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SSVF Webinar Series: Standards, Fidelity Assessment & Coordinated Assessment: Opportunities for Integration of VA’s SSVF Program. May 30, 2013 2:00 – 3:30 pm. Presenters. Linda Southcott, SSVF Program Office Tom Albanese, Abt Associates Matt White, Abt Associates. Webinar Format.

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SSVF Webinar Series:

Standards, Fidelity Assessment & Coordinated Assessment: Opportunities for Integration of VA’s SSVF Program

May 30, 2013

2:00 – 3:30 pm


Linda Southcott, SSVF Program Office

Tom Albanese, Abt Associates

Matt White, Abt Associates

webinar format
Webinar Format
  • Webinar will last approximately 1.5 hours
  • Participants’ phone connections are automatically “muted” due to the high number of callers

GoToWebinar Housekeeping: time for questions

Your Participation

  • Please submit your text questions and comments using the Questions Panel
  • Note: Today’s presentation is being recorded and will be made available to all of the reviewers.
  • Released April 2013.
  • Developed by SSVF TA team and VA SSVF Program Office, in consultation with SSVF grantees, VA National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, US Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
  • Reflect growing consensus about what works and best practices.
  • Not mandatory or subject to monitoring, though may be in future.
  • Collaboration with COA/CARF
organization of standards1
Organization of Standards
  • Approach statements
  • Standards
    • PPP: Policies, Procedures and Practices
    • STS: Staff Training and Supervision
    • PQI: Performance and Quality Improvement
i outreach engagement and admission
I. Outreach, Engagement and Admission

I A: Targeting, Eligibility and Prioritization Criteria


  • Target population, associated eligibility and prioritization criteria informed by local data
  • Focus on un-served or underserved persons who lack other available, appropriate housing options, financial resources, and supports sufficient to prevent or end literal homelessness.
  • Coordination with VA, other homeless providers, community providers
i outreach engagement and admission1
I. Outreach, Engagement and Admission

I B: Outreach and Engagement


  • Outreach includes both direct contact with homeless and at-risk populations and timely response to referrals from homeless, human service and mainstream resources.
  • Targeted, proactive and client-centered
  • Attention to finding and engaging with persons in crisis who may be initially reluctant to accept assistance
  • Outreach through other agencies, assessment/triage points is efficient
i outreach engagement and admission2
I. Outreach, Engagement and Admission

I C: Screening and Program Admission Determination


  • Eligibility screening, admission decisions consistent with program eligibility/prioritization policies and funder requirements
  • Screening assessment accounts for each applicant’s presenting housing crisis and whether the program is the most effective, available, acceptable method of resolving an applicant’s housing crisis
  • Households admitted to the program would have become or would have remained literally homeless "but for" program assistance.
ii assessment and housing plan
II. Assessment and Housing Plan

II A: Assessment


  • Assessment process is progressive – assessment and information gathering occurs when appropriate and relevant to program service delivery and referral decisions and does not gather unnecessary information
  • Assessment focuses on the participant’s immediate housing crisis, emphasizing the participant’s strengths and barriers as these relate directly to obtaining or maintaining housing
  • Assessment of relevant housing barriers is focused on “tenant screening” barriers and “housing retention” barriers.
ii assessment and housing plan1
II. Assessment and Housing Plan

II B: Housing Plan


  • A Housing Plan is developed for each participant household following assessmentand is periodically updated, including at program exit
  • The Housing Plan is developed in partnership with the participant and includes the participant’s goals, strengths and preferences; addresses critical housing retention barriers; and is reasonable and realistic in scope
  • The initial Plan addresses the participant’s immediate housing crisis and any risks to health and safety
  • Subsequent Plans address obtaining and/or maintaining permanent housing.
  • Participants exiting the program are assisted in developing a Plan that addresses actions a participant will take to achieve greater stability or minimize the chance of a return to housing instability and crisis in the near term.
iii participant services non financial
III. Participant Services, Non-Financial

III A: Case Management


  • Case management is short-term and individualized, focusing on assistance to obtain and retain permanent housing
  • A progressive approach to case management, is used – case management intensity and duration are provided to all program participants at the lowest level that is effective for the majority of clients
  • There is flexibility to provide more (or less) case management only if and when a participant demonstrates a need .
  • Case management includes the coordination of services to support participants in achieving their Housing Plan
  • Case managers provide detailed information about available community resources, services, and housing that are appropriate and acceptable to the participant,
  • Case managers assist participant to self-advocate for access to community-based services and housing.
  • Program staff includes people who have directly experienced and overcome homelessness and/or other conditions experienced by the target population.
iii participant services non financial1
III. Participant Services, Non-Financial

III B: Tenancy Supports


  • The program offers individualized tenancy supports designed to assist participants obtain and retain permanent housing.
  • Participants are provided with tenancy supports, based upon their knowledge, skills, and experience with lease requirements, adequate care of the housing unit, any broad tenant behavior clauses in the lease, as well as support that maximizes participants’ ability to pay their portion of housing costs.
  • The program uses a progressive approach to tenancy supports – all program participants are offered a minimum level of support and participants receive more (or less) support only if and when needed.
iv participant services financial
IV. Participant Services, Financial


  • The program offers time-limited, individualized financial assistance designed to assist participants obtain and retain permanent housing.
  • Financial assistance is provided at a level that enables participants to maintain housing while they seek to: increase income; relocate to less expensive housing; obtain a longer-term subsidy; and/or reduce expenses to sustain their housing.
  • Financial assistance is as minimal in amount and duration as possible and provided in a manner that is intended to avoid an immediate or near-term loss of housing.
  • The program recognizes that the long-term ability of a participant to pay housing expenses is not the responsibility and may not be within the control of the program.
v landlord supports
V. Landlord Supports


  • The program proactively develops relationships with landlords and offers support to the participant and the landlord to assure participants obtain housing and landlord needs are met.
  • Programs recruit landlords and develop agreements that specify the type and duration of supports to be provided by the program to the landlord.
  • The program uses a progressive approach to landlord supports – all landlords are offered a minimum level of support and landlords receive more (or less) support only if and when needed.
moving toward fidelity
Moving Toward Fidelity

1. Review standards with staff

2. Assess fidelity and identify areas for improvement

  • Fidelity Self-Assessment Tool
    • Designed to allow grantees to:
      • Assess fidelity to each standard by assigning a score
      • Identify which standards are a priority for quality improvement efforts
      • Establish a plan for quality improvement
      • Later-compare current scores with previous assessments to track improvements in fidelity over time.
    • 1 to 5 scale (low to high fidelity) for scoring each standard
    • Use as part of agency quality assurance practices, when significant program changes are made or planned
moving toward fidelity1
Moving Toward Fidelity

3. Make Improvements

VA Resources:

  • New SSVF Grantee Resources Webpage
    • Program overview, requirements, data collection/reporting AND
    • Practice Standards and Resources
      • Guidance for program planners, administrators and direct service staff
      • 5 modules aligned to standards
        • Self-directed training resources
        • Toolkits
        • Research references
  • Ongoing national training, regional meetings, and 1-1 technical assistance
supportive services for veterans and families

Supportive Services for Veterans and Families

Coordinated Access: Opportunities for Integration of VA’s SSVF Program

what is coordinated assessment
What is Coordinated Assessment?

Coordinated Assessment is a new requirement outlined in HUD’s CoC Program Interim Rule and ESG Interim Rule, directing the CoC to establish and operate a coordinated process for client engagement and service delivery by 2014. All CoC projects must participate in Coordinated Assessment, including SSVF.

coordinated assessment components
Coordinated Assessment Components
  • Access. Defined point (or points) of entry into the CoC’s crisis response system
  • Assessment. Standardized assessment to ensure consistency and uniformity in documenting clients’ needs
  • Referral. Intentional referral process to ensure clients are linked to the appropriate service strategy or intervention.
guiding principles
Guiding Principles
  • Reorient service provision, creating a more client-focused environment.
  • Minimize time and frustration clients experiencing trying to find assistance
  • Identify which strategies are best for each household based on knowledge of and access to a full array of available services.
  • Link households to the most appropriate intervention that will assist the household to resolve their housing crisis.
guiding questions for system design
Guiding Questions for System Design

Coordinated Assessment Systems

    • What housing and service assistance strategy would be best for each household?
    • What housing and service assistance strategy among all available is best for each household?
  • Client-centric
  • Standard forms and assessment processes
  • Community agreement on how to triage and where to refer
  • Coordinated referrals through the CoC
  • Current Systems
    • Should we accept this family into our project?
  • Program-centric
  • Different forms and assessment processes for each organization
  • Project-specific decision-making
  • Ad hoc referral process
  • Uneven knowledge about available housing and service interventions in the CoC’s
ssvf grantee role
SSVF Grantee Role…

Do I need to participate in the CoC’s design, planning, and implementation of Coordinated Assessment? … YES!

  • All homeless assistance and homeless prevention services need to be included in Coordinated Assessment
  • SSVF prevention and rapid rehousing services are a critical component of the CoC’s programmatic infrastructure
  • Participation in Coordinated Assessment is an opportunity to enhance service coordination, improve client outcomes, and assist VA in their goal to end veteran homelessness
how should ssvf grantees participate in coordinated assessment planning
How should SSVF grantees participate in Coordinated Assessment planning?
  • Review each of the Coordinated Assessment design components and consider the role SSVF services can play in your CoC
    • Access
    • Assess
    • Referral
  • Contact the CoC representatives in your region to get involved with planning and implementation

Access – Coordinated entry point into the CoC system of care.

  • Virtual or physical access;
  • Covers the geographic area of the CoC;
  • Easily accessed by individuals and families seeking homeless prevention or homeless assistance services;
  • Well advertised;
  • Multiple entry models:
    • Single point of entry, multiple entry; 211; no wrong door
access advanced approaches
Access – Advanced Approaches
  • Specialized access points for special populations (e.g. youth, victims of domestic violence, Veterans)
  • Mobile staff provide access to coordinated assessment services to clients unable or unwilling to utilize traditional access points.
  • Serves as access point for non-homeless or other community-based emergency assistance services (e.g. supplemental food assistance programs for persons who may not be homeless).
  • CoC uses HMIS to document clients’ use of centralized or coordinated intake services.
  • CoC use of HMIS to document client movement or transfer among CoC system projects (i.e. from emergency shelter to transitional housing).
  • Access point documents extent and scope of persons requesting homeless assistance services but who do not enroll in a CoC project (e.g., persons diverted from homeless system). Reasons for persons not enrolling are also tracked.

Assessment – document the needs of individuals and families seeking housing or services

  • Must use a comprehensive tool and standardized assessment process
  • HUD does not require the coordinated assessment to determine eligibility
assessment advanced approaches
Assessment – Advanced Approaches
  • Phasedwith scaled level of client engagement: traige, initial intake, placement-focused housing plan, ongong client assessment
  • Assessment process documents client needs, based on assessment, eligibility, based on written program standards for enrollment, referral based on available resources, and disposition, based on availability of housing and services in the CoC.
  • Assessment process documents client eligibility for available services and shares eligibility documentation with referral providers as appropriate.
  • CoC uses ongoing or progressive assessment as clients initially enter the crisis response system and move through the homeless system from one project or service to another.

Referral provided for housing and/or services for individuals and families experiencing a housing crisis.

  • CoC must establish written standards for the administration of projects, including eligibility criteria. Referrals must align with the CoCs written standards developed in conjunction with ESG recipients
referral advanced approaches
Referral – Advanced Approaches
  • CoC uses HMIS to document client referrals and linkages among CoC system programs (not just the initial entry point).
  • CoC adopts admission denial policies outlining the acceptable reasons a client referred to a project can be rejected/denied access by that project.
  • Referrals are managed within the context of a centralized waiting list for limited service or housing slots.
  • Referrals for available service and housing slots are made based on a CoC-defined prioritization process.
special considerations
Special Considerations

Rural Areas

  • Standardize tools
  • Referrals based on available resources
  • Consider hybrid approaches
  • Leverage remote technology – 211
  • Consider different approaches for each subpopulation
special considerations1
Special Considerations

Domestic Violence

  • VAWA and security concerns may prevent complete integration
  • DV provider as Centralized Intake operator
  • Consider other information coordination processes (non HMIS)
special considerations2
Special Considerations


  • VA funds CRRC (Community Resource and Referral Centers)
  • Coordinated entry point for VA housing, mental health, physical health, referral services
  • 17 CRRCs currently open. Expansion expected.
getting started
Getting Started

Integrate SSVF services into your CoC’s Coordinated Assessment approach:

  • Contact the CoC lead for your region and inquire about the status of Coordinated Assessment planning and implementation
  • Share screening, triage, and assessment protocols that your SSVF project currently uses
  • Coordinate with the ESG recipients in your region
additional questions
Additional Questions?

SSVF Program Office





thank you for participating in this webinar

The presentation has been recorded and will be posted on VA’s SSVF Website: