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Housing and Community Services Department
Housing and Community Services Department

Coordinated Entry System at the Hub:

Berkeley’s CENTRAL ENTRY POINT for Homeless Services   

 

 

Contacting the Hub  

Call: 211
People without a phone can call 211 from the Berkeley Drop-In Center (3234 Adeline St, Mon-Thurs 9 AM – 4 PM and Friday 9 AM to 2 PM), the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (women only; 2218 Acton St, Mon – Fri 8 AM – 4 PM), or at one of Berkeley’s senior centers.

 

In person:
• Over a meal: Community Meal (Mondays, 3:30 - 4:45 PM at 1744 University Avenue) and Community Breakfast (Tuesdays, 7:00 - 8:00 AM, 2138 Cedar Street)
• At a workshop: attend the Bay Area Community Services Housing Workshop (10:30-noon on Tuesdays at the Berkeley Drop-In Center, 3232 Adeline St).
• By meeting with an outreach worker (look for Hub staff in their red vests):
Mon: 10am-6pm
Tues: 7:30am-3:30pm
Wed: 10am-6pm
Thurs & Fri: 9am-5pm


 

 

 

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: Service providers have long maintained their own program eligibility criteria. CES reduces confusion among clients by creating a single assessment process and 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. A vulnerable person’s access to services should not be based on which case manager they are assigned to or which waitlist they are on.

Berkeley’s old, 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 Hub: Overview and Flow


Coordinated Entry happens through the North County Hub, a collaboration between the Cities of Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville and Berkeley Food and Housing Project.

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). Hub 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 Hub.
  • 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.    If you reside in Berkeley, you may qualify for a referral to housing retention resources and assistance.

• 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
CES provides everyone with some form of service. Everyone that enters the coordinated entry system can access educational and counseling workshops on housing. Inadequate funding for social service programs, however, means that the Hub 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.

Prioritization by Needs
Because the demand for affordable housing and homeless services is so much greater than our ability to address it, the Hub prioritizes people on the basis of their assessed needs:
• At Risk of Homelessness (low-needs): A Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville resident who must leave their current housing situation within 14 days, with no identified place to go, but is not yet homeless.
• Medium-needs: A Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville resident who is literally homeless but has a relatively shorter history of homelessness with few or no disabilities and few or no barriers to housing.
• High-needs: A Berkeley, Albany, or Emeryville resident experiencing a long-term period of homelessness with one or more disabilities and a number of barriers to housing.

What services are offered?
Everyone 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.

Workshops take place every Tuesday at 10:30 AM at the Hub (1901 Fairview St., Berkeley). Space is limited to the first 15 attendees who show. For more information, please contact Bay Area Community Services at 510-613-0330 or www.bayareacs.org.

High-needs people may be eligible for shelter and transitional housing beds. They may also be eligible for Housing Navigation services, which include:
• Housing search assistance
• Assistance with obtaining benefits
• Completing a Home Stretch application 
• Temporary rental subsidy
• Referrals and connections to medical care and other services.

Eligibility
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. Hub staff will work with consumers, providers, and identified advocates to obtain the needed documentation.

 

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 Hub 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 Hub 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 for an assessment of needs.

Shelter beds that are not filled by Coordinated Entry are available for one-night emergencies on a first-come, first-served basis.
• Adults who are interested should call 1-866-960-2132 only during the times listed below:

  • Monday - Friday from 7:00-8:00 pm until beds are filled.
  • Saturday and Sunday at 2:00-3:00 pm until beds are filled

• 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 7:30 PM and ask if a bed is available. Beds fill quickly—arrive as close to 7:30 PM as you can.

All emergency beds given out on Friday and Saturday nights can be occupied until Monday morning. There are no one-night emergency beds for families at this time.

 

Accessing Emergency Homeless Services

 
People do not need to go to the Hub to access emergency homeless services. If you are in need of a meal, a shower, or simply a brief break from the streets, visit the Emergency Homeless Services page. This page will also include information on the Berkeley Emergency Storm Shelter (BESS) when in operation. BESS is a warming center that is open during the winter on rainy nights or cold nights (under 40 degrees). The decision to open the warming center shelter occurs on a daily basis. 


 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:

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, 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 Hub will request supporting documentation verifying length of homelessness and disabilities reported.  You can assist, wherever possible, by providing your clients with a verification of homelessness and a verification of disability.

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

 

Frequently Asked Questions: Countywide 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 Hub. 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 and plans to launch countywide Coordinated Entry in our new system, Clarity Human Services, in January. 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. The system will greatly improve user experience and reporting abilities over the current HMIS (ServicePoint). 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. Beginning early 2018, the North County Hub will 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, will allow 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 will include multiple access points, including street outreach, a countywide Call Center, and regionally-based Housing Resource Centers (HRC’s or Hubs), which will work with all individuals and families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Access points will 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 Hub, 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 Hub 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 Hubs 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) 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 the CE process. 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 Hub (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 Hubs 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 Hubs, 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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Housing and Community Services Department, 2180 Milvia Street, 2nd Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: HHCS@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-5400
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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