Date Published: August 2016
In order to ensure that youth are referred to appropriate housing and services, a broad array of youth focused housing and services need to be included among all of the resources available to the coordinated entry (CE) process. Youth who have been assessed for housing and services need to know exactly which program they are being referred to, what will be expected of them, and what they should expect from the program. Providers and caseworkers knowledgeable of a youth’s experiences should provide input on referrals most appropriate for their developmental stage, needs, and strengths, through processes such as case conferencing. The CE process should also incorporate individual project eligibility requirements and current availability because project participants must be eligible for the projects to which they are referred, and the participants may need to meet additional project-specific eligibility requirements that are independent of the assessment and prioritization process. For example, a transitional housing project may be funded to serve individuals with HIV/AIDS. In order for the dedicated project to accept the youth being referred, the youth must meet the priority population that the project is funded to serve, in addition to being prioritized for the type of resource through the CE process. Armed with the best available information, youth can make an informed and supported choice to enroll in their preferred intervention among a comprehensive array of available options that address their needs and for which they are eligible.
CE referrals may occur throughout a young person’s involvement with the homelessness system, usually connected with ongoing assessment. For example, a youth living on the streets may be connected to emergency shelter after an initial triage interaction with a street outreach worker. The youth may receive a more comprehensive assessment once in shelter, and based on the prioritization process described in FAQ 2933, be referred to an intervention that can help to resolve their homelessness, such as family reunification, transitional living programs, rapid re-housing, or other placements and supportive services. Additional referrals may occur after a young person begins participation in a homelessness program if they need additional or different housing and supports to address their homelessness, and may include connections to mainstream services.
HUD and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledge that the description above for a youth-focused CE process has not been fully realized by many communities and that communities are in different stages of planning and implementing youth processes in their CE. The hope is that these FAQs, as well as upcoming detailed guidance and technical assistance, will enable communities to develop a more robust CE process that is responsive to the needs and strengths of homeless youth and is inclusive of all youth providers.