March CES Scoop

coordinated entry


March 2020

This month, in the Scoop:

  • VI-SPDAT will no longer be used

  • Assessment changes due to Covid-19 virus

  • Highlight: Coordinated Entry Navigation Services

  • Training for the HUD Data Standards Changes for CE

  • Interconnectedness of housing instability and domestic violence 101

VI-SPDAT will no longer be used in the Hennepin County Coordinated Entry System


On March 3, 2020, the Hennepin County Coordinated Entry Leadership Committees voted to stop using the VI-SPDAT as part of the CES assessment.  This decision was made based on the C4 Innovations report, feedback from the community and CES assessors.

The C4 Innovations study (shared with the Hennepin County CoC listserv on December 12, 2019) reported “that use of the VI-SPDAT unfairly favors white people over people of color, thereby perpetuating racial inequities within the homeless system”.   Given the C4 research and the concern that the VI-SPDAT is unnecessarily traumatizing to households, the CES Leadership Committees determined it is time to move forward with the elimination of the VI-SPDAT and explore alternatives to assess people experiencing homelessness in our community. The CES Leadership Committees are committed to advancing racial equity in our homeless response system and believe ending the use of the VI-SPDAT as an imperative step in that direction.


ALL assessors will stop administering the VI-SPDAT portion of the CES assessment on March 23, 2020.  Please continue to use the VI-SPDAT until March 23, 2019 as the prioritization list will still use the VI-SPDAT score until that date.

  • Households will now be prioritized using:
    • Disability (1st)
    • Chronic homelessness (2nd)
    • Number of HUD months homeless (3rd)
  • The VI-SPDAT scores will be removed from the prioritization list and prioritization will occur utilizing the existing components outlined above.

  • Since scores will be removed from the priority list, households will no longer be recommended for a specific intervention type (Rapid Rehousing, Transitional Housing, Fast Track, Permanent Supportive Housing). The removal of the VI-SPDAT score, which was unfairly assigning intervention scores, means that households will have more equitable access to all intervention types.

  • Households will be referred to housing providers based on program requirements (outlined on the vacancy request form) and the prioritization listed above. Referrals will still use the supplemental questions to help match households to program vacancies.


Next Steps (All)

  • Households will continue to be assessed through the Coordinated Entry System. 
  • There are NO CHANGES to CES entry points or assessors.

Next Steps (Assessors)

  • Assessors will stop using the VI-SPDAT on March 23, 2020.
  • Assessors will continue to complete the housing history, number of months HUD homeless, disability and ALL other supplemental questions.  The assessors will only skip the VI-SPDAT portion of the assessment.
  • Assessed households will no longer “score” into an intervention type.  If the client is aware that the VI-SDPAT was formerly part of the assessment, please assure them that this part of the assessment has been removed, but that the assessment is still valid and they will be placed on the priority list.
  • Assessors can still include client preference in the notes as part of the assessment.  We plan to build more client choice into the new assessment.


Next Steps (Housing Providers)

  • As mentioned above, the C4 study reported that the VI-SPDAT does not equitably capture vulnerabilities for people of color. With the elimination of the VI-SPDAT from the CES assessment, households will no longer be “scoring” into a recommended intervention type. Households will be referred to housing providers based on program requirements (outlined on the vacancy request form) and the prioritization listed above. 
  • This is one step in a longer process to develop a new CES assessment. Please remain in communication with the CES staff and CES Leadership Committees regarding concerns, questions, and feedback.
  • Please talk to staff members who interface with CES about the changes so they are prepared to answer questions if households they work with or other community partners have questions.



We will be reaching out to gain input from the homeless response community as we move through the process to develop an updated and improved CES assessment process and tool.

Please let us know if you have questions.

CES Family and Youth Leadership Committee Co-chair – Charlotte Moris -

CES Family and Youth Leadership Committee Co-chair–Charlotte

CES Singles and Youth Leadership Committee Co-chair – Jay Wagner -

CES Singles and Youth Leadership Committee Co-chair – Susannah King -

CES Principal Planning Analyst – Tracy Schumacher –

CES Principal Planning Analyst – Amy Donohue –


Assessment changes due to Covid-19 virus

St. Stephen's Human Services family assessors will now be conducting assessments by phone. If you are working with a family staying in a place other than a County funded shelter and is eligible for Coordinated Entry, continue to contact Front Door Social Services at 612-348-4111 to set up an assessment.

For single adults, Matrix Housing Services will be suspending drop-in hours at Opportunity Center. To have a Coordinated Entry assessment completed, call the Matrix Housing Services’ certified assessors: James at 612-283-2567 or Tori at 612-790-7827 directly to set up a time to meet.

Highlighting Coordinated Entry Navigation Services (CENS)

Guild Incorporated provides Coordinated Entry Navigation Services or CENS, as it is better known, for Hennepin County.


Coordinated Entry Navigation Services (CENS) fills a gap in the system

When a household is referred to housing providers, the housing provider must locate individuals, engage the participant, and obtain the documentation required for eligibility and housing, often resulting in additional months homeless for participants and empty units for providers. People who have experienced homelessness for longer periods of time often have more of these barriers which makes the transition to housing more difficult. CENS workers will fill this gap for 25 participants at one time in Hennepin County. 

What are Coordinated Entry Navigation Services (CENS)?

Guild Incorporated provides Coordinated Entry Navigation Services (CENS) for household that are referred to them by the Singles CES priority list manager. The target population for these services are people who are chronically homeless and not currently receiving supportive services. Once referred to a CENS worker, they will maintain contact with the participant until they are referred to a housing opportunity and facilitate a warm handoff. The type of services CENS workers provide include: assertive outreach to find and engage the referred participant; assistance with obtaining identity documents, disability documentation, and homelessness verification; and service coordination and referrals to mainstream benefits and behavioral health, medical, legal, and employment services.

Coordinating Services with Navigation Services

Navigation services are covered under the CES Release of Information (ROI). If a navigator from Guild reaches out to you as a shelter worker, assessor, or housing provider. – please coordinate with them to help provide the best care possible for participants. 


ICA has increased its training capacity for the HUD Data Standards Changes for CE

Coordinated Entry Training Videos

There is a new video series to introduce you to the HUD Data Standards Changes for Coordinated Entry, and walk you step-by-step through the new workflow in HMIS.

  • Overview of the Data Standards and Workflow Changes 2020
  • Assessing and Placing a Client onto the Priority List
  • Updating a Client's Assessment with New Information
  • Acknowledge a Housing Referral
  • Mark a Referral as Successful
  • Mark a Referral as Unsuccessful
  • Housing Outcome

Click on the following link to access the new Coordinated Entry video series: Google Form link. It is required that users complete a form before accessing the training videos to help their Priority List Managers track who has viewed the videos.

Training is mandatory for all HMIS users

Who should watch these videos? Training is required for any HMIS users responsible for data entry for Coordinated Entry in your CoC. You meet this training requirement by either attending the live webinars or watching the entire video series (above).

Will there be written instructions? There was a lot of great feedback after the first live training today. We will be incorporating answers to the great questions we received into the written instructions. These step-by-step instructions will be available on this page by the end of the week!

Interconnectedness of housing instability and domestic violence 101

A basic overview of housing instability and domestic violence

What: Learn more about the intersection of domestic violence and housing instability and how you can help through this interactive 90-minute training provided by Women's Advocates and Standpoint, in collaboration with Coordinated Entry.

Women's Advocates is located in St. Paul and is the first domestic violence shelter in the nation. Standpoint is a statewide organization whose mission is to promote justice for domestic and sexual violence victims.

This training will cover the basics of domestic violence, recognizing property and tenant signs of domestic violence, the different types of violence, practical skills and scenarios, understanding the consequences of domestic violence and how it relates to homelessness and housing instability (housing barriers), dispel common myths, including why some victims can’t leave, safety planning/how to support victim/survivors, a list of local support organizations in the community for referrals, and more.

There will be an opportunity for a q&a with our housing advocate at the end of the training. 

The intended audience for this training are staff members, advocates or community agencies that hope to learn more about domestic violence in a housing context. 

Training Options*:

  • Option 1: Monday, April 13th from 10am-11:30am at Brookdale Library (Full Meeting Room ABC)
  • Option 2: Wednesday, April 15th from 1-2:30pm at Southdale Library (Full Meeting Room)

Please RSVP to either at this link:


* Trainings are free and will also be available through Zoom. 

CES Leadership Recap

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