Updated Standards for Homelessness Services Now Available

Best practices in addressing homelessness are now incorporated in COA’s standards for homelessness services

Private // Public // Canadian

In 2015, an estimated 1.48 million individuals experienced sheltered homelessness in the United States, including families with children, youth, veterans, and persons with one or more disability. This number does not account for those living on the street, in cars, tent encampments, parks, hotels and motels, or doubling up with family and friends due to economic hardship. It also does not include the nearly 350,000 individuals living in permanent supportive housing.

To support the organizations serving these vulnerable children, youth, families, and adults, COA collaborated with a panel of experts from the homelessness field, as well as COA accredited organizations, to review and update the Supported Living Services (SCL), Shelter Services (SH), and Outreach Services (OS) standards. 

Renaming and restructuring:

  • SCL has been renamed Housing Stabilization and Community Living Services (HSCL) to better reflect the program models assigned this section
  • Transitional Housing programs will be reviewed under Shelter Services (SH) to provide a better program model fit

The updated standards highlight these key best practices:

  • identifying and supporting the needs of children and youth (SH 3, SH 7, HSCL 3, HSCL 4, HSCL 7)
  • supporting pregnant and parenting individuals (SH 9, HSCL 7)
  • safety and inclusiveness for individuals identifying as LGBTQ (SH 3, SH 5, SH 7, SH 8, SH 11, SH 13, HSCL 3, HSCL 6, HSCL 8, HSCL 11, OS 3, OS 5, OS 7)
  • family reconnection and reconciliation for youth (SH 3, SH 12, HSCL 4)
  • trauma-informed care (SH 1, SH 3, SH 13, HSCL 1, HSCL 3, HSCL 11, OS 1, OS 3, OS 7)
  • suicide prevention (SH 3, SH 13, HSCL 3, HSCL 11, OS 3, OS 7)
  • staff training and qualifications (SH 13, HSCL 11, OS 7)

Learn more about these updates:

Private: HSCLSH and OS
Public: PA-HSCL, PA-SH and PA-OS
Canadian: CA-HSCLCA-SH and CA-OS

WHO IS ACCREDITED?

Private Organization Accreditation

Germaine Lawrence is a residential treatment center for girls ages 12-18 with complex behavioral, psychological and learning challenges.   Girls live at our programs while receiving special education, individual, family and group therapy; psychiatric and primary medical care; and a wide variety of therapeutic activities and interventions.
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VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIAL

Bonnie Bagley

Volunteer Roles: Evaluator; Lead Evaluator; Peer Reviewer; Team Leader

I have found that being a COA Volunteer builds my professional skills and experience in ways that more traditional workshops do not. The opportunity to learn about best practices through the COA standards and then see how agencies implement them is truly a growth experience.
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