July CES Scoop: Update on the revamped assessment

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July 2021

This month, in the Scoop

  • Update on the development of revamped assessment
  • Emergency Housing Voucher update: progress being made, still seeking additional case managers

  • Slight change made to the CES Transfer Policy

  • Kudos to Assessors: Data errors are very low
  • Upcoming Coordinated Entry 101 Training 
  • Meet the Single Adult and Youth Leadership Committee 
  • Leadership Recap

Update on the development of revamped assessment

On March 3, 2020, the Hennepin County Coordinated Entry System (CES) Leadership Committees voted to stop using the VI-SPDAT as part of the CES assessment. The VI-SPDAT was just one part of the assessment and one of the features of prioritization order.

Households are currently being prioritized using the following criteria:

  • Disability (1st)
  • Chronic homelessness (2nd)
  • Number of HUD months homeless (3rd)

Households are referred to housing providers based on program requirements  and the prioritization listed above. Referrals continue to use the supplemental questions to help match households to program vacancies. This prioritization order ensures that those experiencing chronic homelessness have a higher likelihood of being matched for housing


Update on the process to create a revamped Coordinated Entry assessment. 

The CE assessment is broken down into 5 sections:  

  • Assessor Information
  • Client and Household Information
  • Housing Information
  • Client Choice
  • Notes

We chose the Client Choice section to focus on first because:

  1. Households experiencing homelessness know what they need above anyone else, so let’s ask them! We wanted ask the client directly, what level of housing intervention do they need to be successful.
  2. Our data told us that the “denial by client” rate is high! We need to help clients understand their options during the assessment so they can make informed choices regarding the type of housing intervention that may best fit their needs. This will also help the priority list manager make more informed referrals to housing providers which should lead to fewer “denials by clients”.  

How has this work been done?

A stakeholder group made up of people with lived experience of homelessness (over half the group), community providers, reps from the Hennepin County CES team, with guidance from C4 Innovations, is conducting a process to create a new Client Choice series.  They have been meeting every other week for several months to identify missing questions, enhance current questions, and to ensure that at the core of this process is equity.

Progress so far:

  • Identified the needs and gaps and drafted new questions
  • Identified the questions that were still relevant but needed modification
  • Finalizing assessor script. The assessor script will aid assessors in better explaining the CE process and housing availability to households experiencing homelessness.

Next Steps & timeline:

  • Finalize questions and script
  • Implement new questions into HMIS and CES Connect
  • Introduce and train new questions to assessors

We hope to be wrapping up this process in the next 2 months.

What’s next?

Medical Fragility

Based on feedback from Street Voice of Change, the CE Team is working with a group of medical professionals from the community to examine the need and logistics of incorporating medical fragility into the CES assessment. 

Emergency Housing Voucher update: progress being made, still seeking additional case managers

On May 5thHUD issued a notice that designated Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV) to a select group of Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). In Hennepin County, we have been allotted approximately 350 Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs).

Eligibility and Access to Emergency Housing Vouchers

Using guidance provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), it was determined that the EHVs will be allocated to households that are currently experiencing literal homeless. This includes households that are residing in emergency shelter, living in an unsheltered location, or fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence. The addition of the Emergency Housing Vouchers, for this population, will add much needed housing opportunities, to an otherwise under resourced group.

The EHV’s will be issued to households through the Hennepin Coordinated Entry System. Visit www.hennepin.us/coordinated-entry to learn about eligibility and access to the Coordinated Entry System.

Seeking to identify Housing Case Managers

To receive an EHV referral, in Hennepin County, a household must be connected to case management services. Hennepin CoC continues to seek to identify case managers who will provide case management services for the emergency housing voucher recipients. Agencies employing the case managers and the case managers themselves will need to choose to opt in to this program and sign an agreement stating that they agree to meet the expectations that are detailed here: Definition of Required Case Management Services for a Hennepin County issued Emergency Housing Voucher.docx

If you or your agency is interested in providing this critical service, please contact Amy.Donohue@Hennepin.us.

Progress to Date:

  • Case managers from three Hennepin County teams have signed up to provide case management services (There is still a need for more case managers!).
  • Outreach is being done with shelters, outreach, survivor services, etc.
  • There is work being done with ICA to establish the EHV workflow in HMIS to both identify individuals eligible for the EHV project as well as provide the ability to monitor and evaluate the EHV project. 

Slight change made to the CES Transfer Policy

The single adult and family CES Leadership Committees voted in their July meetings to make a small change to the CES Transfer Policy. The transfer policy advises on how to transfer from one housing program to another when the type of housing intervention a household was referred to does not meet the needs of a household. The policy was reviewed after the initial 6 month pilot. A workgroup established to monitor the policy suggested the change.

The change will impact a household that intends to transfer from a Rapid Rehousing (RRH) program to a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) program. A household now needs to be in a RRH program for 15 months, rather than 18 months, to be eligible to transfer to a PSH program. They also need to met the other benchmarks outlined in the policy. 

Click here to view the CES Transfer Policy

Kudos to assessors! 

HMIS data errors are very low for assessors

As we have tackled HMIS errors this year, one thing has become clear assessors are doing an incredible job with data entry.

In the past 6 weeks, there were only 7 HMIS errors made by assessors (3 assessors accounted for all 7 errors). Thank you assessors for your attention to detail and dedication to the clients you are supporting. 

New training coming for housing providers

Our data also shows that we need to focus our attention on creating helpful HMIS videos for housing providers like what was done for assessors. Housing providers made more errors, mostly when exiting someone from the priority list during the referral process.

In the future we plan to create helpful HMIS videos for housing providers like what was done for assessors. This includes videos on how to fix errors.

Coordinated Entry 101 Training

Webinar - Hennepin County Coordinated Entry 101

Date: Tuesday, September 28th

Time: 11:00 am - Noon

Location: Log into the webinar here


In this training you will learn the following about Hennepin County Coordinated Entry:

  • What Coordinated Entry is.
  • Why Coordinated Entry is used.
  • How the Coordinated Entry System Works: Shelter, Assessments & Referrals.
  • Housing Resources for Clients.


Meet the Single Adult and Youth CES Leadership Committee

In past months we have introduced you to the Hennepin County CES Team, the Co-chairs of the CES Leadership Committees, and the Family CES Leadership Team. This month we are introducing you to the members of the Single Adult and Youth CES Leadership Committee.

The CES Leadership Committees are responsible for oversight and monitoring of Coordinated Entry System. The committees are comprised of various Hennepin County stakeholders to ensure consistent application of CES policies and procedures and high quality service delivery for persons and families experiencing a housing crisis.

Meet the members of the Single Adult and Youth CES Leadership Committee

  • Lucy Bullock, Rapid Rehousing Supervisor, Cornerstone, DV population
  • Stacy Sweeney, Program Executive, YMCA of the North - Youth & Family Services - Housing & Homeless Services, representing all things Youth
  • Kim Lieberman, Housing Systems Advocate, Rainbow Health. My position represents people living with HIV, as well as LGBTQ+ folx  
  • Mark Miller, Youth Site Manager, Aeon - Youth and Landlords
  • Cherita Tenhoff, Program Manager of Adult Shelter Connect, Simpson Housing
  • Tim Deen, RS Eden
  • Zarita Hester - Co-chair, Single Adult Housing Case Manager at St. Stephens Human Services.
  • Susannah King, MSW, LICSW - Co-chair, Social Services Manager with Hennepin County Health Care for the Homeless

To learn more about The Family Leadership Committee we asked them why they joined the CES leadership committee and to share anything in their background or personal life they want others to know: Get to know the Single Adult and Youth Coordinated Entry Leadership Committee.docx..

Leadership Recap

Single Adults and Youth Leadership Committee

Families Leadership Committee


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