Published: December 16, 2012

NOTE: This toolkit was published by Building Changes in 2013 to help counties meet a 2014 state mandate that all counties have a coordinated entry system for clients entering the homeless system. It has not been updated since then and does not necessarily reflect current or best practice.


The successful implementation of a coordinated entry system is the outcome of a planning process that addressed:

  • How the system is accessed
  • How clients are assessed
  • How clients are assigned to a provider
  • How the system and services are held accountable, managed, and evaluated

An effective planning process should result in:

  • Clearly identified mission, goals, and expected outcomes of the system
  • Target population(s)
  • Preferred coordinated entry model—centralized, decentralized, or a combination—that best fits the region’s defining characteristics and population(s) to be served

Once achieved, these results signal that coordinated-entry implementation can begin. Coordinated entry has a specific purpose: to streamline access, assessment, and referral processes for housing and other services. Remaining focused on this purpose keeps the implementation process from becoming scattered and overwhelming. It keeps expectations about coordinated entry grounded and realistic.

Next: Implementation Checklist

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