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Bright Spot: Simcoe County Reaffirms Quality By-Name Data in HIFIS 

June 28, 2024 - 2:45 pm / News

In March 2024, the County of Simcoe reaffirmed their commitment to improving their homelessness response system and helping improve responsiveness to homelessness in their community by reconfirming the Quality By-Name Data (QBND) in the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS).

This reset provided a more accurate representation of homelessness in the community and a new foundation to measure progress in reducing homelessness. The new baseline, verified through Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness’s (CAEH) reconfirmation process, aligns with Reaching Home requirements and supports the County’s ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness. 

HIFIS, Canada’s primary Homelessness Management Information System (HMIS), was designed to collect, report, and manage homelessness data in real-time. The County of Simcoe uses HIFIS to maintain current and accurate information of people at-risk of and experiencing homelessness across their region. This data enables the County to a better understand individual support needs to obtain and retain housing, as well as identify and address system gaps.    

Here’s how they achieved this accomplishment and what it means for the future. 

The Journey to Reconfirmation 

Simcoe County Reaffirms Quality By-Name Data in HIFIS Early Adopters of HIFIS   
The County of Simcoe was an early adopter of HIFIS and transitioning their By-Name Data (BND) required a comprehensive overhaul of policies and processes. This was a crucial step in aligning with Reaching Home requirements and improving data collection and quality, while also helping to support those experiencing homelessness in a more effective manner. 

Collaboration and Partnership   
Achieving Quality By-Name Data status was a true team effort, with support from senior leadership, governance committees, Built for Zero-Canada, and service providers. Everyone played a role in the successful transition by engaging in additional training, implementing a data quality schedule, and monitoring usage. 

“Realizing this achievement involved a collaborative approach,” said Michelle Marchand, the County of Simcoe’s Program Supervisor, Community. “As we continue building up the homes, lives and hope of our residents and community, we will continue to work together to improve the usage and accuracy of this important data.” 

Data Quality Schedule and Improvements   
A significant part of the reconfirmation process was implementing a robust data quality schedule. This schedule ensured that data remained accurate, current, and reflective of real-world conditions. Regular data audits and continuous improvements help Simcoe County maintain high-quality person-level data. 

HIFIS Benefits for the County of Simcoe   
Fully transition into HIFIS provided several key benefits, including: 

  • Centralized information reduces duplication – centralized data reduces redundant intakes, updates, and case notes. 
  • Improved accessibility – the web-based platform makes data accessible from multiple locations and to multiple service providers, cutting down on the work required to keep the data up to date and facilitating better coordination of care.
  • Real-time information – HIFIS enables real-time updates, across multiple devices, for more accurate decision-making. 
  • Custom reports – allows for ability to generate tailored reports, tracking progress and informing strategic planning. 

“HIFIS has allowed us to connect people with the appropriate services in a timely, effective, and efficient manner,” added Michelle Marchand. 

What’s Next for the County of Simcoe? 

Continued Improvements 
Re-achieving Quality By-Name Data status in HIFIS is just the beginning. The County of Simcoe continues to improve its data quality and usage by rolling out new HIFIS modules. These new modules will help the community capture even more detailed information, which will further refining their understanding of homelessness and optimize their Coordinated Access System. 

Community Engagement and Support   
Engaging more service providers and stakeholders in HIFIS will be key to maintaining data quality. The County of Simcoe will also focus on continued training and support for existing users to ensure consistent data entry and quality.  

Optimizing the Coordinated Access System   
With an accurate and reflective baseline, the County of Simcoe has enhanced its ability to measure progress and identify gaps in their homelessness response system. This optimization will lead to more targeted interventions and improved support for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. 


The County of Simcoe’s successful reconfirmation of Quality By-Name Data in HIFIS is a testament to its dedication to improving their homelessness response system. By leveraging the power of partnerships, implementing a data quality schedule, and resetting the chronic active homeless baseline, the County has laid a strong foundation for future progress. This story serves as an inspiration for other communities, showing that achieving and maintaining Quality By-Name Data takes time, collaboration, and unwavering commitment. 

“By working together, we can continue building up our communities, ensuring that all those in need can access to the services they need when they need them,” Marchand concluded.