System Performance Measures

It’s SPM submission season!

What are SPMs?

Each year, our community reviews and submits System Performance Measures (SPMs) for the previous Federal Fiscal Year. SPMs are a nationwide monitoring and evaluation process implemented by HUD. They’re designed to:

  1. Help Continuum of Care (CoC) communities understand how their system is functioning, 
  2. Help CoCs determine if they have deployed the right combination of strategies and resources, and  
  3. Gauge their progress toward the goal of ending homelessness.

In addition, HUD uses this system-level performance information as a competitive element in its annual CoC Program Competition (the NOFA). 


In practice, SPMs are a set of reports generated from HMIS by CoCs, evaluating performance on the seven measures listed above. 

What's ICA's role?

  1. Provide resources and guidance to users to support high-quality SPM data, and  
  2. Support CoCs in engaging with their SPM data.

This type of system evaluation includes assessing whether data quality problems are affecting the accuracy of SPMs our CoCs submit. We help answer the question, “how did our community perform?” 

What's my role?

Unlike other mandated federal projects (the LSA and PIT), most project types participate in SPMs to some degree.  

The following project types, regardless of CoC-funding, are included in SPMs: 

Emergency Shelter (ES), Transitional Housing (TH), Safe Haven (SH), Street Outreach (SO), Rapid Rehousing (RRH), Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH), Permanent Housing (PH).

HMIS users that conduct data entry for these projects, regardless of funding source, will hear from your Regional System Administrators directly with specific data entry issues in need of immediate attention. Block off time on your calendar for data clean-up based on the timeline below. 

What data, over what time period, do you review?

The good news is we have been here before!

In February 2020, we’ll submit SPM data for the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) that just ended (FFY19). FFY19 SPMs (referred to as “current year” in the reports) run from 10/1/2018-9/30/2019 (they include a “prior year” comparison of 10/1/2017-9/30/2018).  

For ES, TH, and PSH projects who participated in the LSA, this reviews the same set of clients. However, SPM focuses on different aspects of the data, looking at how the system moves in concert, rather than household demographics. Additionally, SPMs pull in additional project types that were not reviewed for the LSA. 

What HMIS data elements do SPMs use?

Here are the data elements relevant to SPMs: 

Data Quality Issue 
  • Excessive length of stay and/or unexited clients 
  • 3.917 Living Situation question series
  • Relationship to HoH 
  • Project Start Date (incorrect overlap issues)
  • Annual Assessments incomplete or completed in incorrect date range
  • DOB issues
  • Income & sources subassessment errors
  • Exit Destination errors
  • Missing Housing Move-In Date for PH, PSH, PH-S


How will ICA communicate needed data corrections?

Because the SPMs are vast, involving numerous reports, we have a targeted data corrections approach. Rather than asking all HMIS users to run this set of reports on their own, users will hear directly from their RSA via an email containing the following:

  1. All data issues in need of correction.
  2. Detailed instructions for each correction type.
  3. Instructions for how to run the reports yourself to verify the fixes.

Agencies may receive additional data corrections outreach if more complex data quality cleanup is needed. This cleanup may address issues such as incorrect application of Housing Move-In Date, conflicting Project Type enrollments, and subsequent income errors resulting from updated annual assessments.

What’s the timeline?

SPMs happen fast! Real fast. We recommend blocking time on your calendars NOW for error corrections; they’re coming! Here are some key dates:

By January 24: You will have received a data corrections email from your Regional System Administrator (RSA). They will provide datasets in need of corrections, as well as detailed steps to do so.  

January 24-February 7: Prime time for HMIS users to be working on their corrections. By starting this earlier rather than later, you give RSAs time to respond to your questions and provide thoughtful follow-up.

February 7: Absolute Final DQ Deadline! Agencies have until 5pm to complete all data corrections in HMIS.

ICA MN resources

While you will hear directly from your RSAs with targeted corrections, you can always find instructions for cleaning up your data in the Knowledge Base.

HUD has published visualizations of recent SPM data for CoCs nationwide. ICA MN developed this guide to reading these visualizations and using them to inform decision-making in your community.

Where to learn more

If you’d like to learn more about SPMs, you can visit HUD’s System Performance Measures site. You can also watch HUD’s SPM Training videos, an informative series of videos that explain each measure.