Imagine spending your day wondering where you’ll sleep that night. When it’s cold, there’s the added worry that you’ll freeze to death or catch pneumonia. Finding an open shelter bed can be a challenge, and without a cell phone or reliable transportation, it might seem near-impossible.
Waypoint’s Coordinated Entry System makes it easier for community members in crisis to secure a place to stay, by being the single point of contact for all local shelters and homeless resources.
Each morning, Coordinated Entry receives status updates of available beds from area shelters. Individuals seeking shelter are asked to call or stop in at Waypoint at 9 a.m. to learn of the available openings. Housing & Shelter Program Assistant Rosslen describes the process as “one stop shopping,” emphasizing the simplicity in which homeless or near-homeless individuals can connect with the appropriate resources.
Individuals needing shelter can access this service 24/7. Waypoint also explores ways to connect individuals to community resources that can support housing stabilization without utilization of emergency shelter.
During the coldest parts of last winter, Coordinated Entry received up to 80 calls per day. However, levels are prone to fluctuate on any given week. “We had a 60 call-day a few days ago,” said Housing & Shelter Program Assistant Lindsey. On average, 40 people per day call seeking services.
In addition to placing individuals in shelters, Coordinated Entry also works to identify other basic needs and help him or her take steps toward stability. “We provide [individuals] with shelter and assistance and direct them to a [Waypoint] Housing Specialist for face-to-face assistance,” said Rosslen.
When individuals visit Coordinated Entry in person, they have access to the Daytime Resource Program, which provides free monthly hygiene kits, food, job boards, and strategic referrals. The Coordinated Entry staff vigilantly listen for keywords that indicate the specific needs of each individual. The location is also “a warm area during the winter,” added Lindsey.
Coordinated Entry staff enjoy building relationships with every person they interact with. Often times, this positive contact is very meaningful to individuals utilizing the service. In particular, one woman fleeing an abusive relationship felt comfortable coming to staff for words of encouragement, which motivated her before each job interview.
The purpose of Coordinated Entry is to remove the burden of finding shelter and resources from individuals in crisis and shifting this navigation process to Waypoint. Shelter, partnerships with area landlords, affordable housing, and other resources and services for those experiencing homelessness are consistent needs in our community.
Coordinated Entry has a physical location within the Daytime Resource Program at Waypoint’s downtown location - it is accessible via phone 24/7. If you or anyone you know are in need of shelter and housing services, please don’t hesitate to visit or call (319) 366-7999.
Learn more about how you can get involved.