Chair, Coordinated Entry Oversight Committee
Continuum of Care Staff Support
In 2014, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) required that communities implement a Coordinated Entry system. The goal of an effective Coordinated Entry system is to allocate available resources effectively and with transparency. Most importantly, it takes the burden off of individuals seeking assistance in the midst of a crisis in that they just need to call one place vs. calling each agency to inquire if there are resources and if they are eligible.
In 2017, our community partnered with NC-211 to serve as the “front door” of the Coordinated Entry (CE) or homeless services system. This served as a screening tool to prevent long waits at CE host sites and provide callers not experiencing homelessness with relevant housing information & referral.
In March 2020, when in-person services were suspended due to state and local COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, our local Coordinated Entry system moved entirely to a hotline model. This enabled assessors to still connect with clients, complete the assessment via phone and refer them to available resources. The CoC Coordinated Entry Oversight Committee (CEOC) made up of stakeholders in the homeless services system, including persons with lived experience in homelessness, continued to meet every other week to examine data and make system changes.
In February 2022, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute released its Interim Evaluation Report on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Coordinated Entry. The recommendations released as part of the A Home for All Strategic Framework by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing & Homelessness Strategy can be found here. The evaluations suggested that the current Coordinated Entry process was not trauma-informed and left clients frustrated. Additionally, the data revealed that most callers who first called 211 were then directed to call the Coordinated Entry hotline. Multiple questions and calls had the unintended consequence of leaving callers frustrated and confused.
To ensure that services provided through Coordinated Entry are person-centered and trauma informed, the Coordinated Entry Oversight Committee has removed the requirement that callers must call 211 to access available resources. People experiencing homelessness and/or facing a housing crisis that will result in homelessness can now call the CE hotline directly at 704-284-9665 or complete a form online and a CE staff person will contact them. CE staff have also returned to host agencies sites to serve their clientele, and are available to these clients for whom in-person is a better option.
People may still call 211 for other resources and 211 will refer callers to the hotline. NC 211 call specialists will no longer enter data into HMIS—reducing a burden on callers in crisis. CE assessors are trained to conduct the assessment via phone and are able to refer clients to available local resources that continue to change almost daily.
How you can help:
- The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County continue to see the impact of the affordable housing crisis. Coordinated Entry is not a hotline to find affordable housing. For those seeking affordable housing resources, please direct them to call the Housing Collaborative (formerly Socialserve): 704-334-8722.
- If a caller is currently living unsheltered (tent, vehicle) or is living somewhere else but thinks they may need to access shelter resources soon, they should call the CE hotline: 704-284-9665. This is a public number and can be shared. CE is not a guarantee of shelter placement as shelters often operate near capacity but CE staff will engage clients in a solution-oriented conversation around all possible resources.
- Ensure your agency’s information is updated in the NC 211 system (using this link) so 211 can accurately refer callers to available resources.
- Continue to listen to the stories and experiences of clients and inform the CEOC of existing gaps. We are constantly evaluating and ready to pivot to best respond to the needs of the community.
- If you are an agency that offers homeless and/or housing resources, consider taking referrals for your program through the Coordinated Entry match process—based on your program’s eligibility criteria.
Hope Marshall serves as Chair of the Coordinated Entry Oversight Committee and is on the CoC Governing Board representing the special population of persons with criminal histories.
Erin Nixon serves as staff support for the Continuum of Care. In this role, she supports the CoC Governing Board, workgroups and committees to ensure strategies are coordinated and aligned.