COORDINATED ENTRY PARTNERS WITH NC 2-1-1 FOR STREAMLINED ACCESS TO HOUSING INFORMATION
This week, after a year of planning, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Continuum of Care fully launched its partnership with North Carolina 2-1-1 to improve screening and diversion, and provide clear direction for homeless individuals and families.
By initially calling 2-1-1, homeless households and households at imminent risk, will be guided to an in-person assessment or referred to agencies that may be able to assist. If there are no appropriate housing resources available at the time, the callers will be provided an honest response and assisted with other needs they may have.
NC 2-1-1 is a health and human services information and referral system provided by United Way that operates 24/7/365. Coordinated Entry (which began in May 2014) is Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s portal to connect individuals and families who are homeless to an existing available shelter/ housing resource. Coordinated Entry also helps the community to prioritize resources for the most vulnerable households and to identify gaps and shortages in housing resources. Mecklenburg County is the primary funder of Coordinated Entry. The City of Charlotte is the lead agency for the Continuum of Care.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires all communities that receive federal funds for housing, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, to use a Coordinated Entry system that has these characteristics:
- Prioritizes households with greatest needs
- Provides fair and equal access to resources
- Minimizes barriers to entry
- Uses a standardized access and assessment process
- Operates with a person-centered, rather than agency-centered, philosophy
Using NC 2-1-1 will simultaneously enhance customer service and help maintain compliance with HUD standards.
How Will It Work?
Everyone who is homeless and at-risk will be directed to call 2-1-1
- The 2-1-1 Specialist will ask screening questions
- Homeless caller will be directed to in-person assessment at 1 of 3 sites OR
- Caller will receive a telephone abbreviated assessment and will be referred to available appropriate housing options OR
- If caller is not homeless, but is precariously housed, the caller will be provided information about other available resources.
- If there are no available resources, the caller will be so informed, and given guidance about checking back.
A Community Meeting was held on October 23 at Covenant Presbyterian Church to educate the community about the partnership, raise awareness of this community’s needs for additional housing resources, and describe the new process.
The partnership with NC 2-1-1 is expected to benefit homeless households and the community at large in these ways:
- Faster access to accurate information about housing options
- Less waiting around for an in-person assessment
- More staff time available for persons having a housing crisis
- Callers with needs besides housing will be provided information and referrals
- Consistent, easy to remember guidance about where to start looking for help
- More comprehensive data about other needs (other than housing) of callers
The Coordinated Entry Oversight Committee has representation from Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, Emergency Shelter, Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid Re-Housing, and a non-governmental funder. Current members include: Rebecca Pfeiffer, City of Charlotte, Helen Lipman, Mecklenburg County, Pam Jefsen, Supportive Housing Communities, Stephen Smith, Charlotte Family Housing, Deronda Metz, Salvation Army, and Laura Clark, United Way of Central Carolinas.