Calgary’s Homeless-Serving System of Care (CHSSC) is a complex system that requires dedicated and expert resources to lead. CHF, as the system planner for CHSSC is agency neutral, has the resources, expertise and evidence in the form of a robust data base (HMIS) to make informed decisions and to collaboratively develop and oversee an integrated system that best meets the needs of those who are homeless.
In 2013, informed by best practices and supported by community engagement, CHF fostered the development and integration of Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) into the system of care. CAA is a single place or process for people experiencing homelessness to access housing through an equitable model that applies a population-based, prioritization approach. In Calgary’s system, a service provider assesses the client using a standardized needs assessment template called the Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT). This tool helps to determine the client’s needs and is intended to be applied in the system of care in a standardized and methodical way. Needs assessments (SPDATs) are reviewed at weekly Placement Committee meetings that are comprised of CHF funded agencies. Clients are matched to service programs and housing based on available space, acuity, best fit and client choice.
Last year, there were 24 funded agencies representing 35 programs taking part in CAA and a total of 1,309 people had their needs assessed. There were also over a dozen other system partners and non-funded agencies that supported CAA through linkages, attendance at placement meetings and regular referral streams.