Date Published: August 2016
The primary purpose of the coordinated entry (CE) standardized assessment process is to gather information necessary to determine the severity of a youth’s needs and their eligibility for housing and services in a way that utilizes their strengths and is based on evidence of the risk of becoming or remaining homeless. The CE assessment should gather information on factors that can help systems prevent youth from experiencing homelessness or end their current homelessness experience as quickly as possible. This is in contrast to a clinical assessment common within the youth-serving field that looks at more in-depth service needs on an ongoing basis throughout a youth’s involvement in the homelessness system. The CE standardized assessment may be a phased assessment utilizing more than one assessment tool, allowing the assessment process to occur over time and only as necessary. For example, a standardized screening and assessment process may have separate tools to:
The CE assessment will likely occur over a period of days or weeks, as needed, depending on the progress a youth experiencing homelessness is making. The different assessments build on each other so a participant does not have to repeat their story. Periodic ongoing assessment should occur to ensure interventions are meeting a youth’s needs, particularly if a youth remains homeless for a long period of time. Federal partners are working together to release more detailed guidance later in 2016 on the use of youth screening and assessment tools within the CE process that can help guide placement decisions for housing and services.
Once youth receive a housing and service intervention through CE, a service provider may assess for additional or more intensive service needs on an ongoing basis while youth are being served in the youth homelessness system. Utilizing screening and assessment is equally as important after a youth has entered into a homelessness program in order to determine if the placement and services are meeting youth needs, or to determine if the youth needs other types of interventions and services. HHS recently released a document identifying examples of these additional Screening and Assessment Tools.