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Health, Housing & Community Services Department
Health, Housing & Community Services Department

Coordinated Entry System at the HRC

Current resources to support Berkeley's unhoused residents and homeless service providers are available online.

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Berkeley’s CENTRAL ENTRY POINT for Homeless Services   


Contacting the Housing Resource Center (HRC)  


211 (Monday - Friday 9am - 12pm)

People without a phone can call 211 from the following locations:

Berkeley Drop-In Center, 3234 Adeline Street (Anyone)
Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center, 2218 Acton Street (Women only) 
A Berkeley Senior Center (55 years of age or older)

(during HRC Drop-in Hours)

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9-noon
2809 Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705

Berkeley Drop-in Center 
Tuesdays after the 10am housing workshop 
3234 Adeline Street

Women's Daytime Drop-in Center (Women only) 
Wednesdays at 11am
2218 Acton Street



Purpose of Coordinated Entry

Berkeley’s Coordinated Entry System (CES) is part of Alameda County’s comprehensive strategy to address homelessness more efficiently and equitably. CES is not a program. It is a policy that incorporates three key practices across Berkeley’s entire homeless services system:
1. Standardization: CES aims to reduce confusion among clients by creating a single assessment process and common set of eligibility criteria, so consumers only have to tell their sensitive personal stories once.
2. Prioritization: Historically, limited beds or services have often been rationed on a first-come, first-served basis. CES prioritizes people who have been homeless the longest, are sleeping on the streets or other places not meant for habitation, and are the most disabled.
3. Coordination:  CES eliminates “side doors” by requiring providers to accept referrals from a centralized priority list of Berkeley's highest-needs homeless households. CES holds that access to services should not be based on the services or advocacy a client currently has access to.

Berkeley’s prior, uncoordinated system frequently left vulnerable, high-needs people (those least able to navigate Alameda County’s housing market on their own) unserved or underserved. CES is a strategy to intentionally serve those least able to serve themselves first.


Coordinated Entry and the HRC: Overview and Flow

Coordinated Entry happens through the North County HRC, a collaboration between the Cities of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville, and the Bay Area Community Services (BACS).

Screening, Diversion, and Intake – Calling 211
The CES process begins with a screening and assessment. Homeless or at-risk people who are interested should call Alameda County 211 (direct: 888-886-9660). HRC outreach staff may also approach people, wherever they are – including parks, encampments, and shelters—to ask if they are interested.

When calling 211, you should know the following:
• If you are literally homeless (meaning sleeping on the streets, in a car, or in other places not meant for human habitation) in North Alameda County, staff will ask about your homelessness right away and make a phone transfer:

  • Single adults and transition-aged youth (ages 18 to 25) who are literally homeless in Berkeley, Albany or Emeryville will be transferred to the HRC operated by BACS.
  • Homeless families with children who are literally homeless in Berkeley, Albany or Emeryville are served through a partnership with the Family Front Door in Oakland. Calls will be transferred to the Family Front Door.
  • Once your call is transferred, be prepared to answer some questions about your homelessness history, your barriers to housing, and disabilities you may have. Accurate answers never disqualify you—they help best determine how to serve you. Please keep in mind that a full intake can take up to 45 or more minutes to complete.

• If you are about to be homeless (i.e. couch surfing, temporarily staying with friends, or at risk of losing your housing) you may qualify for assistance and resources to help prevent you from becoming homeless. Berkeley funds eviction defense and housing retention resources for these households.

• If you are homeless or about to be homeless but reside outside of Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville, you will be redirected to homeless resources in your area.

Prioritization and Services

Prioritization by Needs
Any Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville resident who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence is eligible for shelter, housing, and case management. However, inadequate funding for social service programs means that the HRC is currently only able to offer housing subsidies and housing navigation services to individuals that are assessed as having high-needs, since these people are least likely to successfully resolve their homelessness on their own.

When meeting with a HRC worker or calling 211, people experiencing a housing crisis will be asked to answer some questions to determine their level of need. Berkeley uses a common assessment tool developed by Alameda County that asks about:
• History of homelessness
• Barriers to housing (prior evictions, length of time since last lease)
• Disability and vulnerability

Using this tool, those with longer histories of homelessness, one or more disabilities, and a number of barriers to housing (such as prior evictions) are prioritized for services and resources using a standard scoring method. Much as a hospital emergency room triages based on severity of medical need, ranking on the priority list is dynamic, meaning a person’s position on the list may change due to their circumstances or the circumstances of others.

If answers to key questions determine that you are eligible for housing navigation and other services, documentation of eligibility will be requested.  These documents may include verification of mental or physical disability, income verification, verification of homeless status. HRC staff will work with consumers, providers, and identified advocates to obtain the needed documentation.

Housing Navigation
High-needs people may be eligible for Housing Navigation services, which can include:
• Housing search and application assistance
• Assistance with obtaining benefits 
• Temporary rental subsidy with rapid re-housing.
• Referrals and connections to medical care and other services.

Homeless people are matched to housing navigation from the North County’s prioritized list.

Housing Education and Counseling Workshops
Everyone that enters the coordinated entry system can access a Housing Education and Counseling workshop, provided by Bay Area Community Services, that includes:
• How to complete housing applications and find housing in a competitive market
• Available housing today
• Adjusting to permanent housing
• Developing good relationships with landlords
• And more.

Bay Area Community Services offers other workshops Monday-Friday throughout the County (Visit the BACS website for a complete list and schedule of housing workshops.) Anyone is welcome. Workshops in Berkeley take place:
 Every Tuesday at 9 AM at the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (2218 Acton St., Berkeley, CA 94702) for women only.
• Every Tuesday at 10:30 AM at the Berkeley Drop-in Center (3234 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703).


 Tips for CLIENTS: Getting the Most from Coordinated Entry  

• Participate to the fullest extent you are able. Services offered through Coordinated Entry are entirely voluntary. If you don’t actively participate, you’ll get less out of it. 
• Be honest. Once the HRC really knows your true story, you will be offered more appropriate services. You will never get disqualified for sharing what your needs are. If you are a provider and believe your client is higher needs than assessed, you can request that the HRC re-assess the person at any time.
• Be creative. Berkeley and Alameda County are in the midst of an unprecedented housing crisis. Affordable housing for formerly homeless people is in very short supply. Anything you can do to end your homelessness on your own—re-initiating contact with family, or splitting the rent on shared housing with friends, for example—is likely to be a quicker way for you to get out of “the system.”
• Bring an advocate. With your explicit permission, advocates or your current case managers can be a part of your CES screening and assessment process. This may help ensure that you receive an accurate assessment, but it will not change the services for which you are eligible.
• Ask for a Reasonable Accommodation. If you have a disability, you are entitled to help in applying for and keeping the benefits you need.   This may include help with filling out forms, getting documents, having special appointments, being reminded about things, extra time to do things, having things read to you, and many other forms of help.  Please ask for help at any time.


Accessing Shelter

Shelter beds in Berkeley are allocated through the Coordinated Entry System. If you are homeless in Berkeley and in need of shelter, call 211 Monday - Friday between 9 - noon. 

Youth age 18-24 who are interested should walk-into YEAH! Shelter at the Lutheran Church of the Cross (1744 University Avenue in Berkeley) at 8:30 PM until 10 PM and ask if a bed is available. Beds fill quickly—arrive as close to  8:30 PM as you can.

7 p.m. Emergency Shelter Bed Reservation Hotline

Starting at 7 p.m., Monday-Friday, unfilled shelter beds will be filled on a first come, first served basis by calling: 

Shelter Reservation Hotline at (510) 290-5705. 

Emergency beds filled through the Hotline Monday-Thursday will be for one night only.   Emergency beds filled on Friday night will be through Sunday night.  



 Berkeley Coordinated Entry Partnering Agencies

Who is Involved?
The Berkeley, Albany, and Emeryville Coordinated Entry System is a collaborative effort that involves referrals to and from a variety of partner agencies, including:

Abode Services, Bay Area Community Services, Berkeley Drop-In Center, Berkeley Food & Housing Project, Bonita House, BOSS, City of Berkeley Mental Health Division, City of Berkeley Aging Division, Dorothy Day House, Fred Finch Youth Center, Homeless Action Center, Lifelong Medical Care, New Bridge Foundation, Options Recovery Services, Women's Daytime Drop-In Center and Covenant House/YEAH!.

How Can Providers Assist?
If your client is determined to be high need, the HRC will request supporting documentation verifying length of homelessness and disabilities reported.  You can assist, wherever possible, by providing your clients with:

More Information for clients
Agencies can provide their clients with this one-page flyer for more information on connecting with the HRC.


Frequently Asked Questions: Alameda County Coordinated Entry

1. Is Coordinated Entry required? Yes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the State of California have long recognized the importance and success of coordinated entry processes as a necessary strategy for ending homelessness at a broader, regional level. The Cities of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville comply with the requirements of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CoC Interim Rule 24 CFR 578 and all applicable notices, including Notice CPD-17-01, CPD-14-012 and CPD-16-11, in operating Coordinated Entry through the HRC. HUD has set a deadline for projects funded by either the CoC Program or the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program to be compliant with these regulations by January 23, 2018.

2. Will Coordinated Entry improve communication and coordination among providers in Berkeley? Yes! Coordinated entry will be a real-time, system-wide approach to communication and management of a homelessness response system. Strategies include:
a. A new HMIS: Alameda County has contracted with a new homeless management information system (HMIS) vendor, Clarity Human Services, to support countywide Coordinated Entry. Once complete, Clarity’s HMIS enables providers, in real time, to make referrals back and forth, match clients to resources, and communicate with one another about data and case plans to the fullest extent permissible under state and federal privacy laws. All programs in Coordinated Entry will use the new HMIS, and be required to both enter and access data in real-time.
b. Case conferencing: Coordinating care for vulnerable clients with complex issues takes a village. The City of Berkeley implement national best practices by hosting regular inter-agency case conferences on our most vulnerable clients. These case conferences, which are now a contractual requirement for agencies receiving homeless funding from the City of Berkeley, allow homeless services providers to share updates on clients, coordinate next steps, and rely on one another for advice, so no one falls through the cracks.

3. What will Coordinated Entry look like in Alameda County? Countywide Coordinated Entry includes multiple access points that use a standard and fair process to assess, prioritize, and match people experiencing a housing crisis to available services and resources. These include outreach, housing problem-solving, shelter, transitional housing, housing navigation, rapid rehousing, and permanent supportive housing. In addition to the North County HRC, countywide CES will include the following access points:
a. County-wide Call Center (211) serving all household types, operated by Eden I&R.
b. Regional HRC for Oakland (including Piedmont), operated by Bay Area Community Services and East Oakland Community Project
c. North County (including Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville) Family Front Door serving households with children in North County, operated by Building Futures with Women and Children and East Oakland Community Project
d. Regional HRCs for East County (including Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin and eastern unincorporated county), South County (including Fremont, Newark, Union City), and Mid-County (including Hayward, Alameda, Castro Valley, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and other western unincorporated areas) operated by Abode Services and serving all household types

4. Who will be a part of Coordinated Entry across the County? Ideally, any local organization providing housing and services to households experiencing homelessness will participate in Coordinated Entry. All programs funded with Federal Continuum of Care (CoC), and with State and Local Emergency Solution Grants (ESG) are required to participate in Coordinated Entry. In addition, programs specifically designated for people experiencing homelessness that are funded under the Whole Person Care Pilot – Alameda County Care Connect, Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), County Boomerang (general funds), SAMHSA, non-Boomerang County General Funds, and City General Funds are also required to participate in the CE.

5. What does it mean to be part of Countywide Coordinated Entry? Being part of Coordinated Entry means that your program will only receive referrals from the North County HRC (for singles), the Family Front Door (for families), or from Home Stretch (for permanent supportive housing). Programs serving Transition Aged Youth may receive referrals from HRCs across the county. Individual programs in Berkeley will no longer solely determine or manage their own entry eligibility, waitlists, or process for assigning shelter, housing or other essential and limited housing-related resources, but will continue to collaborate with regional HRCs, the Countywide Call Center, and Home Stretch to make and receive referrals. All programs in Coordinated Entry will use the new HMIS when it is launched, and be required to both enter and access information in real time.


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Health, Housing & Community Services Department, 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-5400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903