The Open Path HMIS Warehouse (Warehouse) project was initiated by the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development office to coordinate data across various HMIS installations and supply de-duplicated client information to the Boston CAS (
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Boston HMIS Warehouse Build Status


The HMIS Warehouse project was initiated by the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development to gather data from across various HMIS installations, produce aggregated reports, and supply de-duplicated client information to the Boston CAS system for Coordinated Access to housing.

The Warehouse is capable if ingesting standard HUD HMIS CSV files as well as data via the Social Solutions ETO API.

Copyright © 2017 Green River Data Analysis, LLC

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

A copy of the license is available in


The City of Boston made a conscientious choice to release this project into the open source under a GPL. Our goal is to promote this opportunity, allowing Boston's investment to assist other municipalities and organizations, and realize the vision of a tool under continuous, collaborative improvement helping communities nationwide.

Looking ahead, we see the Warehouse codebase serving as a foundation for all communities that report to the department of Housing and Urban Development, or have a need to aggregate and de-duplicate homeless client data from across various systems. To our knowledge, this is the only open source, freely available implementation of many HUD reports.

Application Design

The application is designed around the HUD Data Standards and the data structure is based on the HMIS Logical Model

The application is written primarily in Ruby on Rails and we use RVM to select a ruby version. Other ruby version managers should work fine, as would manually installing the ruby version mentioned in the .ruby-version

The application uses postgres for application data storage and Microsoft SQL Server or postgres for the warehouse data.

We've developed locally on OSX using homebrew and deployed to Ubuntu 16.04 using apt for dependencies.

Developer Prequisites

If you are unfamilar with contributing to open source projects on github you may first want to read some of the guides at:

There is a simple script to setup a development environment in bin/setup. To make it run smoothly you should have:

  • A running Ruby 2.3+ environment with bundler 1.11+ installed.
  • A local install of postgresql 9.4+ allowing your user to create new databases.
  • A local install of redis for caching. redis-server should be running on the default port
  • libmagic

Once these are in place, bin/setup should:

  • Install all ruby dependencies.
  • Create initial copies of configuration files.
  • Create an initial database and seed it with reference data and a randomly generated admin user.

If all goes well you should then be able to run bin/rails server and open the Warehouse in your system at http://localhost:3000 using the email/password created during bin/setup. If not, read bin/setup to figure out what went wrong and fix it.

Hack on your version as you see fit and if you have questions or want to contibute open an issue on github.

Developer Notes

We use the following common rails gems and conventions:

  • haml for view templating
  • bootstrap for base styles and layout
  • sass for custom-css
  • simple_form for forms
  • kaminari for pagination
  • brakeman for basic security scanning.
  • rack-mini-profiler to make sure pages are fast. Ideally <200ms
  • helpers need to be explictly loaded in controllers. i.e. we have config.action_controller.include_all_helpers = false set
  • bin/rake generate controller ... doesn't make fixures and they are disabled in test_helper. We don't use them and instead seed data in test or let test create their own data however they need to.
  • it also doesn't make helper or asset stubs, make them by hand if you need one. See config/application.rb for details.

Multiple databases

The project reads/writes from several different databases. We keep track of these different environments by setting up parallel db configs and structures for each database. Health care data is configured in config/database_health.yml and database resources are in db/health. Warehouse data is configured in config/database_warehouse.yml and resources are in db/warehouse. When running migrations, use the custom generators.

App migrations can be created with:

rails generate migration foo

and run with

rake db:migrate

Warehouse migrations can be created with:

rails generate warehouse_migration foo

and run with

rake warehouse:db:migrate

Health migrations can be created with

rails generate health_migration foo

and run with

rake health:db:migrate