Community Interest

Coordinated Entry Provides One-Stop Assistance for People Experiencing Homelessness

The Community Council of St. Charles County and the Tri-County Continuum of Care announce the opening of their Coordinated Entry case management center to serve people who are homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren County. The center, accessible by calling United Way's 2-1-1 helpline, provides clients with access to more than 40 housing programs serving the region. According to Todd Barnes, Community Council's Executive Director, "Currently, people who are homeless must call each housing provider directly and complete a separate assessment for every agency. Through Coordinated Entry, they can call a single phone number and complete a single assessment to access the services they need."

Coordinated Entry also provides a simpler, more coordinated process when police, hospital personnel, schools, churches and others in the community assist people who are homelessness. For the agencies providing housing services, Coordinated Entry reduces time spent on phone inquiries and assessments, so they can focus staff time on stabilizing housing for their clients.

When an individual or family contacts Coordinated Entry, they will first receive triage to determine if emergency shelter is needed. Then, a case manager will conduct a standardized, research-based assessment, which determines eligibility for housing programs and assigns a vulnerability score for prioritizing services. Those with high vulnerability will be referred to an available housing program for which they qualify.

If no program openings are available at the time of the assessment, the individual or family will be placed on a community waiting list. While waiting for services, they will receive ongoing case management, including assistance with developing a personalized housing stability plan. The case management team will also assist anyone not qualifying for housing services with completing their housing stability plan and connecting to support services through churches, small nonprofits and other community organizations.

Coordinated Entry is mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities receiving federal homeless funding. In St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren Counties, funding for Coordinated Entry was provided in part by Missouri Foundation for Health. The Foundation is a resource for the region, working with communities and nonprofits to generate and accelerate positive changes in health. As a catalyst for change, the Foundation improves the health of Missourians through a combination of partnership, experience, knowledge and funding. Other partners contributing to Coordinated Entry include local municipalities, hospital systems, churches and social service agencies.

Community Council of St. Charles County is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization providing education, training, networking and resources to 200 member organizations and others interested in strengthening the health & human services network in the St. Charles region. A proud member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis, Community Council creates collaborative partnerships to address community needs. The Council’s offices are located in the Community Commons @ the Spencer Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District, where it offers meeting space and other centralized services for community groups. More information on the Community Council is available at www.communitycouncilstc.org.