Field Notes: Introducing the Prevention and Diversion Toolkit

written by Kim Walker
April 26, 2012

Last month, the Center for Capacity Building brought you the Coordinated Assessment Toolkit to help you design, implement, and evaluate an efficient coordinated process at the front door of your system. But, as many successful communities and a few Alliance staff members will tell you, the best coordinated assessment processes incorporate prevention and diversion at their assessment points by screening for eligibility for these strategies and providing the associated services before admitting a household to a shelter, transitional housing, or rapid re-housing program.

This initial screening process can help people salvage housing situations without having to enter shelter, or provide viable temporary housing options outside shelter. Prevention and diversion, in many cases, do not require a major investment of money or resources (and in some cases, as we often hear, require no financial assistance at all), and are therefore quite cost effective compared to an avoidable shelter entry, even more so when you consider that prevention means avoiding robbing another person of a bed that they desperately need.

That’s why we published our Prevention and Diversion Toolkit yesterday, which we hope communities will use in tandem with the Coordinated Assessment one to develop the most comprehensive and effective front door process they can. As with the Coordinated Assessment Toolkit, we’ll be updating this over time as we learn more and gather more information. The reason we’re able to bring you these resources is that we are able to learn from and connect with communities across the country, so please continue to send us things! We take questions, comments, and feedback as well – please send any of the above to Please keep learning and sharing with us!