Coordinated Entry Overview
The Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County is developing and launching a new coordinated entry system in 2016. Coordinated entry is a community-wide system that standardizes and expedites the process by which people experiencing homelessness or who are at imminent risk of homelessness access shelter, housing, and homeless resources. Coordinated entry will help suburban Cook County better target the limited resources provided by the homeless assistance system to people who are experiencing homelessness and need them the most. By standardizing the intake process across the region, by sharing information in real-time, and by adopting uniform prioritization policies, homeless service agencies will be able to refer people to the right program based on their preferences and level of need.
In February 2015, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), released a memo articulating their goals for coordinated entry systems (https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Coordinated-Entry-Policy-Brief.pdf) . HUD’s two primary goals for coordinated entry are: that assistance be allocated as effectively as possible and that coordinated entry be easily accessible no matter where or how people present. Most communities lack the resources needed to meet all of the needs of people experiencing homelessness.
Coordinated entry processes help communities prioritize assistance based on vulnerability and severity of service needs to ensure that people who need assistance the most can receive it in a timely manner. Coordinated entry processes also provide information about service needs and gaps to help communities plan their assistance and identify needed resources. In addition, one of the main purposes of coordinated entry is to ensure that people with the most severe service needs and levels of vulnerability are prioritized for housing and homeless assistance. HUD’s policy is that people experiencing chronic homelessness should be prioritized for permanent supportive housing.
Coordinated entry offers a more organized, efficient approach to providing households experiencing homelessness with services and housing by creating quicker linkages to programs. When implemented effectively, it simplifies the roles of providers, and shortens the path to permanent housing for households experiencing homelessness.
The Alliance board of directors adopted the coordinated entry written protocols (attached below) in February 2016. These protocols describe how suburban Cook County will implement coordinated entry and meet HUD’s expectations for a high performing system.