One of LAHSA’s goals is to rapidly use all available housing resources, so people can be housed more quickly and so that we collectively use the resources available to respond to the crisis. One of the ways we are doing this is by changing the prioritization and matching of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) available through the Coordinated Entry System (CES).
On July 26, 2023, the CES Policy Council passed an updated CES PSH Prioritization and Matching Guidance, that changes the way people are connected to PSH in CES. Here are a few key takeaways:
Change 1: POC vs. Program Enrollment
- What’s Different: Instead of prioritizing all people with an updated Point of Contact (POC) in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), we are instead prioritizing those in certain programs.
- Why: POCs often didn’t respond or were no longer working with the participant we were trying to find. People who are enrolled in homeless services programs like outreach, interim housing, or housing navigation are often easier to find.
- What this means for you: We will contact outreach programs, interim housing programs, and programs that provide housing navigation type services to find people.
- Please note: We will continue to include the POC in HMIS when we reach out to program contacts, however, this will no longer be the primary/only contact for a participant.
Change 2: Use of CES Score
- What’s Different: Historically, the CES score was used in descending order.
- Why: Now that understand that scores should not be used this way and that using a score this way can exacerbate race equity issues with the existing CES Assessment Tools, we are using the CES score differently. This means that vulnerable people can still be prioritized for PSH, but the race equity issues with the current CES Assessment Tools are less pronounced.
- What this means for you: If an adult scores 8 or above, if a Youth scores 8 or above, or a Family scores 9 or above, they can be prioritized for PSH. They don’t need a high score like 17 to be prioritized for PSH.
Change 3: Document Readiness
- What’s Different: In most cases, documents are now required to be matched to PSH
- Why: Most PSH require documentation status. By obtaining these documents up front, it makes a shorter housing process for the participant.
- What this means for you: At a minimum, it is important to upload valid participant identification to HMIS, as this is an important document for someone to have, regardless of what housing opportunity they are seeking. If someone needs PSH, please also work to obtain social security documentation. You may want to consider also obtaining verification of disability and verification of homeless status, as these may take some time to obtain. For more details about what documents are needed, please review Appendix A in the CES PSH Prioritization and Matching Guidance.
- Important note: Los Angeles recently received waivers from HUD for these documents for PSH. This means some tenant-based vouchers may allow for self-certification. However additional waivers are needed for project-based PSH. This means that at a minimum, a valid ID and social security documentation continue to be necessary for these resources at this time.
Change 4: Batch Matching
- What’s Different: Historically, we referred or ‘matched’ one person to each housing opportunity. When new project-based PSH buildings open up, we will now send a larger ‘batch’ or group of referrals to the building than there are units.
- Why: Every time someone in the PSH referral project declines a unit, or we realize they actually aren’t eligible, we have to start over with a new applicant. This means we lose time and valuable housing sits open. We don’t want that! Going forward, we’ll refer extra people. For example, if a building has 100 units, we’ll move 150 people into the application process. Those who aren’t housed in that building can be housed in other buildings in the area as there is an opportunity.
- What this means for you: If you get a match email for a participant with whom you are working, please be sure to pay attention to see if it says “a participant whim whom you are working has been matched”, OR, “a participant with whom you are working has been invited into the application process.” If they are invited to apply, this means it’s not 100% sure that they will get housing. However, they are moving on to the next step of the process, and that’s great! Once you get this email, please complete the Universal Housing Application (UHA). You can get more training on the UHA here:
Active System Management
Additionally, we want to let you know that we understand that the PSH application process is long and difficult, and can be confusing for you and the participants with whom you are working. Even though LAHSA and SPA Matchers only control the ‘match’ step of the PSH process, LAHSA is working closely with all of the partners involved in the process (DHS, ICMS, building property management, the Public Housing Authority, etc.) to try to make a quick and streamlined process of getting into housing. When new buildings open up, our goal is to help people get housing in as short as 45 days.