This webinar will focus on how emergency shelter fits into community efforts to reduce homelessness.
Emergency shelters are critical to ending homelessness. Their purpose is to ensure safe, temporary shelter during times of crisis and connect people to permanent housing. But barriers often negate the effectiveness of emergency shelter.
In New Jersey, communities are using centralized and/or coordinated assessment, also known as coordinated entry or coordinated intake, paves the way for more efficient homeless assistance systems by:
Helping people move through the system faster (by reducing the amount of time people spend moving from program to program before finding the right match);
Reducing new entries into homelessness (by consistently offering prevention and diversion resources upfront, reducing the number of people entering the system unnecessarily); and
Improving data collection and quality and providing accurate information on what kind of assistance consumers need.
Coordinated assessment is ideally a system-wide process and can serve any and all populations.
Systems may accomplish coordinated assessment through the use:
Of a centralized phone hotline (e.g. a 2-1-1),
A single physical point of assessment (through an emergency shelter or a dedicated assessment center, for example) or
A decentralized coordinated system (with multiple assessment points all employing the same assessment and referral process).
In Middlesex County, the Coordinated Assessment System has helped Coming Home of Middlesex County and its partners identify and successfully apply for almost all available slots.