Media Release- Another Calgary First in Ending Homelessness: Homeless Management Information System Vendor Selected

November 18, 2010

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2010) - Calgary agencies reached a milestone in ending homelessness by selecting a vendor to develop a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which will lead to a more co-ordinated system of care for homeless Calgarians.

Led by the Calgary Homeless Foundation (CHF) and using a software application developed by Bowman Systems LLC,more than 25 Calgary-based agencies will start working with the system in 2011. Once introduced, Calgary will be the first city in Canada to have an HMIS.

"In the early years of the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, our focus was to relieve the pressure on the homeless-serving system and prove the philosophy of 'Housing First,'" said Tim Richter, CHF President and CEO. "Now we must co-ordinate the homeless-serving system as the way to better serve clients, get better data, find efficiencies and measure progress. We can't do this without the HMIS system."

In the United States where HMIS systems have benefited from 20 years of development, they are now being used by more than 400 communities to co-ordinate service delivery. These HMIS systems are web-based software applications that record and store client-level information on the characteristics and service needs of individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. By gathering consistent information, homeless-serving agencies can apply common assessment tools to appropriately match a client with services, co-ordinate and monitor assistance provided across agencies and to ultimately identify where there are opportunities to improve the overall system of care.

In Calgary, the CHF began the process to implement an HMIS in January 2010. An experienced consulting firm,Canavan Associates, was hired to assist in developing and implementing an HMIS in Calgary. In March of this year, an HMIS Advisory Committee made up of more than 40 members of Calgary's homeless serving sector, including service recipients, was established. This Committee conducted a comprehensive "request for proposal process," which resulted in Bowman Systems LLC being chosen as the provider for the software application. Bowman Systems LLC is a well-established and proven information company, supporting more than 70 per cent of the HMIS market in the U.S. This is the first information system they will provide specifically for homeless serving agencies in Canada.

"We are excited and honored to work with the Calgary community to make a difference in the lives of those who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness," said Robert Bowman, President, Bowman Systems. "The CHF team demonstrated a commitment to the community by performing a comprehensive selection process. In addition, they possess a clear sense of how our information system software ServicePoint™ will be used to inform stakeholders how best to provide service and eliminate homelessness in Calgary. We truly look forward to this long-term relationship."

Already 28 agencies have signed on to participate in the HMIS program, and as many as 80 agencies are anticipated to be on board within the next three years. The Committee is working with The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta to ensure information in the HMIS is protected and best practices are followed to protect, in all respects, the privacy of the individuals served.

"Privacy is paramount," said Steven, who was experiencing homelessness when he was asked to participate in the Advisory Committee. The 42-year-old restaurant worker explained, "You don't want to be repeating your story all the time. It's all so personal."

Extensive staff training on how to use this system, especially the privacy policy and procedures to ensure confidentiality, will be required by all agencies using HMIS. The Calgary Dream Centre will be co-ordinating this training for the next three years.

Bowman Systems

Bowman Systems is a leader in information management for the social services industry. Bowman serves over 40,000 users in 48 states and provinces throughout the U.S. and Canada, including statewide HMIS implementations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. With a consistent practice for well over a decade of working closely with this large and varied human services provider constituency, Bowman Systems partners with its customers through product development workgroups, regional customer conferences, personalized support specialist assignments, on-site consulting, and research and statistical analysis services. For more information, visit the website at www.bowmansystems.com.

Calgary Homeless Foundation

The Calgary Homeless Foundation leads the implementation of Calgary's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. Issued in January 2008, Calgary's 10 Year Plan was created by the Calgary Committee to End Homelessness, a community-based, multi-stakeholder, leadership group who issued the Plan and selected the Foundation to implement the Plan. The Foundation is moving forward on Calgary's 20 Year Plan in partnership with the many homeless serving agencies, the private sector, our government partners, the faith community, other foundations and all Calgarians to end homelessness in Calgary once and for all. Calgarians wishing to contribute by making donations or volunteering are encouraged to visit the CHF website: www.calgaryhomeless.com.