A Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement (CAHP) system is the process by which all people experiencing homelessness in a community are moved from the streets into the best housing option for their needs. A CAHP consists of a set of common procedures and tools used by partnering organizations and agencies within a community to identify, assess, prioritize, and match individuals and families experiencing homelessness with appropriate housing and service interventions.
Within a CAHP system, all people experiencing homelessness in a community are organized in real-time through a data-driven process. Each individual’s information is then used to facilitate a housing referral based on their need, chronic and veteran status, and other priorities as determined locally. This process occurs in three phases:
Navigation and Case Conferencing
Housing Referral with Choice
In this phase, a standard set of questions, know as a Common Assessment Tool (CAT) is used by all agency and outreach workers within a community to quickly assess people based on need and eligibility.
The CAT is used to understand the needs of a person experiencing homelessness and to refer to the most appropriate housing or service intervention based on that need, and other factors including chronic and veterans status, and other priorities as determined locally by a community.
Data collected through a CAT helps communities make informed decisions for referrals to available housing and service resources, to ensure that the response is “right-sized” and that the response is not first come, first served.
Navigation & Case Conferencing
During the Navigation & Case Conferencing phase, the individuals or families with the highest need are assigned a Housing Navigator to assist them in preparing for housing.
This Housing Navigator provides support throughout the process, which may include accompanying them to all housing related appointments and other necessary social services, until such time that they are permanently housed (and sometimes thereafter).
Case Conferencing is a centralized process in which the community monitors the progress being made in preparing individuals or families for a housing referral.
Housing Referral with Choice
The Housing Referral phase is the time in which individuals/families experiencing homelessness are matched with available resources, including housing vacancies.
A CAHP system captures information regarding client needs such as preferred geography, physical needs, housing type and pet accommodations. Providing choice empowers the family or individual to actively participate in the selection of their housing and ensures that consideration is given to their individual needs.
Housing providers participating in a CAHP process commit to filling vacancies with referrals from a centralized by-name list, based on need and other factors.