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What is Coordinated Entry?

What is Coordinated Entry?

If you are going through the process of navigating public benefits and services, you might be wondering, what is coordinated entry? The process of accessing benefits can be complicated and cumbersome, especially if you’re doing so under the stress of trying to provide for yourself and your family with limited resources. These processes can be especially challenging if you are also experiencing homelessness, but Coordinated Entry can help make it easier. 

In recent years, you might have heard the term “Coordinated Entry” in reference to applying for public assistance. This is especially likely if you are experiencing homelessness and are trying to access services. This article defines coordinated entry and provides information about ways in which this approach can make accessing housing and other services more efficient. 

What is Coordinated Entry?

Coordinated entry is a centralized assessment process that makes it easier for communities to help people in need of housing and other resources. In recent years, the Department of Housing and Urban Development created guidelines to help make processes for accessing public services more efficient, and these guidelines are what the term “Coordinated Entry” refers to. 

Coordinated entry processes are intended to help communities and the agencies that serve them to address the needs of homeless individuals and families in a timely manner. Coordinated entry processes are also designed to prioritize those with the greatest need. 

Because all of the service agencies across the country have been required to implement Coordinated Entry systems, you are likely to have a more positive experience when applying for emergency housing or homelessness prevention. These systems allow you to apply for services in one place, with one application. Then, you are connected to the organizations and agencies in your geographic area that can help. 

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What is Coordinated Entry Helpful For?

There are many ways that Coordinated Entry helps. Below, we have listed several ways Coordinated Entry is helpful to individuals, families, and communities:

  • Coordinated Entry can cut down on the time it takes for an individual or family experiencing homelessness to be placed in housing. 
  • Coordinated Entry processes help those experiencing the most hardship have their needs met first. 
  • Coordinated Entry processes help community agencies use their resources more efficiently. 
  • Coordinated Entry helps community agencies meet more of the needs that each individual or family has.
  • Coordinated Entry can connect people to supportive services in addition to housing. 
  • Information gathered from individuals and families seeking services is used to improve processes and services in the future. 
  • Coordinated Entry can help with needs specific to veterans, survivors of domestic violence, LGBTQ+ individuals, people living with disabilities, and other groups. 
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What is Coordinated Entry Application Like?

Coordinated Entry is not a specific service that you can apply for. Rather, it is a process that community agencies have adopted, as required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

When you go to a local agency or organization that helps people in need, they will collect a lot of information from you up front, which will sit in one centralized place. In other words, you should not need to apply for services at a number of different organizations because the centralized application for services will match you with the organizations in your area that can best address your needs. 

If you are experiencing homelessness, or are likely to become homeless in the near future, filling out an application for services at a local agency that works to prevent homelessness is a great place to start. With Coordinated Entry, you will be able to get the help you need more quickly and efficiently than ever. 

You can read about Coordinated Entry in detail in the Department of Housing and Urban Development Policy Brief.  

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.