The Commission on Homelessness for Volusia & Flagler Counties (CoH) has implemented the Coordinated Entry system-wide approach which can ideally serve any and all populations.  The Coordinated Entry System adopted by the CoH utilizes a centralized phone information system (2-1-1) and a coordinated assessment system with multiple single points of entry to include an outreach component which serves as a single point of entry in and of itself, all of which employ the same assessment and referral process in HMIS.  Each access point in our Coordinated Entry system handles assessment or screening of consumer need, data entry, referrals, and, potentially, program admissions. These centers that have HMIS access are the main access points for prevention and diversion services as well.  Following an initial assessment, the Coordinated Entry staff, provides the necessary prevention or diversion services or make direct referrals for of an individual or family through Coordinated Entry to the program that is best matched to their individual identified needs.

The Volusia-Flagler County Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. has lead way with the implementation of the  Coordinated Entry process though HUD CoC grant funding. The Coordinated Entry System has already seen several changes in design and implementation in its short tenure as a full operating system.  Moving forward, it has become evident that the Coordinated Entry process most certainly will undergo further growth, experience changes, and mature into a fully functioning intake and referral system.  The Systems Navigator role includes the facilitation and expansion of the Coordinated Entry System for CoH (FL-504 CoC). The Systems Navigator is responsible for developing protocols and targeted, evidence-based interventions, appropriate for the identified priority population. In addition, the Systems Navigator oversees the general operations of the Coordinated Entry system (including the development of additional resources) as well as train agency staff on the HMIS intake process, referral mechanism and the SPDAT prioritization tool.  The System Navigator is also responsible for maintenance of a census of available units as facilitated by CoC funded, ESG funded and other participating agencies, maintain the prioritization list and may directly assist clients into availabilities as determined by priority.  The System Navigator ensures the seamless enhancement and operation of the Coordinated Entry system in the Volusia/Flagler County areas which will be phased in over the course of the next two years.

The Coordinated Entry system covers the entire geographic area for the CoH (FL- 504 CoC) in which resources are spread out over a two-county area.  Part of the overall Coordinated Entry effort entails partnering with existing programs and developing strategic collaborations within the two counties and throughout the multiple municipalities/communities that exist.  Coordinated Entry is being enhanced by leveraging existing resources and aligning mainstream resources and existing systems.

To ensure that the entire service region of the CoH is covered by the system, the CoH will designate specific agencies to establish coordinated access points of entry in geographically relevant areas of the continuum (most of which have already been established; coordinated access points will be located in areas which have a high need for homeless services as indicated by the PIT Count). As befits a physically large and spread-out community, the CoH (FL 504 CoC) intends to establish several satellite Coordinated Entry points throughout the two-county region to meet the needs of Veterans, single adults, families and unaccompanied youth.  This process will most likely be augmented by the development of an outreach component (as funding becomes available) which will eventually be responsible for the identification, initial assessment and entry into the Coordinated Entry System for referral to appropriate housing interventions and services.

The CoH has created a separate Coordinated Entry Committee responsible for creating, updating and amending associated Policies and Procedures.  Direct service agency providers also meet monthly in an Adhoc group to discuss the process, issues, and barriers and find solutions to enhance the flow of homeless into housing.  Break out groups of housing providers and referring agencies also meet bi-weekly to discuss the most vulnerable and hard to place in an effort to cut through identified barriers and expedite the highest priority homeless populations into housing in as little time as possible.

The CoH Coordinated Entry System is also developing resources which will address the needs of unaccompanied youth, which is key to meeting the goal of ending homelessness for unaccompanied youth by 2019.

Federal partners have recently identified Coordinated Entry as a key component of the coordinated community response to prevent and end youth homelessness in 2020. Coordinated Entry is also required for all housing programs receiving HUD CoC and ESG funding and strongly recommended for all of a community’s homelessness-dedicated resources. In order for these community-wide processes to appropriately serve youth, CoCs need to address the developmental and service needs of unaccompanied homeless youth and ensure that all community stakeholders, including Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) providers, child welfare agencies, school systems, systems of justice, workforce systems partners, and other youth-serving organizations, come together for both the planning and implementation of a youth-inclusive Coordinated Entry process.

A youth-inclusive Coordinated Entry process requires the CoH to implement a systems-level, youth-focused approach for youth access, screening and assessment, prioritization, and referral to housing and supportive services. The intent of Coordinated Entry is to mirror and enhance the existing coordinated entry process for all populations in order to standardize and streamline the process specifically for youth access to homeless dedicated resources across the entire homeless crisis response system, and to lower the overall burden on youth to receive needed housing and supportive services. This process, when fully developed, will allow the CoH to make decisions based on the availability of resources across an entire community, not just at an individual program or project, expanding a youth’s access to needed community resources. Youth are being screened and assessed with the same standardized, culturally competent tools as their peers, regardless of who the assessor may be, and will be referred according to the same prioritization factors that are used for all youth in the community. An effective, youth-centered process also reduces the number of interviews that require repeating highly personal information, often involving traumatic experiences, and reduces the amount of time it takes to receive housing and supportive services.

Each Coordinated Entry site will also serve as a housing resource within its respective area.  Outreach programs, Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing programs in each area will be able to access housing assistance through direct referrals into the Coordinated Entry portal within the HMIS system and as monitored by the Systems Navigator.  The System Navigator will also develop and manage a central prioritization list in order to identify the most vulnerable population with the longest duration of homelessness and provide assistance for direct and immediate entry into different housing options. In addition, the system Navigator may directly assist with utility deposits to facilitate entry into housing where no other subsidy is available. The proposed system will provide all of the following:

A Coordinated Entry System to address the needs of unaccompanied youth is key to meeting the goal of ending homelessness for unaccompanied youth by 2019.

Federal partners have recently identified Coordinated Entry as a key component of the coordinated community response to prevent and end youth homelessness in 2020. Coordinated Entry is also required for all housing programs receiving HUD CoC and ESG funding and strongly recommended for all of a community’s homelessness-dedicated resources. In order for these community-wide processes to appropriately serve youth, CoCs need to address the developmental and service needs of unaccompanied homeless youth and ensure that all community stakeholders, including Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) providers, child welfare agencies, school systems, systems of justice, workforce systems partners, and other youth-serving organizations, come together for both the planning and implementation of a youth-inclusive Coordinated Entry process.

A youth-inclusive Coordinated Entry process requires CoCs to implement a systems-level, youth-focused approach for youth access, screening and assessment, prioritization, and referral to housing and supportive services. The intent of Coordinated Entry is to standardize and streamline the process for youth access to homelessness dedicated resources across the entire homelessness crisis response system, and to lower the overall burden on youth to receive needed housing and supportive services. This process allows a CoC to make decisions based on the availability of resources across an entire community, not just at an individual program or project, expanding a youth’s access to needed community resources. Youth should also be screened and assessed with the same standardized, culturally competent tools as their peers, regardless of who the assessor may be, and expect to be referred according to the same prioritization factors that are used for all youth in the community. An effective, youth-centered process also reduces the number of interviews that require repeating highly personal information, often involving traumatic experiences, and reduces the amount of time it takes to receive housing and supportive services.

Currently, each Coordinated Entry site serves as a housing resource within its respective area.  Outreach programs, Emergency Shelters and Transitional Housing programs will be able to access housing assistance through direct referrals into the Coordinated Entry portal within the HMIS system and as monitored by the Systems Navigator.  A central prioritization list has been developed and is being managed by the Systems Navigator in order to identify the most vulnerable population with the longest duration of homelessness and provide assistance for direct and immediate entry into different housing options. In addition, the system Navigator may directly assist with utility deposits to facilitate entry into housing where no other subsidy is available.

The proposed system will provide all of the following:

  • Standardized assessment, prioritization and housing plan development
  • Referrals/placement into “Bridge” Housing
  • Referrals/placement in Rapid Re-Housing
  • Coordination and referral to direct financial assistance
  • Ongoing follow-up services commensurate with the household’s need

The benefits of Coordinated Entry are:

  1. Multiple sites available for single point of entry in HMIS for single adults, unaccompanied youth and their families
  2. Reduces phone calls and legwork clients have to do to get into a program
  3. Prioritizes those most in need
  4. Decreases the time housing providers spend processing requests
  5. Increases the amount of time providers can spend on direct service
  6. Improves data collection quality based on client-level and system-wide needs
  7. Increases access
  8. Improves service structure and efficiency
  9. Improves data and planning value