Coordinated Assessment is literally a coordinated effort among CoC providers to assess each homeless individual and family using a uniform and standardized process, then determining which program will result in a proper referral. In the past, anyone seeking assistance was given a list of phone numbers of every nonprofit organization within our community, leaving someone in a crisis to figure out the rest. Now, when seeking homelessness services, the individual needs to complete only one assessment up front to determine the best programs that may be able to meet his/her needs.
The assessment takes into account things such as mental/physical health, interaction with law enforcement, hospital stays and ambulance services, and age. The answers to these questions determines an “acuity score”. Just as the ER staff at the hospital determines how acute your situation is when you enter the emergency room, we determine how acute your homelessness situation is. Persons who score low may indeed be homeless and need assistance, but persons who score high will usually have severe mental or physical issues, in addition to other concerns that can result in frequent hospital visits and arrests, and could even lead to death on the streets, if the person is not housed. This assessment helps case managers take the guesswork out of determining who gets helped next by focusing on those people with the most acute situations.
When an opening in a permanent housing program (for people who are chronically homeless), rapid rehousing program, or transitional housing program comes available, the Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition uses the HMIS to determine which homeless person/family on our list is eligible and has the highest acuity score. A referral is then done from the Coalition to that housing provider, so that we can begin the process of getting this person into housing. Coordinated Assessment allows for people to be housed based on acuity (severity of needs), rather than first come/first served.
If you know someone who is homeless and in need of assistance, please contact our Resource Coordinator, Kyle, at KyleM@cenlahomeless.org.