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Number of Times Homeless
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To identify the length of length of stay in a situation just prior to project start for all adults and heads of households. You count all the different times the client has been on the streets, in emergency shelters, or in safe havens in the past three years, including today. This data element is to be used with other information to identify whether a client appears to meet the criteria for chronic homelessness at various points of enrollment (i.e., at the point of project entry, at a point during a project enrollment, or at any point over the course of a specified reporting period.) For additional information, please refer to the HMIS Data Standard Manual.


Data Element 3.917 Number of Times Homeless 


In this Knowledge Base article, we will take a closer look at Field 4 within the Prior Living Situation Data Element, Number of times the client has been on the streets, in ES, or SH in the past three years. For a full list of responses, please refer to HMIS Data Standard Manual.


  • Project Type Applicability: All Programs - All Components
  • Data Collected About: Head of Household and Adults 
  • Collection Point: Project Start
  • Screens in HMIS: Enrollment Screen 



When enrolling a client into a project, the Number of times the client has been on the streets, in ES, or SH in the past three years will be recorded within the enrollment screen. The response to this data collection point should be including today, count all the different episodes client was in a homeless situation in the last 3 years, where there are full breaks in between (i.e., breaks that are 90 days or more in an institution or 7 nights or more in permanent or transitional housing).


Tips for collecting Number of Times Homeless

  • Review the HMIS Data Standard Manual for a full list of available answers for the client and a description of homeless situation that will help identify the number of times.
  • If this is the first time the client has been homeless in the past three years then the response is One Time. If the client has a prior time on the street 6 months ago then that would count as Two Times. 


The following video has information on this field and where you can find this information in HMIS Data Standard Manual.


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