Coordinated Entry

Coordinated Entry, like some of the other entries in the Solutions Database, has been detailed extensively by USICH's partners. Below is a short abstract of the solution, with encouragement to access our partner's resources for a fuller description of implementation tips and outcomes and results.


Coordinated Entry provides streamlined access to the homeless services system thereby allowing households facing housing loss to quickly access the services they need and for which they are eligible without having to call multiple social service programs.

The process centers on streamlining access to homeless assistance services (such as prevention, rapid re-housing, shelter, and permanent supportive housing), screening applicants for eligibility for these and other programs using a consistent and well-coordinated approach, and assessing their needs to determine which interventions are the best fit.

In a system that offers coordinated entry, each location where people come for help if they are experiencing or at risk of homelessness uses the same assessment tool and makes decisions about referrals based on consistent criteria and a comprehensive understanding of each program’s requirements, target populations, and available openings and services. Coordinated entry reduces unnecessary duplication and confusion among agencies, makes better use of resources and staff time, and makes it easier to match households to the services they need.

Centralized intake is the most highly organized form of coordinated entry. In communities with this structure all households seeking homeless assistance of any type first pass through the centralized intake process, which may be conducted by telephone. Often the household’s difficulties can be resolved with a telephone consultation. Some communities conduct centralized intake in a single location for all households seeking to access shelter or other homeless assistance. In-person contacts may be used only for more complex situations. Some communities offer one location for centralized intake for families with children and another location or centralized intake process for single adults. Centralized intake operates system-wide covering a range of programs in the local homeless assistance network serving the entire community.

Coordinated Entry System for Homeless Families, prepared in January 2011 by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, summarizes and describes the core components of a coordinated system and provides some examples. Centralized Intake for Helping People Experiencing Homelessness: Overview, Community Profiles, and Resources, prepared for HUD in 2009, also offers additional detail and examples.

Related Profiles:

Promising Practice: Rapid Re-Housing

Promising Practice: Homelessness Prevention

Model Program: Whatcom Homeless Service Center

Model Program: Columbus Coordinated Entry

Model Program: Front Door Assessment (Dayton, OH)