VERSIONS OF THESE POLICIES
Central MN Coordinated Entry Policies and Procedures were updated and approved by the Central MN CoC Governing Board on February 2, 2021.
Central MN CoC’s CE Advisory Committee shall be responsible for the revision, review, and approval of the CE Policies & Procedures. The revision process will be completed at least once annually at the Central MN CoC Annual meeting in February and anyone who is interested in submitting suggestions for revisions to the document should submit them to the Priority List Manager.
|Version||Date Released||Key Changes|
|1.0||November 6, 2018||
|2.0||February 2, 2021||HUD Updates|
PLANNING AND OVERVIEW
COORDINATED ENTRY WORK WITHIN CENTRAL MN COC
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) is monitored by the Central MN Continuum of Care (CoC) Full Membership Committee and Governing Board. The role of the CES Policy/Advisory Committee is to make recommendations on changes to policies and procedures that promote best practices, trainings, priorities for the CoC and evaluating the CES. The Central MN CoC Governing Board will have final approval on all CES policies, procedures, and assessment tool.
The Central CoC is a network of people with lived experience, organizations, community residents, and businesses and the goal is to have people with lived experience that collaborate and plan the best use of our community resources.
Through the CoC planning process, the community can:
- Identify the size and scope of the homeless problem
- Identify disparities for underrepresented communities
- Promote racial equity in strategic planning to ensure equitable access to housing
- Inventory the resources available in the community to address homelessness
- Rank community needs in order of priority
- Strategically plan the range of services and housing that should be implemented to address homelessness
- Identify other available resources that can be used to address homelessness
The primary objective of the COC is to prevent homelessness whenever possible. If it cannot be prevented that it be a rare, brief, and one-time experience.
Our progress is measured by the following service performance measures:
- Reduction in the number of people who become homeless for the first time
- Reduction in the total number of people experiencing homelessness
- Reduction of the length of time that people experience homelessness
- Reduction in the number of people who return to homelessness
COORDINATED ENTRY PARTICIPATION AND EXPECTATIONS
All Continuum of Care (CoC) Programs and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funded projects are required to participate in the local CE process. The CoC’s goal is to have all homeless assistance projects participating in its CE process and will work with all local projects and funders in its geographic region to facilitate their participation in CE.
As part of the annual CoC and ESG application process, each project must submit a report that identifies the number of participants its project referred, accepted, rejected, and/or served from the CE process.
CONTINUUM OF CARE/EMERGENCY SOLUTION GRANT COORDINATION
Central MN CoC is committed to aligning and coordinating CE policies and procedures governing assessment, eligibility determinations, and prioritization with its written standards for administering CoC and ESG program funds.
Central MN CoC will include at least one representative from the local ESG recipient in its membership of the Coordinated Entry Committee.
Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program is a HUD funding source to:
- Engage individuals and families living on the street
- Improve the quantity and quality of emergency shelters for individuals and families experiencing homelessness
- Provide funds to operate shelters
- Provide essential services to shelter residents
- Rapidly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness
- Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless
It is required that each CoC and ESG recipient operating within the CoC’s geographic area must work together to ensure the CoC’s Coordinated Entry process allows for coordinated screening, assessment, and referrals for both ESG funded and CoC funded projects.
Sources: CoC Program interim rule: 24 CFR 578.7(a)(9); ESG interim rule: 24 CFR 576.400(d) and (e)
It is required that the CoC, in consultation with recipients of ESG Program funds within the geographic area, must establish and consistently follow written standards for providing CoC assistance that can guide the development of formalized policies and procedures for the CE process:
- Written standards provide guidance for evaluating individuals’ and families’ eligibility for assistance under 24 CFR Part 578.
- Written standards provide guidance for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive transitional housing assistance.
- Written standards provide guidance for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive rapid re-housing assistance.
- Written standards provide guidance for determining what percentage or amount of rent each program participant must pay while receiving rapid re-housing assistance.
- Written standards provide guidance for determining and prioritizing which eligible individuals and families will receive permanent supportive housing assistance.
Source: CoC Program interim rule: 24 CFR 578.7(a)(9)
The CoC believes that the most effective response to homelessness results from a service delivery system that values diversity and recognizes inherent dignity of individuals and families of all backgrounds. As such, the CoC and their member agencies shall not discriminate or withhold services based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability or health-related condition, familial status, marital status, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, veteran status, or source of income. In addition, the CoC will ensure that the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and HUD’s Equal Access Rule at 24 CFR 5.105(a)(2) will be followed. In addition, individuals or families fleeing, or attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, human trafficking, or other life-threatening situations shall not be prohibited from receiving services from non-victim service providers.
The CE system must be easily accessed by individuals and families seeking services to address housing crises. Emergency services entry points will be accessible via walk-in, telephone and virtually. The Central CoC “Call to Connect” toll free number is for quick access to resources by county. Additionally, the CoC will establish, to the greatest extent possible, front doors that are accessible via walk-in throughout the geographic region. Funded front door providers must provide reasonable accommodation for disabilities upon request. The assessments at each front door must follow the requirements of this manual to ensure that clients are provided with the same assessment regardless of the front door from which they seek services. If the front door is unable to serve a client, the front door agrees to ensure that the client is provided with a warm referral to another front door to the greatest extent possible.
The CE system prohibits the “screening out” of clients “due to perceived barriers relating to housing or services, including, but not limited to, too little or no income, active or a history of substance use, domestic violence history, resistance to receiving services, the type or extent of disability-related services or supports that are needed, history of evictions or poor credit, lease violations or history of not being a leaseholder, or criminal records – with exceptions for state and local restrictions that prevent projects from serving people with certain convictions.”
Clients are provided with information about the CE system, including which programs are available to them throughout their time on the priority list so that they may make an informed decision regarding which programs they wish to participate in, if any. Clients are also free to decide what information they provide during the assessment process, and clients may not be denied services if the client refuses to provide certain pieces of information unless the information is required to establish or document program eligibility for the applicable project.
CE is a system-wide process, and therefore all providers within the network must collaborate to ensure the system functions smoothly and effectively. The use of weekly case conferencing meetings is intended to facilitate regular collaboration to the greatest extent possible. To have the most effective CE, the CoC recognizes that partnerships from across sectors will help our region to best provide services for all persons who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and invite non-HUD funded programs and agencies to participate in the Homeless Response System – Coordinated Entry Process.
A key function of CE is the collection of data regarding each client’s housing crisis and needs to provide clients with the most appropriate housing interventions available. The data gathered is also utilized to reveal gaps in services and inform funding decisions. Clients may not be denied services if they refuse to allow their personally identifying information to be shared unless required by local, state, or federal statute as a condition of program participation.
The CES is based upon a Housing First approach. Providers mandated to participate in CE agree to prioritize housing placement over supportive services. Providers who participate in CE voluntarily are strongly encouraged to follow the Housing First approach.
CE will ensure that those clients with the highest needs are provided with services first. A uniform assessment process is utilized for all clients experiencing housing crises to ensure needs-based access to housing interventions. Prioritization may not be based on any of the following: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, familial status, disability, type or amount of disability or disability-related services or supports required, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
CES will demonstrate commitment to continued improvement of the homeless response system to ensure an equitable system for all. It is our responsibility to address disparities until they no longer exist within the homeless response system by being attentive to race while analyzing data, addressing issues, reviewing policies and procedures and system planning. Ongoing data review and analysis of overrepresented populations affected by homelessness will guide change to assess, prioritize and serve all community members eliminating racial inequities.
HISTORICAL TRAUMA/TRAUMA INFORMED
Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) defines trauma informed care as “a strengths-based service delivery approach that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.” Through education and training on Historical Trauma and Trauma Informed Care assessors will increase cultural knowledge, awareness, and sensitivity to respond in a way that promotes healing.
HONOR TRIBAL SOVEREIGNTY
Addressing Indigenous homelessness includes acknowledgement and honor of Tribal Sovereignty and respect of cultural practices. Indigenous ways, teachings, traditions, and customs are imperative to provide culturally relevant support.
ACRONYMS AND DEFINITIONS
|Access Site||An existing agency or point of contact where households facing a housing crisis are screened for entry to, or diversion from, the regional homeless response system.|
|Assessor||Individual trained to administer the common assessment tool.|
|Assessment Site||An agency that has assessors trained to complete the assessment tool.|
|Call to Connect||1-866-560-7464 will connect households directly to agencies with resources in their county.|
|Case Conferencing||Local process for CE staff to coordinate and discuss ongoing work with persons experiencing homelessness in the community, including the prioritization or active list. The goal of case conferencing is to provide holistic, coordinated, and integrated services across providers, and to reduce duplication.|
|Coordinated Entry is not a program but a way of providing services that will help better identify, document, and evaluate system needs. Coordinated Entry prioritizes limited resources and ensures those most in need of services are prioritized.|
|CE Navigator||Navigators assist targeted participants between assessment and housing referral to increase participant likelihood of getting housed and help housing programs with documenting eligibility|
(Coordinated Entry System)
|Coordinated Entry System includes access, assessment, navigation referral and housing outcome. CES prioritizes those with a higher need versus first come first served or belief that one household is more housing ready than another. Assessors, Access Sites, Navigators, Priority List Manager, HMIS and the VI-SPDAT tool are all part of the system ensuring objectivity.|
|Chronic Homeless is when an individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more or has had at least 4 episodes of homelessness within the past 3 years adding up to 12 months. This includes those living in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven or a shelter (Couch hopping is not included).|
(Continuum of Care)
|Continuum of Care (CoC) is a community strategic plan to coordinate, organize and deliver housing and services and promote community-wide commitment to reduce the incidences of homelessness. The State of MN is divided into 10 CoCs.|
|Central MN CoC||The Central Minnesota Continuum of Care (CoC) is a network of organizations, community residents and businesses that plan programs with the primary goal of ending homelessness in 13 counties. Member counties are Cass, Crow Wing, Todd, Morrison, Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine, Stearns, Benton, Sherburne, and Wright Counties.|
|CoC-Central Region||Benton, Stearns, Sherburne, and Wright Counties|
|CoC-Eastern Region||Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs and Pine Counties|
|CoC-Northern Region||Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, and Todd Counties|
|Diversion||Diversion is a practice that assists households in a housing crisis to return to housing or identify alternative housing outside the crisis response system. Diversion utilizes mainstream resources and mediation techniques to assist the household in identifying alternative housing options, including, but not limited to, returning to their own housing, staying with family/friends, or relocation to another area.|
|FHPAP (Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program)||
Family Homeless Prevention Assistance Program.
The purpose of the program is to support continuing innovation and development of a comprehensive system to prevent homelessness and to assist people experiencing homelessness minimize the number of days homeless and eliminate repeat episodes of homelessness.
|Google Docs||A Google document is the NON-SHARED priority list for Veterans, DV survivors and minors.|
HSS (Housing Stabilization
|Housing Stabilization Services is a new Minnesota Medical Assistance benefit to help people with disabilities, including mental illness and substance use disorder, and to help seniors find housing and stay stably housed.|
Extent of Homelessness by Minnesota’s Definition: The State of Minnesota defines as homeless “any individual, unaccompanied youth or family that is without a permanent place to live that is fit for human habitation.” Doubling-up is considered homeless if that arrangement has persisted less than 1 year.
The State of Minnesota defines an individual, unaccompanied youth, or family as “Long-Term Homeless” if they are without a home for a year or more OR have had at least four (4) episodes of homelessness in the past three (3) years. Any period of institutionalization or incarceration (including transitional housing, prison/jail, treatment, hospitals, foster care, or refugee camps) shall be excluded when determining the length of time the household has been homeless.
|The Housing Support program pays for room and board for seniors and adults with disabilities who have low incomes. The program aims to reduce and prevent people from living in institutions or becoming homeless.|
(High Priority Homeless)
Households (individuals, families with children, or youth) prioritized for permanent supportive housing through the Coordinated Entry (CE) system.
It is simply the household on top of the priority list for supportive housing that meets the eligibility criteria for the housing unit.
|HMIS (Homeless Management Information System)||Homeless Management Information System – homeless data reporting system which also manages the Coordinated Entry Priority List.|
(Housing and Urban Development)
HUD’s homeless definition consists of four categories:
(1) Literal Homeless
(2) Imminent Risk of Homelessness
(3) Homeless under other Federal statutes (currently no MN project is approved to use this category)
(4) Fleeing/Attempting to Flee Domestic Violence
|ICA (Institute for Community Alliances)||(HMIS administrator) ICA functions as the HMIS Lead Agency and/or HMIS System Administrator in 14 states, providing technical assistance and training support.|
LH (Literally Homeless)
Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, meaning:
i. Has a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not meant for human habitation; or
ii. is living in a publicly or privately operated shelter designated to provide temporary living arrangements; or
iii. is exiting an institution where (s)he has resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution.
(Long Term Homeless)
|LTH-Long Term Homeless Persons including individuals, unaccompanied youth, or families with children who lack a permanent place to live continuously for a year or more or at least four times in the past three years adding up to 12 months. Any period of institutionalization or incarceration shall be excluded when determining the length of time a household has been homeless.|
Households who are MN Homeless continuously for a year or more or at least four times in the past three years.
Minnesota’s definition does not require that the person have a disabling condition.
Four times do not need to add up to a year.
|Progressive Engagement||In a Progressive Engagement (PE) approach, a family seeking housing receives a small amount of assistance, tailored to their most critical need, with a keen focus on quickly resolving the housing crisis. The family keeps in regular contact with their provider to see if support was successful.|
(Permanent Supportive Housing)
|PSH-Permanent Supportive Housing is potential indefinite leasing or rental assistance paired with supportive services to assist homeless persons.|
|Priority List is a master list of households seeking designated homeless supportive housing in the Central MN Region.|
(Priority List Manager)
|Priority List Manager is responsible for coordinating referrals, providing CES training, HMIS data quality and monitoring the CES system performance.|
|Provider||Agency providing homeless program services and/or rental assistance.|
|Racial Equity||Racial equity is a condition that will be achieved when all groups have access to the resources and opportunities necessary to eliminate disparities and improve quality of life. To move toward racial equity, organizational culture must prioritize humanity. People need the ability to work with the dignity of having their histories acknowledged and their life experiences valued. Only then will companies be able to recruit and retain the thriving, diverse workforce that leaders and customers want — and need — in the next decade, and beyond.|
|Rapid Rehousing programs move households from homelessness into permanent housing as quickly as possible. Programs use the Housing First philosophy, which offers housing without preconditions such as employment, income, lack of a criminal background, or sobriety.|
|SPMI (Severe and Persistent Mental Illness)||Serious and Persistent Mental Illness is defined as a diagnosis of schizophrenia or a major affective disorder, resulting in lifelong disabling conditions that impair personal and social functioning.” The SPMI category includes Major Depression, Bipolar Disorders, Schizophrenia and Borderline Personality Disorder.|
|SH (Safe Harbor)||Safe Harbor laws are primarily designed to steer young victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking away from juvenile justice system involvement by prohibiting their arrest and prosecution as criminals.|
|Transitional Housing (TH) is designed to provide individuals and families experiencing homelessness with the interim stability and support to successfully move to, and maintain, permanent housing. Transitional Housing may be used to cover the costs of up to 24 months of housing with accompanying supportive services.|
|The Assessment Tool||The VI SPDAT- Vulnerability Index (VI) & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool is currently in use until a new tool is developed.|
|Tribal Sovereignty||Tribal Sovereignty in the United States is the concept of the inherent authority of Indigenous tribes to govern themselves within the borders of the United States.|
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
CONTINUUM OF CARE GOVERNING BOARD ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The CES is monitored by the Central MN CoC Full Membership and Central MN CoC Governing Board. The Central MN CoC Governing Board will have final approval on all CES policies, procedures, and the assessment tool. The Governing Board will review the CE Policies and Procedures annually along with any recommendations from the CE Advisory Committee.
COORDINATED ENTRY ADVISORY COMMITTEE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Coordinated Entry Advisory Committee is responsible for developing and implementing the Coordinated Entry System in the Central MN CoC region.
Responsibilities of this Committee will be:
- To develop and implement plans to establish a coordinated system.
- Review HMIS data to identify the racial disparities in our homeless response system and make recommendations to the CoC Governing Board regarding changes for an equitable system.
- Make recommendations on changes to policies and procedures to ensure best practices and to make recommendations for training users and evaluating the CES.
Membership includes any persons interested in coordinated assessment, designated coordinated assessment providers and county government. The Coordinated Entry Advisory Committee reports directly to the Central MN CoC Governing Board.
PRIORITY LIST MANAGER ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Manage the Central CoC’s CES Priority List
- Coordinate with other Priority List Managers in MN to ensure households are referred to the appropriate community of their choice
- Provide CES HMIS reports to the Central CoC on a monthly basis
- Prepare and submit required CES reports to the State and HUD
- Facilitate and participate in regular CES meetings to ensure the CES System is working properly
- Communicate policy and procedures to the entire CoC.
- Provide CES trainings annually, and as needed
- Monitor data quality of all agencies and notify agencies of inaccuracy of data
- Provide referrals to housing providers within 3 business days of notification of housing vacancy
- Coordinate weekly prioritization calls with Central CoC Regions
- Monitor denials and follow up as needed to address concerns
- Monitor and report any pending referrals over 7 business days
NAVIGATOR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Navigators will gather verification needed to certify LTH, HPH and CH
- Navigators will help gather disability documentation for those eligible for Navigation services
- Navigators attend weekly Case Conference Calls and Navigator meetings
- Navigators will take over the Priority List Manager responsibilities and Case Conferencing when the Priority List Manager is out for more than 3 days. Agencies will receive an email notification when this occurs.
Support LTH (Long Term Homeless), HPH (High Priority Homeless) and CH (Chronic Household) families, singles & youth within the Central CoC (Continuum of Care) through the Central CoC Coordinated Entry System (CES).
Assist eligible CES households by certifying CH, LTH, HPH status and updating CES information in HMIS and maintaining ongoing contact with households until housing has been secured. Weekly Case Conference Call/Navigator Call/CE Monthly Meeting participation is mandatory.
CE Navigators assist targeted participants between assessment and housing referral to increase participant likelihood of getting housed and help housing programs with documenting eligibility.
What Housing Navigators CAN and CANNOT Do:
What Housing Navigators CAN Do
What Housing Navigators CANNOT Do
Certify LTH, HPH and CH status
Certify homelessness for all households
Provide referrals to shelter and mainstream resources
Complete entire housing intake for other housing providers
Maintain follow up contact with LTH, HPH and CH on the Priority List at minimum every 30 days
Maintain contact with all households on the Central Priority List
|Assist LTH, HPH, CH household with CES referral process||
Be responsible for all CES referrals
Complete VI-SPDATs as needed but should be on rare occasions
Complete all VI-SPDATs for the Central CoC
Select navigation referrals from the Priority List
in absence of PLM
Receive Navigation referrals or requests directly from other providers in the community
|Receive navigation referrals from the CE List Manager||
Provide services on behalf of agency or program
|Provide services on behalf of CoC||
Outreach to persons/households who have not already been assessed
Update person/household information in assessments as needed
Share person/household information without proper release of information
Outreach to LTH/HPH/CH households already on the Priority List to update status
Provide navigation services without information on person/household current status
Confer with street outreach in non-contact cases to reestablish connection
Provide case management
|Assist with resource applications if other help is not available||
Complete applications for resources when other help is available (SOAR, MNsure Navigators, etc.)
Navigator referrals documented in HMIS for non-contact cases to be removed off the PL until person/household reinitiates
Report and document in HMIS non-contact cases to be removed off the PL until person/household reinitiates
|Obtain consent to assist person/household with navigation||
Discriminate based upon race or any other protected status
|Describe navigation services to person/household|
|Identify mainstream resources the person/household may be eligible for|
Help person/household to collect eligibility documentation for potential housing opportunities homeless status, disability
|Help person/household identify and describe sources of income|
|Connect person/household to housing providers seeking referrals in absence of PLM|
|Provide a handoff and introductions for person/household and housing provider|
|Value racial equity to ensure fair and equal treatment to all households.|
The Navigator Process:
Priority List Manager (PLM) may assign up to ten (10) new CH, LTH, HPH referrals per week to Navigators to certify via Navigator Referral Google Docs.
Housing referrals with Navigators on copy will also assist on certifying those households as CH/LTH/HPH.
The Referral Process
Eligible referrals will include:
- A completed Step 2 assessment in HMIS or paper assessment for Google Doc households
- VI-SPDAT completed .
- Has a history of LTH, CH or HPH.
- Housing Navigator will contact the household and explain the housing navigation If the household accepts the housing navigation services, Housing Navigator will screen for LTH, CH or HPH status.
- If the household does not meet any qualifying status, the Housing Navigator will contact the assessor and Central CoC PLM. The assessor will be responsible for being the contact person and maintaining contact with the household until they are successfully enrolled in a housing program.
- If the household meets LTH, CH, or HPH status, the Housing Navigator will maintain contact with the household until they are successfully enrolled in a housing program.
- Navigator(s) will update Google Docs with specific informational updates by putting date first and then notes, contact attempt, and final certification.
- If the Head of Household does not stay in contact with the Navigator and is removed from the Priority List, the Household will also be removed from Navigation services following policies & procedures on removing participants from the Priority List.
- PLM/Navigators will then utilize the Navigator Referral Google Docs and PL and refer certified households to housing providers.
- If the Household resurfaces and is eligible to be placed back on the Priority List:
- Households who were previously certified LTH/CH/HPH: It will be at the professional discretion of the Navigator whether the person will be added back to the Navigation Workflow.
- Households who were not previously certified LTH/CH/HPH: If the household has not worked with the Navigator on completing their LTH/CH/HPH documentation while enrolled in the Navigator workflow for over 1 year, it will be the responsibility of the assessor who places them back on the Coordinated Entry Priority List to complete it.
ASSESSOR/ASSESSMENT SITES ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A trained and approved assessor will conduct The Assessment Tool. (ex. VI-SPDAT) in order to identify linkage to appropriate housing intervention (Prevention, Transitional Housing, Rapid-Rehousing, Permanent Housing or Permanent Supportive Housing).
Housing Assessment Sites are expected to:
- Make referrals to homeless housing services through the Central CES CoC prioritization list or Google Docs list.
- Understand the CES as a whole and the constraints of the system (i.e., housing is not guaranteed).
- Assure compliance with data privacy and policies.
- Follow CES Process to complete the Assessment Tool to determine appropriate service connections, linkages, and referrals.
- Gather the information that will determine what kind of assistance a client will receive, or whether they will qualify.
- Attend required HMIS, CES and CoC trainings.
- Assessors are responsible for delivering assessments as culturally responsive and trauma informed as possible. (Sensitive to past trauma experiences)
- Talk about Diversion with all clients by giving options/resources.
- Practice Progressive Engagement. (See Acronyms/Definitions)
- Enter Assessment Tool Score and supplemental assessment questions into HMIS under the Central CoC CES Assessment EDA.
- Document 3-year housing history (Documenting Homeless Status & Eligibility).
- Follow CES Process to track and update each household until the household is linked to an appropriate housing intervention, or until services are no longer needed.
- Stress importance of regular check-ins. (HUD requires there must be an updated note in HMIS every 30 days)
- Document notes within the HMIS Entry/Exit tab using the following format: Date, note, agency, staff name and phone number.
- Data entry and notes must be entered into HMIS or CES Google Docs within 3 business days from the completed assessment.
- Update in HMIS with any changes to where a household is willing to live, contact information, medical conditions, current living situations, or any other pertinent information including check in dates under the notes section.
- Assure compliance with data privacy and policies, including having those assessed sign HMIS ROI as applicable and the CES ROI for all assessments completed. Failure to do so will result in removal from the priority list.
- Update the assessment in HMIS or CES Google Docs until the household is linked to an appropriate housing intervention, or until services are no longer needed.
- Remove households assessed when household is no longer eligible for housing through CES, no longer in need, or unable to maintain contact after three attempts within 45 days. (one contact must be the first week of the month).
- Assessor or Assessor’s supervisor will notify CES staff when assessor is leaving position and will no longer be assessing.
HOUSING PROVIDER ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES, & WORKFLOW
Housing Providers will collaborate with designated Access and Assessment sites to streamline access to ALL homeless dedicated housing programs and beds. Housing Providers are expected to:
- Assure compliance with data privacy and policies.
- Provide program preferences and eligibility criteria in writing to CES.
- Utilize the CES process to fill program vacancies based on priority scoring, eligibility criteria, and program preferences.
- Once acknowledged, the Housing provider will attempt to contact the household at least 3 separate times based on program requirements before returning the household back to the priority list with Documentation of attempts in HMIS.
- Housing provider meets with household (either in person or via phone) and screen for program eligibility.
- Verify information. Ask if information is still correct or if any information has changed – housing status, household composition, or other major life situation (medical, mental health).
- Gathers documentation for program eligibility.
- Follow-up with Assessor to ensure a smooth transition to the program and to coordinate notifying and offering housing to household.
- If denied, follow the CES process for denials including follow-up with the CES Assessor.
- Remove households referred when household is no longer in need or unable to maintain contact after three attempts within 45 days. One contact must be the first week of the month.
- Keep household information updated in HMIS according to the CES Process (ex. entry date, program openings, service transactions, and exit date).
- Provide feedback for annual CES evaluation.
- Attend required HMIS, CoC, and CES trainings.
STEPS IN USING CES
REQUIRMENT FOR USING CES TO FILL PROGRAM OPENINGS
CES participating providers will enroll new participants from the CoC’s CES referral process. A housing provider receiving HUD funding must participate in CE, and selection of program participants must be consistent with the CE process. The State of Minnesota’s homeless designated funding also prioritizes households from the CE Priority List to fill the units.
Case conference phone calls occur weekly between CES PLM, Navigators, housing providers and case managers to discuss openings. Programs advocate and recommend referrals for open programs. At minimum, assessors and housing providers should be in attendance to update information 3 times a month.
REQUESTING A REFERRAL FOR PROGRAM OPENING
Housing providers will complete the Housing Opening Request Referral form in Google Docs and email it to the Priority List Manager and area Navigator. Openings will be discussed during the weekly CES Case Conferencing meeting. Contact the Priority List Manager to inform them when there is an opening within three (3) business days of a vacancy notice.
RECEIVING A REFERRAL
The Priority List Manager/Navigator will identify eligible households from the Priority List and Google Docs. When making a referral from the Priority List or Google Docs, the Priority List Manger/Navigator will send the household’s HMIS number to the housing provider following HMIS protocol. The housing provider will look up the household’s information in HMIS and contact the household directly or using an alternate contact or via the assessor.
When making a referral from Google Docs the Priority List Manger/Navigator will send the housing provider the assessor’s name and contact information. The housing provider will coordinate with the assessor to obtain the household’s contact information.
ACKNOWLEDGING A REFERRAL
The housing provider will acknowledge the referral in HMIS to temporarily remove the household from the Priority List. Housing providers MUST acknowledge the referral in HMIS or update information on Google Docs for non-data sharing households within 1 – 3 BUSINESS DAYS.
RESPECTING CLIENT CHOICE
If more than one unit is available, inform the client of the type, location and qualities of each program and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each option. Projects targeted towards specific sub-populations (i.e., DV, Veterans, Tribal, and youth) should share benefits of these population specific program designs. For rural and programs not near public transportation or centrally located to services, address a plan for transportation, support services, and access to key services like groceries and childcare.
If household is not eligible or denies housing program from:
- HMIS: the housing provider will update referral, with notes, in HMIS and refer household back to Central CoC Priority List.
- Google Docs: Housing provider will notify Priority List Manager of denial.
ACCEPTING A REFERRAL
When a household is eligible and accepts a housing program from:
- HMIS: Housing provider will update referral and complete program intake and enroll the household into the housing program.
- Google Docs: Housing provider will notify the PLM of program acceptance. PLM will remove the household from Google Docs and add household to the HOUSED tab on Google Docs.
Regular check-in with the household to inquire on housing search. Agencies should be offering housing search assistance and offer local resources to reduce barriers for households. The CoC encourages agencies to consider the barriers of the household and advocate and support them as much as possible during housing search. The CoC has not set any timeline on closing out a household if progress of housing search remains active.
DOCUMENTATION OF DENIALS OR INELIGIBILITY
Housing providers agree to accept all appropriate referrals based on CoC policies, system mapping, and HUD requirement to prioritize the most vulnerable in CoC funded permanent supportive housing. Agencies must document in HMIS why a household is denied/refused. Google Doc referrals will be documented by emailing the Priority List Manager. The CoC retains the right to case conference and challenge denials they feel are inappropriate via the CES Review Committee.
Denials fall into two categories:
- Ineligibility occurs if a referral is made inaccurately or if they do not meet the eligibility criteria. The agency shall contact the referral source (assessor) and Priority List Manager within 3 business days to document the inaccurate referral so clarification can be made, and further inaccurate referrals prevented. If the criteria are not current or complete, the agency has 3 business days to contact the Priority List Manager with correct criteria. In either case, the agency must contact the household within 3 business days or make arrangements with the assessors to do so.
- Other reasons for denial the agency must update the reason for denial in HMIS or email PLM for Google Doc referrals. The Priority List Manager will have 5 business days to review the denial. The client will be notified of the status after review within 3 business days and may be offered other housing if available during that period. If a provider denies 3 sequential referrals, they will be required to participate in a meeting with the CoC Coordinator and Priority List Manager to review reasons for sequential denials.
- More information in the following sections:
- PARTICIPANT AUTONOMY
- PARTICIPANT DECLINED REFERRALS
The Central MN CoC carries out its activities throughout 13 Minnesota counties.
The large geographic region is grouped into three geographic regions:
Eastern Region: Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine
Northern Region: Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd
Central Region: Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright
AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING AND OUTREACH
Marketing and outreach of Central CoC’s CES will be done in the following ways:
CALL TO CONNECT
Call to Connect 866-560-7464 is the Central CoC’s toll free number to connect individuals or families who are experiencing or about to experience homelessness to access and assessment sites.
Call to Connect will refer you to one of these six extensions:
201 St. Cloud, Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, or Wright Counties
202 Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, or Pine Counties
203 Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, or Todd Counties
204 Youth ages 16-24
205 Domestic Violence
The Call to Connect business card and flyers are available in English, Spanish, and Somali. Flyers are posted throughout the 13 Counties and business cards are distributed to Assessor’s/Agencies to hand out as needed.
SAFETY PLANNING AND RISK ASSESSMENT
Central MN CoC will ensure that survivors of domestic violence and those attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking will have access to resources regardless of which access point they initially contact seeking crisis services.
Individuals fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence and victims of trafficking must have safe and confidential access to the coordinated entry process and victim services, including access to the comparable process used by victim service providers, as applicable, and immediate access to emergency services such as domestic violence hotlines and shelter.
Source: HUD Coordinated Entry Notice: Section II.B.10
Providers throughout Central MN CoC will complete annual training to implement best practices and utilize Trauma Informed approaches. Training on Trauma Informed care, cultural trauma, domestic violence, and trafficking will be available throughout the CoC.
Central MN CE system has local domestic violence hotlines, which are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that all persons who are fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence or sexual assault have immediate access to crisis response services.
FOR IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-8233
Minnesota Day One Crisis Hotline 1-866-223-1111
National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
Northern Region: (Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd Counties)
Women’s Center of Mid Minnesota 218-828-1216
Eastern Region: (Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Pine Counties)
Family Pathways Black Dog 1-800-338-SAFE (7233)
Mille Lacs Shelter 1-866-867-4006
Pearl Crisis Center 1-800-933-6914
Central Region: (Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright Counties)
Anna Marie’s Alliance 320-253-6900 or 320-251-7203
Men’s Crisis Line 612-379-6367
Central Minnesota Sexual Assault Center 800-237-5090 or 320-251-4357
Rivers of Hope 763-295-3433
Breaking Free (Sex Trafficking) 651-645-6557 or 651-219-9287
Terebinth Refuge (Sex Trafficking) 320-428-4707 Call or Text
The CE system must adhere to all jurisdictionally relevant civil rights and fair housing laws and regulations. The CoC has designated the CE Governing Committee as the entity responsible for monitoring agencies compliance with all CE requirements including adherence to civil rights and fair housing laws and regulations. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations will result in a monitoring finding on the project, which may affect its position in the local CoC rating and ranking process.
Central MN Continuum of Care (MN-505) is required to develop and operate a coordinated entry process that permits recipients of Federal and State funds to comply with applicable civil rights and fair housing laws and requirements. Recipients and subrecipients of CoC Program and ESG Program-funded projects must comply with the nondiscrimination and equal opportunity provisions of Federal civil rights laws as specified at 24 C.F.R. 5.105(a), including, but not limited to the following:
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory housing practices based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or familial status; The Minnesota Human Rights Act (Chapter 363A of the Minnesota Statutes) also prohibits discrimination based on marital status, public assistance status, and sexual orientation.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination based on disability under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance; and
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits public entities, which includes state and local governments, and special purpose districts, from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in all their services, programs, and activities, which include housing, and housing-related services such as housing search and referral assistance.
- Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits private entities that own, lease, and operate places of public accommodation, which include shelters, social service establishments, and other public accommodations providing housing, from discriminating based on disability.
In addition, HUD’s Equal Access Rule at 24 CFR 5.105(a)(2) prohibits discriminatory eligibility determinations in HUD-assisted or HUD-insured housing programs based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status, including any projects funded by the CoC Program, ESG Program, and HOPWA Program. The CoC Program interim rule also contains a fair housing provision at 24 CFR 578.93. For ESG, see 24 CFR 576.407(a) and (b), and for HOPWA, see 24 CFR 574.603.
The CoC Program interim rule at 24 CFR 578.93(c) also requires recipients of CoC Program funds to affirmatively market their housing and supportive services to eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, familial status, or disability who are least likely to apply in the absence of special outreach and maintain records of those marketing activities. Housing assisted by HUD and made available through the CoC must also be made available to individuals and families without regard to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status in accordance with 24 CFR 5.105 (a)(2). Nondiscrimination and affirmative outreach requirements for the ESG program are located at 24 CFR § 576.407(a) and (b).
EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY
The policy of Central MN Continuum of Care (MN-505) is to provide equal opportunity and equal consideration to all peoples without regard to race, religion, ancestry, national origin, color, creed, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or public assistance status.
DELIVERY OF SERVICES
Central MN CoC, its member agencies, its recipients of CoC, ESG, or HOPWA funds, and its CES agents and partners shall not discriminate or treat unequally or unfairly in the delivery of services any person because of race, religion, ancestry, national origin, color, creed, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or public assistance status; and will comply with all federal, state, and local anti-discrimination laws.
AFFIRMATIVE MARKETING AND OUTREACH
Central MN CoC, its member agencies, its recipients of CoC, ESG, or HOPWA funds, and its CES agents and partners shall affirmatively market access to CE (and as a result to the housing and services available through CE) to eligible persons regardless of race, religion, ancestry, national origin, color, creed, sex, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or public assistance status who are least likely to apply in the absence of special outreach, and maintain records of those marketing activities.
OBLIGATION TO INFORM
Central MN CoC, its member agencies, its recipients of CoC, ESG, or HOPWA funds, and its CES agents and partners shall inform in plain writing all persons seeking services of these policies and the process for filing a nondiscrimination complaint.
REPORTING A NONDISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT
At any time during the CE process, applicants for housing or services have the right to file a complaint, should they feel that the non-discrimination principle has been violated. All applicants, whether individuals or families, will be provided with the process for filing a complaint. All complaints will be addressed and resolved in a timely and fair manner.
The following three contacts will be provided to address discrimination or grievance related concerns:
- For nondiscrimination complaints, contact the Department of Housing & Urban Development, Chicago Regional Office: (800) 765-9372 or https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/onlinecomplaint or Minnesota Department of Human Rights: 651-539-1100 or Toll Free at 1-800-657-3704
- For complaints with the CE policies or procedures in Central MN CoC, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- For housing program related complaints, grievances will be directed to the appropriate housing provider for resolution.
Central MN CoC policy is that the CoC, its member agencies and its CES agents and partners shall not retaliate against a person who files a charge of discrimination, participates in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise opposes an unlawful practice.
Access is the first point of contact for a person experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness requesting services. An access site is an existing agency or point-of-contact where households facing a housing crisis are screened for entry to, or diversion from, the regional homeless response system. The Central CoC has a no wrong door approach in which a homeless family or individual can present at any homeless housing and service provider in the geographic area.
DESIGNATED ACCESS POINTS
An existing agency or point-of-contact where households facing a housing crisis are screened for entry to, or diversion from, the regional homeless response system. Access sites are throughout the 13-county region. They are easily accessed in person or virtually. Access points will refer households to agencies for specialized services. To reduce transportation barriers, assessors meet households where they are staying. Street outreach workers/Assessors can complete assessments wherever households are staying including but not limited to, shelters, libraries, and encampments.
A new agency may become an access site by completing the Central CoC CES training, The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and Central CES Partnership Agreement. The CES Coordinator will recruit, review, and approve these documents. Access sites must agree to follow all CoC, HMIS, CES and HUD guidelines, processes, documentation, and reporting requirements. Access sites must attend CES COC trainings to fully understand and comply with all requirements.
A list of current access sites is located in ASSESSMENT-Steps of Coordinated Entry.
Central MN CoC’s entire geographic area is accessible to the CE process either through agencies that cover specific counties as access points or through our Call to Connect information and referral hotline that is accessible throughout the entire Central MN CoC region. Assessors will meet individuals where they are at in the most rural of areas and Street Outreach workers are present at shelters, libraries, and encampments.
Call to Connect 866-560-7464 is the Central CoC’s toll free number to quickly connect individuals or families who are experiencing homelessness to access and assessment sites. Call to Connect provides access to basic Coordinated Entry intake services 24 hours a day and can be contacted from any location within the CoC. Call to Connect flyers and business cards are available in English, Spanish and Somali and posted with agencies/organizations throughout Central MN CoC.
ACCESSIBILITY OF ACCESS SITES
Central Mn CoC will ensure that Coordinated Entry services are easily accessible to persons with mobility barriers.
All CE communications and documentation will be accessible to persons with limited ability to read and understand English. Central MN CE will ensure that CE materials are available in English, Spanish, and Somali. CE participating agencies will provide communication accommodations through translation services to effectively and clearly communicate with persons who have disabilities, as well as with any person with limited English proficiency. CE will provide visually and audibly accessible CE materials when requested by agencies or participants in CE.
In addition, to reduce telephone and transportation barriers to accessing the coordinated entry system Assessors will travel to meet households experiencing homelessness where they are at throughout the 13-county region but more specifically in the most rural areas.
DIVERSION AND PREVENTION
Diversion is a practice that assists households in housing crisis to return to housing or identify alternative housing outside the crisis response system. The goal of Diversion is to find a housing solution, even if temporary, that stabilizes housing without shelter. Diversion utilizes mainstream resources and mediation techniques to assist the household in identifying alternative housing options including, but not limited to, returning to their own housing, setting up a payment plan with a landlord, staying with family/friends, or relocation to another area. The Priority List Manager will provide Diversion training.
Prevention will be used whenever possible to prevent households from entering the homeless response system. The CE system will ensure that all potentially eligible Homeless Prevention participants will be screened for Homelessness Prevention or Diversion assistance, regardless of the access point at which they initially seek assistance. Prevention assistance services may be ESG program funded or other homelessness prevention funds that are available locally. Through communication and collaborative partnerships, Homeless Prevention programs and other homeless assistance programs will coordinate information and referrals to ensure persons at imminent risk of homelessness are provided coordinated access to CoC homelessness prevention services.
Resources are located on Central Minnesota’s Housing Partnership website:
- Nine Steps to Diversion
- Central MN CoC Matrix
HOUSING CRISIS SCREENING OR PREVENTION SCREENING
The Housing Crisis Screening is designed to reduce the number of households entering the homeless response system by diverting to mainstream resources or prevention services. The tool will assist in determining if a household should be directed in 1 of 3 directions:
- Diversion to Mainstream Resources:
Connecting households to assistance for food support, Veterans’ services, county social services, employment and job training, medical assistance, social security, mental health, etc.
Problem solving with household:
- Able to stay with family or friends?
- Able to return to housing in another city/county/state?
- Seek other financial assistance or support services to utilize money for rent (food support, rent assistance (FHPAP Providers), county EA, gas $) from church, county, family, friends, or co-workers
- Ask landlord for a payment plan
- Referral to homeless services:
Emergency Shelter (facility or voucher). If no immediate shelter is available, the household can be directly referred or complete The Assessment Tool.
CE initial screening and assessment services may only be available during business hours. During non-business hours, prospective participants may access emergency services and shelter (when and where available) without first receiving an assessment through CE. CE screening and assessment will be completed on all ES participants within 3 days after entry into ES.
Households may contact 911 for after hour emergencies. Individuals may access emergency services such as Domestic Violence and Trafficking hotlines 24 hours a day. Mobile Mental Health Crisis Hotlines are available throughout Central CoC.
Street Outreach teams will function as access points to the CE process. Street Outreach will seek to engage persons who may be served through CE but who are not seeking assistance or are unable to seek assistance via projects that offer crisis housing or emergency shelter. Along with providing basic needs, information, referral, and connection to resources for those experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
STANDARDIZED ASSESSMENT APPROACH
The Central MN CE process will utilize a standardized assessment process for all participants, ensuring uniform decision-making and coordination of care for persons experiencing a housing crisis.
All persons served by CE will be assessed using the Common Assessment Tool. All Access points must use this tool to ensure that all persons served are assessed in a consistent manner while using the same process. The Common Assessment Tool assesses vulnerability of participants to be referred to the appropriate level of housing and support services.
STAGES OF COORDINATED ENTRY
STEPS OF COORDINATED ENTRY
The assessment process will progressively collect only enough participant information to prioritize and refer participants to available CoC housing and support services. Households will not be screened out for housing and services based on their protected class status, such as a particular disability. The CE process may collect and document participants’ membership in Civil Rights protected classes but will not consider membership in a protected class as justification for restricting, limiting, or steering participants to referral options.
The Central MN CE is prohibited from screening people out of the coordinated entry process due to race and/or perceived barriers to housing or services, including, but not limited to, too little or no income, active or a history of substance abuse, domestic violence history, resistance to receiving services, the type or extent of disability-related services or supports that are needed, history of evictions or poor credit, lease violations or history of not being a leaseholder, or criminal record.
Source: HUD Coordinated Entry Notice: Section II.B.
The CoC is committed to ensuring that all staff receive sufficient training to implement the CE system effectively and in accordance with the policies and procedures of the CE system.
All assessors using The Assessment Tool are required to attend the CoC CES training prior to administering The Assessment Tool. All access, assessment, and housing providers must complete the Central CES initial, 6 month follow up, and annual training for persons who will manage access point processes and conduct assessments. Topics for training may include: What is Coordinated Entry, Expectations, Diversion, Prevention, Progressive Engagement, Common Errors and Referrals etc.
If an agency continues to have incomplete or inaccurate data, the Priority List Manager and HMIS Staff will schedule a one-on-one training with assessment site staff and their supervisor.
THE CURRENT ASSESSMENT TOOL
The Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT) is a common assessment tool that is designed to be used by providers to quickly assess the health and social needs of homeless persons and match them with the most appropriate support and housing interventions that are available.
Step 1 is completed prior to giving the VI-SPDAT
The VI-SPDAT is a component of the Step 2 phase, it is NOT the only step in this phase.
SELECT THE APPROPRIATE VI-SPDAT
SINGLE – single adult or adult couple without children. Each adult should complete their own VI-SPDAT but utilize provider expertise. Ideally, they should be conducted privately.
FAMILY – Adult single or couple with children under age 18 years. Use provider expertise to determine if one or more VI-SPDATs should be used.
YOUTH – unaccompanied single or couple under age 24 with or without children. Each person should complete their own VI-SPDAT but utilize provider expertise. Recommend using the family VI-SPDAT for parenting youth but utilize provider expertise.
COMPLETE THE VI-SPDAT IN THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS
SHELTER: 7-14 days or assessor expertise should be used to determine if the VI-SPDAT should be done immediately. This time frame is recommended because an estimated 20-25% of households can self-resolve with lesser resources or will leave the service area.
HUD HOMELESS: Households who have been in shelter for 7-14 days or longer.
UNSHELTERED: Households who are literally homeless with no access to shelter, should be assessed immediately or as soon as possible.
DOUBLED UP: Households who are doubled up for greater than 30 days and less than 12 months who have not resolved their housing crisis.
- Households who meet the Homeless or Long-Term Homeless definition, prior to residing in a Housing Support congregate setting will be added to the Priority List if they are seeking housing in the community.
- Households who have been placed in a Housing Support congregate setting will be reassessed and placed back on the Priority List within 90 days prior to exiting current programming.
- Households enrolled in a 12-month Transitional Housing Program will remain on the Priority List during enrollment until they are referred to another program, their housing crisis is resolved, or they are no longer eligible to remain on the Priority List.
WORKFLOW OF VI-SPDAT
Assessor completes Step 2: Greater MN Housing Assessment and VI-SPDAT to determine the most appropriate housing intervention and obtain priority score. The VI-SPDAT can be completed on paper or on screen in HMIS and is intended to be completed in one meeting but may take place in more than one meeting.
The script and each question shall be read in the order that is listed.
- Each question must be asked. Most questions only require a “yes” or “no” answer. A household can refuse to answer a question.
- Observation is utilized in a few questions.
- Assessor may re-ask or re-phrase a question if the person does not understand the question. You may also ask a clarifying question if there is more to the answer or rephrase/clarify (“please say more about that”)
- No opinions or judgements should occur.
Assessor records housing assessment information and Assessment score in HMIS, or in Google Docs for households opting out of data sharing. Assessor updates HMIS information as necessary (change in household status-birth, death, marriage, disability, housing, health, custody). Accurate HMIS data and household information is an expectation of the assessor to ensure household is receiving appropriate referrals and resources.
UPDATING THE ASSESSMENT
HUD guidelines require Assessors to follow-up with clients every 30 days and to document any changes in HMIS.
Participant assessment information should be updated at least once a year, if the participant is served by CE for more than 12 months.
All participating agency staff will update participant records as new or updated information becomes available.
CoCs should continuously work to improve participant engagement strategies to achieve completion rates of required HMIS data elements that are as high as possible.
It is crucial that persons served by the CoC’s CE system have the autonomy to identify whether they are uncomfortable or unable to answer any questions during the assessment process, or to refuse a referral that has been made to them. In both instances, the refusal of the participant to respond to assessment questions or to accept a referral shall not adversely affect their position on the CE’s priority list.
Note that some funders require collection and documentation of a participant’s disability or other characteristics or attributes as a condition for determining eligibility. Participants who choose not to provide information in these instances could be limiting potential referral options.
CE participating agencies are required to notify and obtain participant consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of participants’ personally identifiable information (PII).
A participant’s request for housing crisis response assistance initiated through phone or email communication will be considered notification of intent and inferred to be client consent to collect, use, and disclose that PII collected via phone or email. CE participating agencies shall obtain written client consent from the participant when he or she comes in and additional data is collected during an in-person assessment.
DISCLOSURE OF A DISABILITY OR DIAGNOSTIC INFORMATION
Throughout the assessment process, participants must not be pressured or forced to provide CE staff with information that they do not wish to disclose, including specific disability or medical diagnosis information. Do not put disability information into HMIS other than what is required.
Central MN CoC will utilize data collected through the CE system to prioritize households experiencing homelessness within its region. Priority will also be determined by State and Federal program requirements for funding.
The Priority List is sorted by The Assessment Tool score, eligibility (service area, population, etc.), length of time on Priority List, and household type.
Take highest score in appropriate housing category.
Permanent SH, LTH
CENTRAL MN COC CE PRIORITIZATION APPROVED 6-1-21
CURRENT PSH PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA ORDER:
- HUD Homeless : (Descending order: Yes, No, Missing)
- Chronically Homeless : (Descending order: Yes, No, Missing)
- Disabling Condition : (Descending order from Yes, No, Data Not Collected, Client refused, Client doesn’t know, Missing)
- HUD Months Homeless: (Descending order, Total number of months)
- VI-SPDAT Score: (Descending order, Highest to lowest score)
- Prior Residence Category: (Descending order: Unsheltered, ES, TH, Other)
CURRENT TH/RRH PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA ORDER:
- VI-SPDAT Score: (Descending order, Highest to lowest score)
- Prior Residence Category: (Descending order: Unsheltered, ES, TH, Other)
PROPOSED PSH/TH/RRH PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA ORDER: APPROVED 6-1-21
- HUD Homeless : (Descending order: Yes, No, Missing)
- Chronically Homeless : (Descending order: Yes, No, Missing)
- Disabling Condition : (Descending order from Yes, No, Data Not Collected, Client refused, Client doesn’t know, Missing)
- HUD Months Homeless: (Descending order, Total number of months)
- MN Long Term Homeless (Descending order, Yes, No, Missing)
- MN Months Homeless (Descending order, Total number of months)
- Length of time on the Coordinated Entry Priority List (Descending order, Total number of days)
PROPOSED PSH-ONLY PRIORITIZATION CRITERIA: APPROVED 6-1-21
CLIENTS WOULD HAVE TO MEET ONE OF THESE CRITERIA TO BE CONSIDERED FOR PLACEMENT IN PSH PROGRAMS (TO APPEAR ON THE PSH TAB).
- Disability Type (SMI, Alcohol, substance use disorder, Mental Health, Developmental, physical illness injury or incapacity)
- Prior Residence Category: (Same as current, can we add couch hopping?)
HUD GUIDANCE ON NEXT MOST VULNERABLE
If the household referred is considered the next most vulnerable, the service provider may serve them. For example- if the PLM makes an initial determination that a household meets the HUD chronic homeless definition, however, after further assessment the household does not meet chronic but does meet HUD literal homeless and is the next most vulnerable household on the CE priority list, the household may be served. Documentation (i.e., email) will be sent to the service provider verifying this and the service provider will include this documentation with homeless documentation in the client file.
HUD does not expect recipients of dedicated or prioritized CoC Program-funded PSH to hold vacant beds open indefinitely while waiting to locate chronically homeless persons with the longest histories of homelessness and most severe service needs. Recipients are only expected to exercise due diligence and should document the efforts they have undertaken to locate persons that would be considered the highest priority. HUD does not have a specific time frame that a recipient must hold a bed vacant.
This is also the case when there are no persons identified within the CoC that meet the definition of chronically homeless in general. Where the orders of priority have been adopted by a CoC, if there are no persons within the CoC’s geographic area that meet the definition of chronically homeless per 24 CFR 578.3, recipients of dedicated and prioritized CoC Program funded PSH may serve households that are not experiencing chronic homelessness and in the order of priority described in the Prioritization Notice for non-dedicated and not-prioritized PSH beds. Should the bed turnover and become vacant again, the recipient must start by first seeking households that meet priority number 1 for dedicated and prioritized CoC Program-funded PSH.
Although emergency services are a critical crisis response resource, access to such services will not be a criteria used for priorities.
The CES Priority List is a master list of households seeking designated homeless supportive housing in the Central MN Region. The list is used to track regional needs for supportive housing and link households to the most appropriate program using The Assessment Tool, eligibility and CoC priorities.
The Priority List is managed by the PLM and will be prioritized by the needs identified by HUD and the CoC Governing Board. The priority list provides an effective way to manage an accountable and transparent prioritization process.
Participating programs include homeless designated Transitional, Rapid Re-housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, Long-Term Homeless, High Priority Homeless and Chronic Homeless voucher or site-based beds.
NOTIFICATION OF VACANCIES
To facilitate prompt referrals and to reduce vacancy rates, participating providers must notify the PLM of any known and anticipated upcoming vacancies. When a TH, RRH, or PSH vacancy occurs or is expected to occur in the near future, the provider agency with the vacancy will alert the PLM within 3 business days. This can be done on the weekly Case Conference Call or via email. The notification will include the project name, unit size, location, and funder defined eligibility requirements. The Navigators/PLM will identify a prioritized household to fill the vacancy looking at Google Docs and the PL.
REFERRAL TO ANOTHER COC
To support client choice, if an individual would like to be placed on a PL in another CoC the Central CoC PLM will connect with the PLM of the other CoC and follow the process of the other CoC.
REFERRAL FROM ANOTHER COC
A referral from another CoC will be referred to Call to Connect 866-560-7464 to ensure that they are connected to an agency and information is entered into HMIS and follow up is completed every 30 days. The household must have a tie to the county, for example: Displaced due to DV, shelter capacity, etc.
PARTICIPANT DECLINED REFERRAL(S)
One of the guiding principles of CE is participant choice. This principle must be evident throughout the CE process, including the referral phase. Participants can decline service strategies and housing options offered to them without repercussions.
Households will be given information about the programs available to them and provided choices whenever feasible based on assessment information, vulnerability and need scores, preliminary eligibility pre-determinations, and available resources. Of the options available, participants will be afforded their choice of which project to be referred to. If a household declines a referral to a housing program, they may remain on the prioritization list until the next housing opportunity becomes available. If a household fails to follow through with a referral and comes back for assistance, the assessor will work with that person to help identify and rectify barriers to follow through.
PROVIDER DECLINED REFERRAL(S)
There may be instances when agencies decide not to accept a referral from the CE system. When a provider agency declines to accept a referred prioritized household into its project, the agency will follow HMIS protocol for denial. The PLM will review HMIS reports for the reason for denial and will reach out to the provider as needed.
Refusals by projects are acceptable only in certain situations, including:
- The household does not meet the project’s eligibility criteria.
- The services available through the project are not sufficient to address the intensity or scope of household need.
- The project is at capacity and is not available to currently accept referrals.
The agency must document in HMIS why the denial occurred. The agency will notify the client why the referral was denied and will offer alternative resources and place the household back on the priority list.
CES REVIEW POLICY
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) Review Committee is designed to address issues that arise for clients with the most difficult/challenging barriers and the accuracy of the assessment process in making an appropriate referral. CES Review Committee members will include the assessor, PLM and the three regional Navigators, supervisor to the Navigator or backup for the Navigator.
Reasons to request a panel review:
- Transfer request from RRH/TH to PSH
- Emergency Transfer request
- Acuity review – Assessment tool inconsistencies
ACUITY REVIEW POLICY
The Acuity Review Policy is designed to review the following cases:
- A client’s refusal to complete the assessment tool.
- The assessor has determined the client is not competent to complete the assessment
- The assessor believes that the client’s assessment tool score does not properly reflect the client’s
The client’s assessor will meet with the CES Review Committee to provide additional background and information regarding the client’s situation in addition to the Acuity Assessment Tool (See Appendix A).
The Acuity Assessment Tool is completed in full for assessment records. However, when it is submitted to the CES Review Committee, the Acuity Assessment Tool must have the client’s name and any other identifying information redacted to ensure client confidentiality and to prevent biased decisions. The PLM will maintain a tracking system.
PANEL REVIEW POLICY
The Coordinated Entry System (CES) Review Committee is designed to address issues that arise for clients with the most difficult/challenging barriers and the accuracy of the assessment process in making an appropriate referral. CES Review Committee members will include the assessor, Priority List Manager and the three Navigators, supervisor to the Navigator or the Navigator backup.
Reasons to request a panel review
- Transfer request from RRH/TH to PSH
- Emergency Transfer request
- Acuity review – Assessment tool inconsistencies
Housing intervention programs affected:
- Transitional Housing (TH)
- Rapid Re-Housing (RRH)
- Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)
RRH/TH to PSH (for same client group)
Status prior to program end
There are situations where a household’s needs are found to no longer fit with the program they are currently participating in, or the understanding of the needs have changed since program entry. The household may need to transfer to a program that better fits their needs and to prevent a return to homelessness. The program staff that is currently working with the household needs to report the risk to the CES Advisory Committee for review and approval a minimum of 60 days prior to program end.
The CES Advisory Committee will consist of the CES Priority List Manager (PLM), the Navigators and the program staff. The committee will determine if the eligibility for transfer has been met and what available resources the eligible client can be transferred to.
- A Transfer Request Form (Appendix B) is required for all transfer requests and will be reviewed by the CES Advisory Committee. The household must have a current ROI for the CES (HMIS) and must have a Change in Services Needs Assessment completed (Appendix C).
- The household must have a current HMIS program entry for a homeless-dedicated housing program that reports to Central MN
- When the request is approved or denied, the PLM will notify the
- The current housing provider is responsible for identifying another provider/program of the appropriate type that is willing to accept the household and all
- The current program will provide all eligibility paperwork to the program accepting the transfer and request a new referral from the priority list upon completion of the transfer.
- The receiving provider is responsible for confirming eligibility and if there is not a willing provider/program available, no transfer is possible
EMERGENCY TRANSFER POLICY
CES will attempt to address the safety needs of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, trafficked, and stalking survivors who have been housed in Central MN CoC homeless dedicated housing programs through Coordinated Entry. For the emergency transfer policy between CoC’s – see REFERRAL-Referral to another CoC. Page41
Whenever possible, household information will be de-identified and kept confidential. If no immediate viable transfer is available through the current housing provider, the housing provider should follow the Emergency Transfer Procedure to initiate assistance from the CES.
A housing provider may initiate the Emergency Transfer Policy by submitting the Transfer Form (VAWA Form) (Appendix B) to CES and indicated that an Emergency Transfer is needed. The housing provider should indicate the household’s HMIS/Google Docs ID # and needed housing setting for the purposes of safety and security. The household will then be prioritized for the next available housing vacancy in which they meet the requirements.
While CES will prioritize the household for the next available vacancy that would meet the indicated need, CES cannot guarantee a housing placement or timing. The current housing provider should continue to safety plan with the household and follow best practices to ensure a rapid and safe resolution is met. If a match is able to be completed, CES staff will assist in facilitating a warm hand off between the previous housing provided and the new provider.
Transfers are not appropriate for reasons related to protected class status only, including race, color, national origin, religion sex, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, public assistance, and being a member of a local human rights commission.
See Appendix B for the Transfer Request Form
See Appendix C for the Change in Services Needs Assessment
See Appendix D for the VAWA Form(s)
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