Coordinated Assessment Toolkit: Assessment and Referrals


Toolkits | March 13, 2013

The tools included here will help communities develop assessment and referral processes that identify households’ barriers to re-entering permanent housing, give households a chance to succeed with minimal assistance, and lead to informed and appropriate referral decisions.

Comprehensive Assessment Tool (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
The Alliance developed this assessment tool to help communities prioritize and assess the needs people experiencing homelessness may have for emergency shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing. The tool provides a pre-screening section, prevention and diversion questions, and other methods for prioritizing consumers' needs for various services.

Priority Waiting List Spreadsheet (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
This tool is meant to help communities determine, in conjunction with the Comprehensive Assessment Tool, which households should be prioritized for services. Each intervention tab on this worksheets lists the maximum number of households that should be on each list at one time (communities may modify these numbers). The goal of this tool is to keep waiting lists for services short, 4 weeks at maximum.

Webinar: Coordinated Assessment: Understanding Assessment Tools (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
This webinar, which originally streamed on Monday, November 4, 2013, covers how communities should approach the assessment phase of their coordinated intake system. The Alliance's Kim Walker, technical assistance specialist, and Norm Suchar, Center for Capacity Building director, discuss what should happen during your assessment process and what questions to ask when selecting assessment tools.  

The Assessment and Referral Process: Coordinated Assessment Checklist Addendum (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
This document is intended to help answer key questions communities may have about the assessment and referral pieces of coordinated assessment and provide guidance based on work the Alliance has done with other communities.

Prevention and Diversion Assessment Tool (National Alliance to End Homelessness; Community Shelter Board; Hennepin County, MN)
This assessment tool, based on Minneapolis/Hennepin County, Minnesota’s and Columbus, Ohio’s assessment forms, will be of use to communities attempting to determine if a household needs prevention or diversion assistance. This should be administered as soon as a household comes into an assessment center to determine if they will need shelter or if they can be assisted and housed without having to enter the homeless assistance system. The prevention segment of this tool should be tweaked based on the community’s data on its sheltered population. Prevention assistance should be targeted to those households that most closely resemble the households already in shelter. For more information on prevention targeting, please see the Alliance’s paper, Prevention Targeting 101. For more on what shelter diversion is and what the benefits of it are, please read Closing the Front Door: Creating a Successful Diversion Program for Homeless Families.

Columbus Family Intake/Assessment Form (Community Shelter Board)
This tool contains Columbus, Ohio’s intake and assessment forms from their YWCA Family Center, the sole point of entry into the homeless assistance system for all homeless families in Columbus, as well as one form for assessing individuals experiencing homelessness. It includes, in the following order:

  • The YWCA emergency shelter intake form (pages 1 to 12), completed once it has been determined a household is eligible for shelter;
  • A housing referral form (pages 13 to 15), based off of the results of the intake form;
  • A triage form used to determine if the family is eligible to be diverted from entering emergency shelter/the homeless assistance system (pages 16 to 18); and 
  • A triage form used with single individuals (pages 19 to 23). 

The triage forms are administered first, when a household shows up to an assessment center, to determine if entry into shelter is necessary; if households can be diverted, then no further assessment is needed and they are referred to Columbus’s diversion program. If diversion is not an option, but prevention opportunities still exist for the family (e.g., they are facing foreclosure or eviction but the process has not been completed), they are referred to the prevention program. If neither of these is an option, YWCA staff do the full shelter assessment with the family.

Memphis/Shelby County Intake Form (Memphis/Shelby County, TN)
This is the assessment form the Community Alliance for the Homeless in Memphis/Shelby County, TN uses at face-to-face assessment points with clients. Additional assessment or information gathering may be conducted based on the results of this form and an interview.

Rapid Re-Housing Triage Tool (National Alliance to End Homelessness, Abt Associates)
This tool may be helpful in determining what services and level of subsidy a household eligible for rapid re-housing needs. Communities are encouraged to modify the tool based on their own local experiences and data.

This toolkit includes six sections: