Coordinated Entry and Assessments would operate as a portal of entry process that aims to connect individuals and families who are homeless, or those at imminent risk of becoming homeless, to an existing available shelter/housing resource in the Cabarrus Community. The Cabarrus County Homelessness Task Force and the Cabarrus Housing Collaborative, both stressed the need for a central entry point to eliminate barriers for those in housing crisis.
Some Coordinated Entry Programs use the following definition of homeless. A homeless person is someone:
- Living in in a place not meant for human habitation, or
- Living in emergency shelter (including domestic violence shelter), or
- Living in transitional housing for homeless persons, with an imminent exit date, or
- Exiting an institution where they temporarily resided for up to 90 days (and were in a shelter or a place not meant for human habitation immediately prior to entering that institution)
In a Coordinated Entry system, households experiencing homelessness :
- Know exactly where to go to get help;
- Are assessed in a standard and consistent way;
- Are matched with the housing/services that best meet their needs, as available.
By assessing everyone the same way, the community can be strategic about its limited resources and where resources may need to be redirected or added. Coordinated Entry, however, is not a housing program or a guarantee of shelter or housing.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, this approach is more efficient because it:
- Helps people move through the system faster by reducing the amount of time spent moving from program to program before finding the right match
- Reduces new entries into homelessness by consistently offering prevention and diversion resources
- Improves data collection and quality and provides accurate information on what kind of assistance people need