Coordinated Entry in the Texas Balance of State CoC

Coordinated Entry Evaluation

The Texas Homeless Network (THN) has partnered with Civix to complete an evaluation of Coordinated Entry (CE) for the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC). Civix is a professional services firm with subject matter expertise on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) and Coordinated Entry System (CES) requirements.

HUD requires that the evaluation of CE systems occurs annually and focuses on the quality and effectiveness of the entire CE experience for both participating projects and for CE participants. This includes evaluation of intake, assessment, and referral practices and processes. To complete this year’s CE evaluation, Civix will work with THN, each TX BoS CoC region, and providers on the following evaluation activities:

1.  Program Participant Surveys: Civix will develop and analyze Program Participant Surveys to be distributed across TX BoS CoC to collect feedback from participants currently engaged in CE or who have been housed by CE within the last year.

2. Provider Surveys: Civix will develop and analyze Provider Surveys distributed across TX BoS CoC to collect feedback from providers currently engaged as participating agencies in CE or who have participated within the past year.

3. Participant Focus Groups: In coordination with THN and participating sites, Civix will deliver three hybrid virtual/in-person focus groups including program participants from select TX BoS CoC regions.

 

What is Coordinated Entry?

As outlined in the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Interim Rule, each CoC is responsible for establishing and operating a coordinated system that provides a comprehensive assessment and referral of the needs of individuals and families seeking housing and services. This system is referred to as Coordinated Entry (CE) in the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC), and was implemented on January 23, 2018 per HUD requirements.

CE is a powerful piece of a community’s housing crisis response system as it ensures that people at-risk of or experiencing homelessness can readily access and navigate housing assistance– no matter where in the community they first seek help. It is designed so that households are prioritized for and matched with the appropriate intervention as quickly as possible based on their vulnerability and severity of needs. Overall, CE aims to standardize the access, assessment, prioritization and referral process across all agency providers in a community in order to quickly and successfully provide assistance.

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Overview of the Coordinated Entry Process

In the Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC), Coordinated Entry (CE) is managed by multiple parties from the CoC level to the regional level. The CoC level parties include the TX BoS CoC Board, Texas Homeless Network, and the Coordinated Entry Steering Committee. At the regional level, the CE process is supervised by each region’s Coordinated Entry Planning Entity.

Given its large geographical size, the TX BoS CoC has taken a regional approach to administer Coordinated Entry. By designating regions, local communities play an important role in assessing and communicating their specific needs. This allows the TX BoS CoC to better understand how to best assist every community. Across all 17 designated CE regions, the CE process operates similarly and involves Entry Points, Assessors, and Receiving Agencies.

The process flowchart on the right provides a brief overview of the CE process in the TX BoS CoC.

Click on image to increase size and to read flowchart description.

Resources for Coordinated Entry Regions

Written Standards

Coordinated Entry Manual

Guidance

Training Assistance

CoC Level

  • Texas Balance of State Continuum of Care (TX BoS CoC): The TX BoS CoC is composed of all service providers, advocates, local government officials, and citizens who work to eliminate homelessness in the 215 counties covered by the CoC. The TX BoS CoC is governed by a Board elected by the general members of the CoC.
      • Texas Homeless Network (THN): THN is appointed by the CoC Board as the Lead Agency and HMIS Lead for the TX BoS CoC. THN serves as the policy oversight and evaluation entity for CE implementation in the TX BoS CoC. THN also provides technical assistance and supports the Coordinated Entry Planning Entities (CEPEs) with managing local CE processes.
  • Coordinated Entry Steering Committee (CESC): The CESC is composed of elected representatives from each CEPE within the TX BoS CoC. This committee provides direct support and guidance to the CoC Board on systems change efforts, and influences the direction of the CE process in the TX BoS CoC. For more information on the CESC, visit the TX BoS CoC Committees page.

Regional Level

  • Coordinated Entry Planning Entities (CEPEs): A CEPE is the management body responsible for implementing the day-to-day process of CE in a region. This includes establishing the day-to-day management structures; establishing a clear and accessible communication plan; promoting standardized screening, assessment and referral processes; ensuring enrollment of staff into training; and conducting regular evaluations of their local CE process.
  • Entry Points: Entry Points are participating agencies that act as “front doors” to a region’s Coordinated Entry system since these agencies assess and refer people experiencing homelessness for and to housing projects and mainstream services.
      • Assessors: Assessors are staff members who work with households seeking assistance at an Entry Point. Staff members are considered Assessors when they have completed training with the TX BoS CoC. Refer to the Training Assistance section above for more information on how to get started with training.
  • Receiving Agencies: Receiving Agencies are participating agencies that have housing intervention projects for households experiencing homelessness. Receiving Agencies must fill project vacancies with households referred through CE, after the eligibility of each household has been verified. Therefore, Receiving Agencies are strongly encouraged to use HMIS to better track incoming referrals from Entry Points. To learn about the additional benefits of HMIS, visit the HMIS Basics page.
  • Non-Participating Agencies: Non-Participating Agencies are agencies that are not currently participating in a regional CE system, but in some way are involved in a region’s Homeless Crisis Response System. These agencies still play a crucial role for people experiencing homelessness (such as providing guidance applying for mainstream services), therefore a region’s CEPE should frequently encourage them to participate in CE.

Common Terms for Participating Agencies

  • Continuum of Care (CoC) Program: The CoC program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; to provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, states, and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals, families, persons fleeing domestic violence, and youth while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness; to promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and to optimize self-sufficiency among those experiencing homelessness.
  • Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program: The ESG program provides funding to engage homeless individuals and families living on the street; to improve emergency shelters for individuals and families; to help operate emergency shelters; to provide essential services to shelter residents; to rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families; and to prevent individuals and families from becoming homeless.
  • Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program: The SSVF program was established in 2011 to rapidly re-house homeless Veteran families and prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk due to a housing crisis. Through a competitive application, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) accords grants to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives to provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other mainstream benefits that promote housing stability and community integration.
  • Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs): The VAMCs are operated by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as a component of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VHA also administers and operates Outpatient Clinics (OPC), Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC), and VA Community Living Centers (VA Nursing Home) Programs. In Texas, there are 5 VAMCs and 7 VA Health Care Systems.
  • Homeless Management Information System (HMIS): HMIS is an information technology system specifically designed to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. To learn more, visit the HMIS Basics page.
  • Victim Service Provider: HUD defines a Victim Service Provider as a private non-profit organization whose primary mission is to provide direct services to victims of domestic violence.

Please refer to Chapter 1 of the CE Manual for a full list of Coordinated Entry terms.

The CESC is composed of one representative from each CE region, and each representative is nominated annually by their region’s Coordinated Entry Planning Entity (CEPE). The current 2020-21 CESC members include:

    • Abilene: John Meier, West Central Texas Foundation
    • Beaumont & Orange: Debra S. Huffman, Neighborhood Development Corporation
    • Brazoria County: Gloria Luna, United Way of Brazoria County
    • Cameron County: Paul Castaneda, Endeavors
    • Colorado Valley: Deanna Lowrey-Green, Combined Community Action
    • Corpus Christi: Mona Vasquez, Endeavors
    • Denton: Elena Lusk, United Way of Denton County
    • Galveston: Melanie Thornton-Lewis, Salvation Army of Galveston County
    • Hidalgo: Napoleon Daniel Coca, Hidalgo County
    • Killeen: Christy Plemons, The Salvation Army of Temple
    • Laredo: Judith Mena, Bethany House of Laredo
    • Longview: Jay Morgan, Community Healthcore – East Texas Veterans Resource Center
    • Lubbock: Steven Lara, VetStar
    • Mount Pleasant: Vineta Byrd, SAFE-T Crisis Center
    • Odessa: Erika Chavez Thomas, Odessa Links
    • Texarkana: Vashil Fernandez, City of Texarkana
    • Victoria: Tiffany Ross, Community Action Committee

For more information on the Coordinated Entry Steering Committee, visit the TX BoS CoC Committees page.

  • How does the Coordinated Entry (CE) process work?
  • As an Assessor who also does Street Outreach, can I complete a paper Coordinated Entry assessment?
      • Yes, Assessors may use paper CE assessments for their Street Outreach efforts. However, you must request a copy of the paper assessment by sending an email to CE@thn.org indicating your name, your agency’s name and your CE region.
  • Can my region add an Entry Point or Receiving Agency?
  • Who are the members of my region’s Coordinated Entry Planning Entity (CEPE) and can I join?
  • Who represents my region on the Coordinated Entry Steering Committee (CESC)?
  • Can my agency participate in the regional CE process?
      • If your agency is new to receiving funding from the CoC, ESG or SSVF Programs, the Systems Change Team will contact your agency with next steps.
      • If your agency does not receive funding from the aforementioned programs but is still interested in participating in the local CE process, we recommend that you first contact your region’s CEPE to determine if your agency can be added as an Entry Point, Receiving Agency or both.
      • If your agency does not receive funding and is not in a designated CE region, please contact the Systems Change Team at CE@thn.org.
  • How can my community start a CE region in the Texas Balance of State CoC?
      • Communities ready to implement and operate CE should contact the Systems Change Team at CE@thn.org to propose the formation of a new CE region in the TX BoS CoC. In some cases, interested communities may instead be connected to an existing CE region.
  • How do I provide THN with feedback regarding CE and Systems Change in my region?
  • Who can I contact if I have additional questions about CE?
      • If you have questions or concerns about the local CE process, we recommend that you first get in touch with your region’s CEPE or CESC Chair.
      • If you have further questions or are not in a CE region, please reach out to us at CE@thn.org.

Understanding the Basics of Coordinated Entry

Planning the Coordinated Entry Process

  • VI-SPDAT, Version 2.01 (Download PDF / Spanish Version) and F-VI-SPDAT, Version 2.01 (Download PDF / Spanish Version) – OrgCode, Inc.
      • These are the two assessment tools used in the Texas Balance of State CoC for the CE process.
  • VA Participation in Coordinated Entry – U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs
      • The memo and assessment checklist outline the VA’s expectations on VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) when their geography overlaps with a CoC, which includes participating in the CE process.
  • HUD’s New Coordinated Entry Data Elements – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
      • Published in April 2020, this document provides an overview of the new CE data elements, and why CE data is important.
  • Coordinated Entry Management and Data Guide – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
      • This guide discusses CE management and evaluation, data privacy and security, and the use of data reports to guide system change efforts.
  • Coordinated Entry and HMIS FAQs – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
      • This document responds to FAQs about Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) and how it can be used in the CE process.

Serving Subpopulations in Coordinated Entry

Coordinated Entry Regional Governance Documents

Every CE region has a Coordinated Entry Planning Entity (CEPE) that is responsible for implementing the day-to-day process of Coordinated Entry within their coverage area. Below, CEPE members can find their region’s governance documents: Policies & Procedures, Eligibility Matrix, Marketing Materials, and Ghost Profile list.

Entry Points in the Texas Balance of State CoC

Are you looking for housing or services in the TX BoS CoC? On the interactive map below, you can find the contact information of all the Entry Points in the TX BoS CoC. The agencies are organized by CE region, and you can filter the results by city or county and/or by special population. If you are unable to access the information embedded on the Tableau map below, please email the Systems Change Team at CE@thn.org.

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