Santa Clara HMIS News, October 2018

Welcome to the Santa Clara County HMIS Newsletter! In this edition you'll find the following:

Meet the Team!

We recently welcomed a new member to our Santa Clara County HMIS System Administration team, and thought we’d take the opportunity to make sure you know the whole team. You receive emails from us, you see us at meetings and trainings, maybe it would be nice to know a bit more about us!

Jenn Ong leads the SCC HMIS System Administration team and has a background in data analysis, report, and compliance management. She worked for many years at a Bay Area nonprofit before joining Bitfocus. Her favorite part of working at Bitfocus is seeing the great work that the community is doing towards ending homelessness, and using HMIS data to help support those efforts. Outside of work, she likes playing board games, traveling, and has recently gotten more interested in escape rooms.

Alison Wilson is originally from England and has been living in the US for over 20 years. She started her career in electronics development and after taking some years off to raise children returned to work in a non profit agency, managing programs, reporting and doing data analysis. She thinks its rewarding to be able to use data for something worth while.  In her free time she enjoys hiking, gardening and quilting.


Lesly Soto Bright is the newest member of the system administration team. She comes with an extensive background in database management having worked with various First 5 agencies and lastly a Head Start Program as a Data Coordinator. Her expertise is in database set-up, training end users and report and/or data analysis. Lesly has a B.S. degree in Health Sciences/Health Education and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She started off in Communicable Diseases and patient/client outreach. She enjoys being on both sides of the spectrum, having provided client level services and now helping agencies track services and data utilization decision making regarding program goals. When she is not working, Lesly enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, shopping and baking. Now that her youngest is out of diapers, she hopes to become a dog parent.

Adam Siegenthaler has several years of software administration with a background in various legal specialities and financial disciplines. Starting off as a legal services volunteer doing manual client data entry to a Agency Lead at the largest homeless service provider in Sonoma County, Adam has experienced the importance of a user-friendly software, informative training materials, supporting provider efforts, and accurate outcomes reporting to the health and success of a system like HMIS. His favorite part of working with Bitfocus is sharing his expertise in collaboration with homeless service providers and administrations to develop and maintain systems that equally benefit both the customer and the provider. In his free time Adam enjoys spending time with his friends and family in Northern California.

The four of us work in collaboration with many other Bitfocus teams to meet the needs of our community, from collaborating with our software developers to create new, useful system features, to conducting data analysis and HUD reporting in collaboration with the data services team. In addition, our team continues to develop trainings, guides, and resources based on your feedback, and customized to the needs of local users and agencies. We look forward to the ongoing collaboration!

Data Quality Fields: What They Are and Why They Matter

When you create a new client in Clarity Human Services, you're asked to fill out three data quality fields:

Each of these fields has five possible answers:

  • A "full" value option for the field in question
  • A "partial" value option for the field in question
  • "Client doesn't know"
  • "Client refused"
  • "Data not collected"

They allow you to indicate how reliable the data in these fields are, as well as to indicate when a client is anonymous in the system.

When to Use the "Full" Option

Choose "Full SSN/Name/DOB Reported" when complete SSN, name, and/or data of birth information is provided to you by the client (in the case of name, choose "full" so long as you have complete first and last name). Choosing these options means that, to your knowledge, the information contained in these fields is accurate.

When to Use the "Partial" Option

The "partial" options vary depending on the field in question.

  • Approximate or partial SSN reported - Choose this option when you're documenting only part of a client's social security security (regardless of the reason). Any part of the SSN that is unknown or withheld should be entered as zeros. Do not use this option if you are entering all zeros for a client's SSN.
  • Partial, street name, or code name reported - Choose this option when a partial, short, or nickname is being entered instead of the full first name, or, in the case of outreach programs, when a street name or code name was used for street outreach clients at initial intake and until the client was able to supply their full legal name. This is also the option to use when a client does not consent to have identifying information stored in the system.
  • Approximate or partial DOB reported - Choose this option when the client cannot remember their full or exact date of birth, but is able to recall their age or approximate age. You may enter '01' for an unknown day or month. This is also the option to use when a client does not consent to have identifying information stored in the system.

When to Use "Client doesn't know"

Choose "Client doesn't know" when a client is unable to provide their SSN, name and/or date of birth. In the case of SSN, you should also choose "Client doesn't know" when the client does not have a social security number or when a client does not consent to have identifying information stored in the system.

When to Use "Client refused"

Choose "Client refused" when a client refuses to provide their SSN, name and/or date of birth. In the case of SSN, all zeros should be entered when "Client refused" is chosen.

When to Use "Data not collected"

Choose "Data not collected" when the client was not asked to provide an answer for the relevant field.

Why Do These Data Quality Fields Matter?

Data Completeness

When it comes to reporting on data completeness, "Client doesn't know," "Client refused," and "Data not collected" all count as missing data. Making sure that the correct data quality field is selected, especially when partial data is provided, can help reduce missing rates and improve data completeness.

Helping Other HMIS Users

Correct data quality fields help other users understand how trustworthy client data is. With so many clients in the system, it can sometimes be hard to tell whether the client you find is the client you're looking for, especially if they have a common name, or only partial SSN and DOB information provided. When the correct data quality fields are chosen, they can indicate to other users that yes, this particular client's name truly is Jane Doe, it's not just a partial or code name.

System Matches and Merges

When importing data into HMIS or merging client data, Clarity Human Services needs to be able to determine whether clients match other clients, and the data quality fields are key to determining whether data fields are trustworthy. Even if a client's data seems obviously complete, if the data quality fields state the the client refused, the system has to assume the data cannot be reliably matched. The reverse is also true. If data is clearly untrue, but the data quality fields claim that it is full and complete data, the client will be matched to other client who are likely not matches at all.

HMIS Support and Training: Where to Get the Help You Need

Whether you are a daily user of the HMIS or only log in a once a per week to run reports, we want to make sure you have access to the training and support you need to get the most out of Clarity Human Services while understanding the relevant policies and procedures. Your HMIS System Administration Team provides a variety of training opportunities and resources to meet your needs.

I'm brand new, or I need help with the basics

The Clarity Human Services General Training is required for all new users of the system, but it's also a great refresher for folks who've been using the system for a while. Because it covers so many features, it can be hard to remember everything when you're just starting. If you attend again, you might discover features you missed the first time around.

The Clarity Human Services Help Center is also an excellent resource when you need basic questions answered, like:

I have a question about Coordinated Entry

Check out the Coordinated Entry Toolkit on our HMIS website. You can also view our quick tips videos, which take you through key elements of the coordinated entry features of Clarity Human Services:

I have an UPLIFT question

You can find our UPLIFT training and additional resources on the UPLIFT section of our HMIS website.

I have a question about data analysis or querying my data

If you have access to the Data Analysis Tab for ad hoc reporting using Looker and you have additional questions, visit our training schedule webpage (scroll down to "Register for Clarity Data Analysis Training") for access to the recorded webinar and to sign up for Data Analysis Office Hours.

I think I'm due to renew my annual HMIS Privacy training

The current training is available on our training schedule webpage (scroll down to "Register for SCC HMIS Privacy Training"), but a new training and training process is coming soon! All users will need to recertify once the new training becomes available - look out for updates on this in the near future.

I just need to know where to find forms and documents

Check out the Client Forms page on our HMIS website for links to commonly used forms and documents.

My whole program or agency needs help!

We can come to you! The System Administration Team provides on-site trainings and technical assistance on an as needed basis. Contact us to schedule a time that works for you and your staff.

I have a question these resources couldn't answer

If in doubt, the Help Desk is always a great place to start. You can reach them during regular business hours by email (, phone (408.596.5866 x2) or chat via the Chat icon on any page on the HMIS website.

Report Spotlight: [CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline Report

[CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline provides a graphical timeline representation of a client's history of HMIS enrollments. It indicates the months in which a client’s homelessness or housed status is documented through HMIS enrollment data, and months in which homelessness cannot be determined through HMIS enrollment data. Not only does this report show you an accessible picture of your client's HMIS history, but it can be useful when documenting chronic homelessness!

The [CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline report can help answer questions such as:

  • Will this client likely qualify as chronically homeless based on what is currently in HMIS?
  • How many months in the past 3 years has the client been enrolled in a project that demonstrates that they were homeless?
  • What programs might help with chronic homeless documentation for this client?
  • What parts of this client's history of homelessness need further inquiry?

This report contains a lot of useful information with regard to a client's homeless status in HMIS. Be sure to check out the report guide for more information on all the included details.

To run the [CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline:

  1. Log-in and navigate to the Client Profile of the person for which you would like to generate the report
  2. Click the printer icon in the right-hand sidebar to access Client Reports, next to the calendar and security shield icons
  3. On the Client Reports list, click ‘Run’ next to the [CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline
  4. Select the desired format (Web or PDF)
  5. Click "Ok" to run report

Need more information about your client's history of homelessness?

You may want to use the [CLNT-127] Homeless Status Timeline in conjunction with its companion report: [CLNT-128] Client Enrollment Details. The Details report provides information on client responses to questions about their history of homelessness as well as move-in and destination at exit information. These details can help you work with clients to determine additional periods of homelessness or housing in their history.

Be sure to check out the Report Reference Tool!

The Client Homeless Timeline and Enrollment Details Report Reference Tool explains in detail how to interpret each element of each report referenced above. Want to know what all the notations mean? Check out the guide! 

Upcoming Events


The November Data Literacy Workshop for Agency Managers and the HMIS Agency Administrator meeting will be held back-to-back on Thursday, Nov 1:

  • 1:30-2:30pm: Planning for Data Requests
  • 2:30-3:30pm: HMIS Agency Administrator Meeting

Location: Sobrato Conference Center, 600 Valley Way, Room 6, Milpitas, CA 95035
Dial-in option here

Coordinated Assessment Work Group | Thursday, Nov 8, 1-2:30pm. | Location: The Health Trust, 3180 Newberry Dr, Suite 200, San Jose, CA  95118

CoC Training: Equal Access & Cultural Competency | Tuesday, Nov 13, 8:30-11:30am. | Click here to register
Note: In order to allow more agencies to access this training, registration will be limited to a maximum of SIX participants per organization. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis and can be requested by contacting Sasha at

Dates and locations for all 2018 Work Group and Agency Administrator meetings are listed on the OSH website.

HMIS and VI-SPDAT Trainings:

Data Literacy Institute Workshops:

Agency Staff Track:
  • How to Request Data | Nov 7, 1-2:30pm | Register: In person or Dial-in
  • Statistics, Charts, and Graphs | Feb 12, 9:30-11:30am | Register: In person only
Agency Manager Track:
Questions? Your HMIS Administrator is happy to help.
Phone: 408.596.5866 x2

© 2018 Bitfocus, Inc., or its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
Clarity Human Services is a product of Bitfocus.


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