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Coordinated Entry homeless assistance

The Coordinated Entry System is a process that assesses and matches eligible households to housing opportunities.

Housing opportunities include rapid re-housing, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing. Some programs are site-based, while others offer a subsidy to be used in market-rate housing (scattered site).

Because housing resources are limited, this process is designed to prioritize individuals and families with the highest vulnerability, service needs, and length of homelessness receive top priority in housing placement.

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To be eligible for coordinated entry you must meet the following conditions:

  • 16 years of age or older
  • Currently sleeping in a homeless shelter, outside or in vehicle or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence
  • A resident of Hennepin County or have strong ties to Hennepin County
  • Household income does not exceed 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) for the household’s size

Coordinated Entry Access Points

Households that meet eligibility criteria can access Coordinated Entry by contacting an access point to set up an assessment. The Coordinated Entry assessment helps to identify barriers to housing, homeless history, and vulnerability.

Access points are operated by Hennepin County and local non-profit agencies. Contact the access point based on your current living situation:

  • Sleeping outside, in a vehicle, or camping
  • Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence
  • Residing in an emergency shelter

If you currently are not sleeping in a homeless shelter, outside or in vehicle or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence you are not eligible and should seek alternative housing solutions.

Sleeping outside, in a vehicle, or camping

Families

Contact Front Door Social Services at 612-348-4111 to set up an appointment for a coordinated entry assessment.

 

Single Adults

Contact Hennepin County’s Streets to Housing team by filling out the Follow-up Request Form to set up an appointment for a coordinated entry assessment.

 

Alternative options:
 

Youth (16-24 year old)

Contact the YMCA Youth Resource Line 763-493-3052; 8am – 8pm daily to set up an appointment for a coordinated entry assessment.

 

Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence

Families, Single Adults, and youth:

If you are an individual who meets all of the following criteria:

  • Is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence
  • Has no other residence
  • Lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

Contact the Domestic Abuse Project at 612-874-7063 (ext. 232) or by email at ces@mndap.org.

 

Emergency Shelter

Families

Guests at People Serving People Shelter or St. Anne’s will automatically be screened for Coordinated Entry as part of your re-vouchering process. You do not need to do anything else to be assessed and placed on the priority list.

If you are residing at other shelters, call the Front Door Social Services at 612-348-4111 to request a referral. You will receive a call-back within two business days.

 

Single Adults and Youth

If you are currently staying at a single adult homeless shelter in Hennepin County, you will be identified by shelter staff for an assessment after 14 days.

Coordinated Entry 101 training

Coordinated Entry 101 is a training designed for service providers and advocates. You will learn the following about Hennepin County Coordinated Entry:

  • What Coordinated Entry is
  • Why Coordinated Entry is used
  • How the Coordinated Entry system works: assessments and referrals
  • Housing resources for clients

View past trainings

CES 101 training and other training videos

Policies and forms

Policy and procedure manuals

Coordinated Entry assessor forms

Coordinated Entry housing provider forms

General Coordinated Entry provider forms

Coordinated Entry Leadership Committee

Purpose

  • Informs policy and procedure development and revisions for the Sing Adult and Youth Coordinated Entry System
  • Provides guidance to help ensure consistent application of CES policies and procedures

Contacts

Workplan

2022 CES Leadership Committee Work Plan (DOXC)

CES Scoop

Subscribe to receive updates.

Previous editions

Assessment

Hennepin County’s Coordinated Entry System assessment includes questions in the following categories:

  • Homelessness history and housing barriers
  • Client preference
  • Project needs and funder requirements
  • Consent for sharing data with providers

Assessment are used to determine eligibility for housing programs and establish priority for housing referrals.

Coordinated Entry System (CES)

Hennepin County’s approach to organizing and providing services and assistance to people experiencing a housing crisis in Hennepin County.

Coordinated Entry for families

The process in which families (16 years old or older, who is pregnant and/or has custody of minor children) who have been assessed as experiencing literal homelessness are matched with the vacancies of Hennepin County's homeless-dedicated housing units.

Coordinated Entry for singles

The process in which single adults (16 years old or older without dependents) who have been assessed as experiencing literal homelessness are matched with the vacancies of Hennepin County's homeless-dedicated housing units.

Family assessor

Two family assessors complete assessments for families residing in shelters or places not meant for human habitation. They are located at the Human Services Building in downtown Minneapolis and at St. Stephens Human Services. Both locations are by appointment only.

Map: Human Services Building
525 Portland Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415

Map: St. Stephens Human Services
2309 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Group residential housing (GRH)

A state funding source for housing and some services for people with disabling conditions.

GRH Housing First / long-term homeless program

Provides housing-based rent subsidies and housing support services that follow clients over time and across housing choices, providing maximum financial and emotional continuity.

This approach minimizes the demands on clients of forming new relationships with different service providers if the client graduates or fails at a specific or site-based program. The purpose of the Housing First program is to house individuals who have experienced long periods of homelessness and to expand tenant-based permanent supportive housing opportunities in integrated housing.

Some clients will need intensive, highly professionalized services while others will want a more supportive approach. Many will have needs and preferences that change significantly over time. Families and community both benefit from the Housing First approach.

Housing referral

This is when the housing referral coordinator refers someone from the priority list to a vacancy in a homeless dedicated unit.

  • For singles – the assessor and the housing provider receiving the referral are notified by the housing referral coordinator. Those two people work together to find the person and inform them of the referral.
  • For families – the housing provider will reach out directly to the family.

Housing referral coordinator

A staff person within Hennepin County HSPHD/Office to End Homelessness who matches an individual’s assessment with vacancies in the limited number of homeless-dedicated housing units in Hennepin County. The referral coordinator then refers the person to that vacancy using the following information: VI-SPDAT score, supplemental information (i.e., homeless history, disabling conditions, housing preferences, barriers), time spent in shelter, and eligibility criteria for the homeless dedicated unit. There is one housing referral coordinator for families and one for singles.

HUD literal homelessness

An individual or family that lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. This means that individuals or families are in one of the following situations:

  • Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation
  • Is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements
  • Is exiting an institution where they have resided for 90 days or less and entered the institution from one of the two settings above. Please note that Hennepin County’s Coordinated Entry has not yet finalized a process for assessing individuals leaving institutions that meet the definition of literal homelessness.

People fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking and who lack resources and support networks to obtain other permanent housing may be considered homeless, but do not meet the definition of HUD literal homelessness. (Please note that Hennepin County’s singles Coordinated Entry has not yet finalized a process for assessing individuals that meet this definition. For families — please see below for process of accessing Front Door.)

Priority list

A database of information that is managed by the housing referral coordinators. The list tracks and organizes assessment scores and supplemental questionnaire information. The housing referral coordinators use this database to make referrals.

Rapid rehousing

An intervention designed to help individuals and families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. This assistance is offered without preconditions (such as employment, income, absence of criminal record, or sobriety) and the resources and services provided are tailored to the unique needs of the household. The core components of a rapid rehousing program are listed below. While a rapid rehousing program must have all three essential elements available, it is not required that a single entity provide all three elements nor that a household utilize all of them.

Essential elements of rapid rehousing include:

  • Housing identification
  • Rental and move-in assistance
  • Rapid rehousing case management and services

Single adult and youth assessor

Professional who is trained on administering the VI-SPDAT and collecting supplemental information needed to determine prioritization and eligibility for homeless-dedicated housing programs. Assessments are submitted to the housing referral coordinator.

Single adult and youth assessors are front-line advocates. They are staff in shelters, outreach teams, and youth drop-in centers who can complete assessments as part of their regular job duties. Assessors also ensure any updates to an individual's circumstances get communicated to the housing referral coordinator. Finally, single and youth assessors are notified when the assessed person has been referred to a housing program. They then work with the housing provider to notify the assessed person and connect them to the housing opportunity.

Supplemental form for singles

This is a form used to assess the person's housing preferences. The results are used during the referral decision. However, this assessment may not be given to all people assessed using the VI-SPDAT.

Supplemental form for families

The family assessors complete the full VI-FSPDAT and supplemental questions for every family who is assessed.

Frequently asked questions

For singles experiencing homelessness

Can I call and get a status update on where I am on the list?

No, because the priority list does not work like a waiting list. There is no order of people and we cannot predict upcoming vacancies or potential matches for those vacancies.

How can I update my information once I have already been assessed?

If information is missing from the assessment, the housing referral coordinator will notify the assessor, who will reach out to the person experiencing homelessness to ensure all the necessary info is gathered.

The best thing for someone who has been assessed to do is to keep in touch with the provide / assessor that originally conducted your assessment. If your contact information changes, or something significant about your circumstances changes (health, income, or entering mental health or treatment center), notify the person who assessed you and they can make sure your information is updated.

Do I get removed from the priority list if I move out of the shelter?

Not immediately. However, before a housing referral is made, the housing referral coordinator will check to see if the person has engaged with street outreach or been in shelter within the past few weeks. If the person has not been accessing the homeless response system for several weeks and is unable to be reached, they will be skipped, and ultimately removed from the priority list.

It is critical for people to stay in touch with their assessor. We don’t want to skip anyone, but we also want to make sure that referrals are being given to people currently in need of these housing resources.

For families experiencing homelessness

Can I call and get a status update on where I am on the list?

No, because the priority list does not work like a waiting list. There is no order of people and we cannot predict upcoming vacancies or potential matches for those vacancies.

If a family is currently staying at an emergency shelter in another county, but they have been a Hennepin County resident (their county of financial responsibility is Hennepin), can they go through Hennepin County CES? What happens if since entering the shelter, they have applied to transfer their case to their current county?

Yes, their county of financial responsibility does not change because they are staying in a shelter in a different county. Shelter is a time-excluded facility, so it does not change residency. They are still Hennepin County residents and should access Hennepin CES.

If the parent is staying in an emergency shelter (single adult or domestic violence) but the children are staying with friends/family, do they qualify as a family?

Yes, as long as the parent who is trying to access family CES still has custody of the children and will get them back upon entrance into housing.

If the children are currently in foster care and the parent is staying at an emergency shelter (or place not meant for human habitation), can they receive a referral as a family?

Yes. Eligibility for a housing referral is partially based on being literally homeless, so being in shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation qualifies.

Does a family get removed from the priority list if they move out of the shelter?

If a family has received a housing referral to a rapid rehousing program and has completed intake with the housing provider, the provider will continue working with the family to find housing if they leave shelter. However:

  • You have many more resources available to you in shelter that will help you to find housing
  • As long as you’re in shelter, the shelter staff will help you stay in contact with your rapid rehousing worker
  • The rapid rehousing worker may not have as much financial assistance available to help you if you leave shelter
  • If you do need to leave shelter, stay in very close contact with your rapid rehousing worker, or they will discharge you from the program

If a family was not referred to housing, they lose eligibility for Coordinated Entry if they move out of shelter.

For assessors (singles/youth)

What kind of language can I use to tell people about their likelihood of getting referred through CE?

There simply are not enough homeless-dedicated units for all the people who want and are eligible for them. That is why it's critical that the assessment be universally administered to determine who is most vulnerable.

One of your options is to encourage some people to self-resolve. This means the person is likely to be able to access mainstream housing resources (see above) to solve their homelessness without much engagement or intervention from our homeless response system.

As an assessor, the best thing you can do is to communicate clearly with the person that they will not be referred to housing through Coordinated Entry, but that there are housing resources outside of CES that they may be eligible for. See the housing section of this site for resources and how to access them.

Anyone who is receiving an assessment for Coordinated Entry needs and deserves housing. This assessment is for the limited amount of housing resources that go through CES and only those units.

Are there any timelines that I should be giving out to people regarding how long they could be waiting on housing? Should I refer them to other agencies in the meantime?

Timelines vary for everyone depending on their VI-SPDAT score, their housing preferences, the housing and criminal history, program eligibility criteria, etc. The best thing you can do is tell the person not to wait for a referral through CES and instead continue to try to access other housing options.

If someone finds housing before they are referred to housing through CES, please make sure to follow-up with the housing referral coordinator immediately so they can update the priority list.

For housing providers (families)

What if the referrals I receive cannot be reached?

You can check HMIS to identify where the family is staying.

If they are staying at one of the county contracted shelters (People Serving People or St. Anne’s), you can email HSPH shelter team at hsph.ews.shelter.team@hennepin.us to help locate the client. PSP clients are assigned an advocate who is in a good position to help find the client. Please refer to the cover sheet for the advocate's contact information.

If they are staying out in the community and/or a domestic violence shelter, please call the specific shelter and ask to leave a message for the client to call you back.

If they are staying in a place not meant for human habitation, the St. Stephen’s human services street outreach team may be able to help locate the client. Call 612-879-7624.

For housing providers (singles)

What if the person that has received a referral cannot be reached?

There are many ways you can and should attempt to find the person. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Contact the staff person who completed the CES assessment and see if they have updated contact information or have had any contact with the person.
  • Look them up in HMIS to see if they have recently accessed shelter and where they are staying. If you don't have HMIS access, but know that the person has signed a HMIS ROI, then email (ascstaff@simpsonhousing.org) the Adult Shelter Connect office and ask them to look the person up. Be sure to attach the signed ROI to the email.
  • Look them up in MAXIS, if you have access.
  • Call street outreach programs to let them know that the person was referred through CES, and that they should contact you if they come across them.
  • If you can't find the person that was referred to your housing program after a full two weeks of actively looking, contact the housing referral coordinator right away to let them know and to receive a new referral.

What if the person that has received a referral does not fit the criteria for my program?

Hennepin County's two housing referral coordinators take great care and consideration before making a referral. Both the preferences of the person experiencing homelessness and the housing provider's eligibility criteria are taken into consideration.

  • It is expected that once you are given a referral, you will attempt to find and engage with that person. If after going through your intake processes the person is not eligible for your program, then you must communicate that to the housing referral coordinators clearly.
  • If a provider denies three referrals in a row, or the housing referral coordinator identifies a pattern of denials over time, the organization will be required to participate in a meeting with the housing referral coordinator and a staff person representing the funding source (e.g., CoC coordinator, GRH planner, etc.) to discuss options.

Please help us improve the Coordinated Entry System. Your input is very important. The information we collect from you will be reviewed by The Coordinated Entry Leadership Committees and Hennepin County Coordinated Entry management. Results of the survey will be used to guide decisions on policies, procedures, and trainings. This survey is short and fast but vital to make sure that participants are satisfied, well served, and supported. The survey is not for homeless service providers. It is meant for people that participated in Coordinated Entry. Thank you for your help!

 

Take the Coordinated Entry System Feedback survey

 

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