Coordinated Assessment Toolkit

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Toolkits | August 28, 2013

To read the companion paper to this toolkit on developing and implementing a coordinated assessment process for your homeless assistance system, please click here.

Center for Capacity Building

This toolkit is broken into six sections:

Summary

Coordinated assessment, also known as coordinated entry or coordinated intake, paves the way for more efficient homeless assistance systems by:

  • Helping people move through the system faster (by reducing the amount of time people spend moving from program to program before finding the right match);
  • Reducing new entries into homelessness (by consistently offering prevention and diversion resources upfront, reducing the number of people entering the system unnecessarily); and
  • Improving data collection and quality and providing accurate information on what kind of assistance consumers need.

Coordinated assessment is ideally a system-wide process and can serve any and all populations. Systems may accomplish coordinated assessment through the use of a centralized phone hotline (e.g. a 2-1-1), a single physical point of assessment (through an emergency shelter or a dedicated assessment center, for example) or a decentralized coordinated system (with multiple assessment points all employing the same assessment and referral process). Each of these models has its advantages and drawbacks, which are documented in the Alliance’s paper on the topic. Each assessment point in a coordinated system handles assessment or screening of consumer need, data entry, referrals, and, potentially, program admissions. Ideally, these centers are the main access points for prevention and diversion services as well. Assessment center staff, after an initial assessment, should either provide the necessary prevention or diversion services or admit or refer a family to the program that is best equipped to get them into permanent housing as quickly as possible.

This toolkit was developed to help communities plan for, implement, and evaluate a coordinated assessment system, as well as ensure compliance with HUD’s latest guidance, offered through the interim Emergency Solutions Grant regulations, that all communities funded through the HUD Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Continuum of Care (CoC) grants will have to have a coordinated assessment system. The tools available here should be modified and changed by communities to fit their individual needs. The toolkit and the tools within it will be updated as more information and materials become available. If you have feedback or questions about the toolkit, please address them to Kim Walker, Capacity Building Associate.

The Alliance has written numerous posts about Coordinated Assessment and other strategies used by communities around the country. Click here to view our Field Notes.

To learn more about how to incorporate prevention and diversion into your coordinated assessment process, please see our companion Prevention and Diversion Toolkit.