Coordinated Housing intake meeting set for July 26

Reaching out to those involved in the local homeless response system, Bartow Collaborative and the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter will host a Coordinated Entry intake meeting July 26.

“Bartow Collaborative is taking a supportive role along with Good Neighbor to help facilitate and use the Coordinated Entry System,” said Doug Belisle, executive director for Bartow Collaborative. “Part of the Collaborative strategy for our county is to alleviate poverty. We want to work with and facilitate partnerships within our community to help families and individuals escape the crisis of poverty. We believe that the Coordinated Entry System will help every agency/organization in our community that seeks to help people without homes to offer the same level of service and have access to the same types of resources as well as increase our efficiency. This system will help to make sure that we are all on the same page.

“The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss the current homeless response system and how Coordinated Entry can help make us more efficient and effective when helping families/individuals in crisis. The meeting is for any agency or person that is a part of the homeless response system and any agency or person that serves households who are experiencing homelessness or who are precariously housed outside of the homeless response system.”

Presented from 10 a.m. to noon, the meeting will take place at Bartow Collaborative, 140 Douglas St. in Cartersville. The gathering also will feature staff members of Cloudburst Technical Assistance and Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

“Under the leadership of HUD [Department of Housing and Urban Development], communities across the nation are reorganizing their homeless response systems into Coordinated Entry Systems,” said Rebecca Hickom, Coordinated Entry System coordinator for Georgia DCA. “The Georgia Department of Community Affairs ... is assisting communities in 152 of Georgia’s 159 counties in this effort.

“Under current systems, each provider has its own process for intake and assessment with unique and sometimes exclusionary eligibility criteria. Households seeking housing assistance must navigate one or many of those processes. If a household meets the admission criteria, they then receive assistance on a first come, first serve basis. In the end, this results in some households not being served at all, and others receiving services that are too intensive or not intensive enough.”

She continued, “Coordinated Entry provides communities with an opportunity to reorganize and streamline their homeless response system to provide quick access to households seeking housing assistance. This system utilizes a coordinated referral and housing placement process, in which households are assessed using a standard, objective tool that identifies their vulnerability and barriers to housing. Households assessed as having the highest vulnerability and housing barriers will be prioritized for access to available housing programs as vacancies occur. The intent is to target the right housing solution to the right household, particularly for those with high acuity and high need, and to redirect people whose homelessness can be addressed through other community resources — moving people quickly into appropriate housing and increasing housing stability by targeting the right housing intervention to the corresponding need.”

To help apply Coordinated Entry across Georgia, Bartow County was named one of four implementation sites.

“Working under a January 2018 deadline, DCA has developed a strategic plan for implementing Coordinated Entry,” Hickom said. “As a part of this plan, the Continuum of Care (CoC) has chosen four communities to serve as implementation sites in 2017. CoC staff members will regularly meet with providers in the four counties to serve as a resource as they refine their homeless response systems. Sites are strategically located to represent the northern, middle and southern parts of Georgia. Each site has a community of strong providers with strong leadership, and each community differs in range of resources available and as a result will ... each have uniquely organized systems. The other 148 counties that make up the Balance of State Continuum Care will plan and implement coordinated entry in their own communities using tools and resources created by the CoC. The four initial implementation sites will serve as an example for other communities as they plan their own systems.

“We are grateful to our partners in Bartow and are excited for the meeting on July 26. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss Coordinated Entry, look at Bartow’s current homeless response system, discuss its strengths and challenges, identify next steps and discuss opportunities for being involved in the planning process on an ongoing basis.”

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