Date Published: March 2015
For this question, consider an example where some communities’ assessment tools assign a score to each person when they are assessed and in some cases, a person with a high assessment score would not be considered the highest priority based on the Prioritization notice.
Appendix A of the Prioritization Notice provides guidance on what HUD considers to be qualities of a good assessment tool and encourages CoCs to select a tool that will work in their community based on those criteria but has not endorsed any specific assessment tool. Ideally, an assessment tool will be aligned with HUD’s requirements and priorities; however, assessment tools are created and developed independent of HUD and might place higher emphasis on factors that are not weighed as high by HUD when considering how to prioritize households for permanent supportive housing.
Communities choosing a tool that assigns a score to each person assessed, such as the Vulnerability Index & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), might find persons receiving the highest score do not necessarily meet the highest priority according to the Prioritization Notice. In such cases, HUD expects the CoC to use the assessment tool as a starting point but use the guidelines of the Prioritization Notice to establish a single prioritized list.
Some assessment tools might also prioritize specific disability-types which would not be consistent with fair housing requirements. CoCs can resolve this by ensuring that other factors are taken into consideration beyond the assessment tool when determining how a household should be prioritized for assistance. Even when the assessment tools do not align exactly with the Prioritization Notice, they provide valuable information to CoCs and are necessary to ensure that households are all assessed consistently across the CoC.