resident John Rule installed a pink mail box outside his house to mark the founding of what eventually became the Orange County Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center, one of the first in the nation. Because it was not safe to advertise the purpose of Rule’s house, the pink mailbox let community members know that they were in the right place.

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