Prevention and Diversion Toolkit: Assessment and Targeting

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Toolkits | August 28, 2013

These assessment tools can be used at the front door to help communities determine whether or not a household is eligible for prevention or diversion resources, and, if so, how to decide what assistance to provide.

Prevention Targeting 101 (National Alliance to End Homelessness)
This brief explains how communities can improve their efforts to prevent homelessness by targeting prevention funds toward households that match the profile of other households that have already entered shelter, and, if that data is not available, the households with the most urgent and intense housing crises and barriers. The brief also includes information on how to tie prevention targeting efforts to a system-wide “front door” and additional information on prevention assessment.

Hennepin County Prevention Assessment Tool (Hennepin County, MN)
This is Hennepin County’s Eligibility Criteria and Rating Tool, used to assess families’ eligibility for prevention assistance resources. They developed the tool by using data on their sheltered households to create the criteria and scoring system, a method that is currently recognized as a best practice. Further explanation of the tool is available in some of the additional Hennepin materials in this toolkit and in this solutions brief.

Prevention/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.

Shelter Question Test (YWCA in Canton, OH)
This set of questions can be used to determine if a household requires shelter entry or if diversion is a possibility. Households with no other housing options, or whose only housing option puts them in danger, should be admitted to emergency shelter.

Conference Presentations from “Prevention Strategies” (2013 National Conference on Ending Homelessness)
When targeted effectively, prevention assistance can aid households in preserving their current housing situations and can reduce the number of people entering the homeless assistance system. This workshop discussed research and the cost effectiveness of different approaches to providing prevention assistance.

This Prevention and Diversion Toolkit contains two other sections: