HUD continues to encourage Continuums of Care (CoCs) and providers to implement and strengthen Housing First approaches. To support these efforts, HUD recently released the Housing First Assessment Tool. This tool builds on the work of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness’s (USICH) Housing First checklist. It assists providers and CoCs to document how closely their projects align to the Housing First model. CoCs can use this tool to assess and measure a project’s progress in aligning with Housing First best practice standards, and an individual project can use this tool to identify what they are doing well and where improvements can be made. The Housing First Assessment Tool can be used as an iterative tool to track progress on implementing Housing First over time, and is a great opportunity to initiate Housing First conversations among various levels of project staff. Completion of this tool should take into account the local written standards and CoC policies related to Housing First and lowering barriers. This tool identifies Housing First best practice standards, which in some instances may be more robust than what HUD has previously stated regarding Housing First, and therefore CoCs and projects are invited to use this as a method for improvement.
The assessment standards are separated into the following categories: Access, Evaluation, Service, Housing and Leases, and Project-specific. The tool calculates which categories are applicable for the chosen project type, which include Coordinated Entry, Street Outreach, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Rapid Rehousing, and Permanent Supportive Housing.