At last week’s Coalition on Homelessness General Membership Meeting, Coalition members were joined by Danielle Winslow from All Home who discussed with us the Coordinated Entry for All (CEA) program, which is run by King County. The goal of CEA is to connect individuals experiencing homelessness to housing in the most efficient way. It does this by using a standardized assessment tool to matches the right level of services and housing resources to the individuals seeking these resources. To learn more about the basics of the program and where Regional Access Points are located, visit www.kingcounty.gov/cea.
To schedule an appointment for a CEA assessment, people need to call King County 2-1-1 to set up an appointment for an assessment. 2-1-1 is currently experiencing high volumes of calls and appointments are filling fast. Alex Williams with King County 2-1-1 sent us some tips, information, and realistic expectations that people should have when calling 2-1-1 to access CEA.
CEA Access and Information at King County 2-1-1 as of September, 2016
General Information on 2-1-1
- King County 2-1-1 is open to receive calls Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. CEA assessment appointments are made on Wednesday mornings.
- Dialing 2-1-1 on a cell phone will connect you to the 2-1-1 that serves the area where your phone is based. You can also call King County 2-1-1 directly by dialing (206) 461-3200 or toll-free at (800) 621-4636. If your cell phone connects you to another 2-1-1 contact center in Washington state, they can transfer your call to King County 2-1-1 if you are calling during our hours of operation.
- Specialists at King County 2-1-1 can assist callers in English and Spanish. To use an interpreter for other languages, push ‘5’ when prompted after calling 2-1-1. This option will connect you to a Specialist who speaks English. When the Specialist comes on the line, simply say the language you speak and the Specialist will put you on a brief hold as they make a call to bring a language interpreter on the line.
- Call volume has been high over the past few months, and wait times have often been long. When prompted by the hold message on the 2-1-1 line, callers can push ‘1’ to activate the call-back option, after which the caller will be instructed to enter their 10-digit phone number, stay on the phone to confirm the number entered is correct, then they can disconnect and the phone system will automatically call them back when a 2-1-1 Specialist becomes available.
- Calls and system callbacks that are still in the queue when 2-1-1 closes at 6pm will be disconnected.
Calling 2-1-1 to schedule an assessment appointment for Coordinated Entry for All (CEA):
- Specialists at 2-1-1 will always assess for CEA eligibility for callers who are seeking housing resources, and will assess for both safety and CEA eligibility when callers are seeking emergency or domestic violence housing resources.
- CEA program information and eligibility is provided to anyone who calls who is currently eligible for CEA, as well as to anyone who is at risk of homelessness, and anyone who asks about the CEA program.
- Callers can ask for a CEA intake assessment appointment by name, but 2-1-1 Specialists will also be able to identify that a caller is asking about CEA when they indicate that they’re calling for a housing appointment; they were told to call 2-1-1 for an appointment; they need a housing assessment, etc.
- All callers getting information about CEA will be read the program eligibility verbatim. Program details and eligibility can also be sent to callers by email.
- A limited number of CEA appointments is made available each Wednesday morning for 2-1-1 to schedule for eligible callers. The appointments are filled quickly.
- Since the number of appointments is limited and 2-1-1 receives many calls for CEA, there is no guarantee that there will be an appointment available for someone when they call, even if they call on Wednesday morning.
- If no CEA appointment is available at the time someone calls to schedule one, Specialists at 2-1-1 will provide CEA program and eligibility information and let eligible callers know when to call back to try to schedule an appointment. They will also explore additional housing and other needed resources that are available.