What is a Coordinated Entry and Assessment-Based Housing Referral System (CEA-BHRS)?

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Philadelphia has established a coordinated entry system. This is a process designed to coordinate program participant access, assessment and provision of referrals to homeless assistance services and housing.

  • Streamlines access and referrals to homeless services and housing
  • Uses standardized assessment/prioritization tools and practices
  • Prioritizes homeless assistance for those with the most severe needs

Core Operational Components (HUD Requirements)

  • Defined Access Point(s)
  • Standardized Assessment
  • Coordinated Referral (Assign)

Why Create CEA-BHRS?

  • Improve system-wide access, screening, prioritization and referral processes for homeless housing services
  • Improve service provision
  • Reduce costs as networks are streamlined
  • HUD requirement

Vision, Guiding Principles, Goals and Timeline

Philadelphia’s CEA-BHRS ensures that individuals and families at-risk of or experiencing homelessness have access to a streamlined and standardized process that links households to appropriate resources to end their housing crisis.

Guiding Principles

  1. Housing First – households at-risk of or experiencing homelessness are housed quickly without preconditions or service participation requirements
  2. Housing Focused – assistance provided to households at-risk of or experiencing homelessness is focused on moving to and maintaining permanent housing
  3. Prioritization – assistance is prioritized based on vulnerability and severity of service needs to ensure households needing help the most receive it in a timely manner
  4. Person-Centered – a trauma-informed approach that is dignified, safe, and incorporates participant choice is utilized


  1. Effective allocation of assistance and households are linked to the most appropriate intervention strategy
  2. Reduction in number of households experiencing homelessness
  3. Reduced length of time a household experiences homelessness
  4. Reduced returns to homelessness (recidivism)