Our community is facing a number of changes in how we do our work with individuals experiencing homelessness and we are embarking on two very essential shifts: changing our HMIS system, and launching a coordinated engagement process to access housing, called Coordinated Entry for All (CEA). Both of these changes offer an opportunity for us to improve our work together to better support people experiencing homelessness and to reach our collective goal of making homelessness rare, brief, and a one-time experience.
Many of you participate in the Homeless Management and Information System (HMIS) and are aware that we are changing both the HMIS system vendor (moving from Adsystech to Bit Focus) and the administrator (from City of Seattle to King County). The King County HMIS is scheduled to go live with BitFocus on April 1st. For more detailed information about the transition, commonly used forms, and required training dates and registration, please visit the King County HMIS Transition website.
Likewise, many of you have been involved in the planning and design of CEA. Here are the key updates including what will happen over the next several weeks during the HMIS transition:
- Overall CEA design: An overview of the updated timeline for CEA implementation can be found here.
- King County Housing and Community Development (HCD) is preparing to be the system administrator for CEA and will soon be releasing an RFP to identify four Regional Access Points (or HUBs) throughout King County. The Regional Access Points are part of establishing a decentralized assessment approach and are estimated to launch in June 2016 to serve all populations.
- In addition to these locations, CEA will incorporate mobile and community based housing assessors. Details on how and where the additional assessments will take place are still being determined.
- The VI-SPDAT has been chosen as the CEA Triage Tool for common assessment with tailored versions for single adults, young adults, and families. Veterans have been using the VI-SPDAT since 2015. Family Housing Connection (FHC) and Youth Housing Connection (YHC) will begin using the new assessments in March 2016 in alignment with the new HMIS launching on April 1st. Families and Young Adults currently on the FHC and YHC placement rosters will need to be reassessed using the new tool. King County is providing added capacity to FHC and YHC during this transition and more detailed information, training, and messaging will be provided to the programs participating in FHC and YHC and to the families and young adults seeking housing supports.
- The inclusion of single adults in CEA will take a phased approach beginning in June 2016 with the adoption of the new assessment tool and a focus on referrals to Permanent Supportive Housing resources.
We appreciate all of the support and input you have provided on CEA thus far. Throughout implementation, the CEA design will continue to reflect our shared priorities for effective CEA including transparency, a person-centered approach, reduction of barriers, flexible resources, and increased housing options. The planning is also informed by the principles which guide the All Home Strategic Plan including:
- Involving the whole community,
- Including those experiencing homelessness,
- Prioritizing those whose health and safety are most vulnerable,
- Moving people into housing first and employment fast, by progressive engagement in services, and
- Utilizing data-driven assessment of needs and outcomes to drive policy and investments.
For more information on CEA and updates, please visit the Coordinated Entry page.
Mark Putnam and Kira Zylstra, All Home