DOH:  2-1-1 is the “Front Door” but all in need should be able to access shelter

The Connecticut Department of Housing is fully committed to using 2-1-1 as the front door to accessing the Coordinated Access Networks (CANs).  Individuals and families seeking emergency shelter should continue to contact 2-1-1 in order to gain access the many resources of the CANs.  Of course, in a small number of cases, some individuals and families may not be able to call 2-1-1 in advance of seeking shelter.  No one should be prevented from securing appropriate shelter or accessing the services provided by the CANs solely because they are not able to access 2-1-1 in advance.  To do so could result in people in need seeking shelter on the streets or places not meant for human habitation.  That is not acceptable.

DOH encourages CANs to develop protocols that will allow the small number of individuals and families who may not be able to access 2-1-1 in advance to be accepted for emergency shelter without first contacting 2-1-1.  As always, if such individuals or families present in person at a provider, and if there is another short-term housing resolution available for that individual or family, providers should always seek to route them through the normal Coordinated Intake process.  However, it there is no short-term housing option available to that individual or family, then emergency shelter should be made available.  Following that entry into shelter, shelter staff should identify these individuals and families and assist them in contacting 2-1-1 to gain entry into the Coordinated Access system as soon as possible.  At that point the individual or family can contact 2-1-1 to complete the brief diversion screen as well as set up the more in-depth intake screening with assistance, as needed, from shelter staff.

It is the goal of DOH to continue to work in close cooperation with providers to create a system that is both coordinated at the front end, by using 2-1-1, but is also flexible enough to address the urgent needs of people who need shelter immediately and cannot contact 2-1-1 without assistance.  In no way does DOH want to see unsheltered homelessness increase due to the implementation of Coordinated Access.  If you have any further questions related to this matter, please contact Steve DiLella at 860-418-6845 or