Homeless Individuals and Families Information System

The Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) is a comprehensive data collection and case management system designed to better understand what is happening in your community and to work collaboratively.

Under Reaching Home, communities will need to adopt HIFIS as their local management information system if they do not already have a comparable Homelessness Management Information System in place.

National Homelessness Information Initiative

To inform the National Homelessness Information Initiative, which seeks to strengthen national understanding of homelessness in Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada collects, analyzes and reports on data through HIFIS, a Homelessness Management Information System.

Personal data collected through HIFIS is encrypted before it is exported to Employment and Social Development Canada in order to protect the privacy of clients. Data collected through HIFIS supports the creation of key reports on the national state of homelessness, such as the National Shelter Study. Other examples of National Homelessness Information Initiative reports include:

Organizations that host HIFIS must enter into an End-User License Agreement and a Data Provision Agreement with Employment and Social Development Canada. The End-User License Agreement is the contract between Employment and Social Development Canada, the owner of HIFIS, and the community using the software. The Data Provision Agreement outlines the requirements for data collection, privacy and security for organizations that are using HIFIS for the provision of data to Employment and Social Development Canada. It also outlines the Government of Canada's responsibilities and obligations related to the use and protection of data. HIFIS users must adhere to the privacy security standards respecting personal information in their respective province/territory.

By using HIFIS, users across the country become part of a growing network that contribute to advancing the knowledge and understanding of homelessness in Canada.


HIFIS supports communities by allowing multiple service providers to access real-time homelessness data and refer clients to the services at the right time. HIFIS allows the service providers to collaborate through a community-wide system that can be accessed from web-enabled devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. HIFIS:

  • supports client intake, program assignment and case management
  • assists with housing inventory and matching
  • offers pre-built and evidence-based custom reports
  • includes communication tools to support collaboration
  • provides privacy and confidentiality controls to protect data, and
  • allows transfer of data to support reporting, analysis, research and decision-making

HIFIS benefits clients, service providers, and the homelessness sector by:

  • enabling clients’ assessment, prioritization and referral to services at the right time without requiring clients to repeat their stories multiple times
  • empowering service providers with reporting tools to increase understanding of local homelessness trends and needs, and
  • contributing to a comprehensive portrait of homelessness in Canada, informing evidenced-based policy and decision-making

HIFIS offers modules and functionalities that supports day-to-day operational activities:

Flexibility and customization of HIFIS allow diverse service providers to align the system with their local needs. Customizable features include:

  • customizing the appearance of HIFIS and deactivation of features
  • developing custom tables, fields, surveys and mandatory fields
  • selecting data to be shared and assigning users’ rights, and
  • delegating administrative tasks

Client registration and intake captures information on an individual such as name, social security number, gender, age, and bed assignment.

Case management tracks information throughout the process of client service such as assessment with the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) and the Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT).

Service tracking records information about services delivered to a client such as shelter stays, counseling, employment, etc.

Customized Reporting generates reports and allows to export raw data into other applications for analysis and support decision-making.

Data sharing among service providers require stringent privacy and security protections. Data sharing is contingent upon written client consent, and must comply with local, provincial, and federal legal requirements. Data sharing features include:

  • integrated client consent
  • configurable privacy and information sharing settings
  • visibility and editing rights, and
  • system, client, and data protection

Learn the system

To get information or receive training on the HIFIS:

  • visit the HIFIS Demo Site to familiarize yourself with the system, access simulate scenarios and online courses
  • access the HIFIS Toolkit including information on implementation, installation, configuration and usage of HIFIS

Get started

Community Entities within Designated Communities will be leading the HIFIS implementation. If you are a service provider and would like to access HIFIS to participate in a homelessness community-wide coordinated access system, please contact your respective Community Entity.

If you have any questions about HIFIS, contact the HIFIS Client Support Centre.


HIFIS 3 users continue to receive support. You can direct your questions to the HIFIS Client Support Centre. Note that enhancements to HIFIS 3 will no longer occur.

Contact us

The HIFIS Client Support Centre can help you if you have any questions, looking for additional information or would like to have training.

Contact us by email at support@hifis.ca, or by phone at 1-866-324-2375.

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