You might hear us talking about Coordinated Access and how we use this approach for Housing First, but what does it really mean?
Coordinated Access is a way for communities to design, streamline, and bring consistency to the process by which people experiencing homelessness access housing and services.
This process is designed to quickly identify, assess, refer and connect people in crisis to housing and assistance, no matter where they show up to ask for help. It can pave the way for more efficient homeless assistance systems by:
- Helping people move through the system faster to housing;
- Reducing new entries into homelessness by consistently offering prevention and diversion resources upfront; and
- Improving data collection and quality and providing accurate information on what kind of assistance consumers need.
In a coordinated system, each system entry point (“front door”) uses the same assessment tool and makes decisions on which programs families are referred to based on a comprehensive understanding of each program’s specific requirements, target population, and available beds and services.
Quality coordinated access systems share several features, including a centralized database that collects and displays real-time data on clients and available housing and supports; clear access points of entry; common assessment; standardized protocols; and resources (for example, staff) focused on ensuring that people can connect with appropriate housing and housing supports in an efficient manner.
To learn more about Coordinated Access from a Government standpoint, please see Reaching Home, Canada's Homelessness Strategy.
Please call coordinated access at 780-702-5267 through Homeward Trust if you are currently experiencing homelessness and would like further information on housing programs.