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

Sweetser, a Maine non-profit agency operating since 1828, provides comprehensive mental and behavioral health and substance abuse treatment services. Statewide, it serves around 15,000 consumers a year, including children, adults, and families in outpatient, office-based, and residential settings.
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ORGANIZATION TESTIMONIAL

Nuevo Amanecer Latino Children's Services

Galo A. Rodriguez, M.P.H., President & CEO

Since Nuevo Amanecer Latino Children’s Services pursued its COA accreditation on October 14, 2004, this corporation has sustained a continuous quality improvement process by not looking whom to blame among the involved parties but improving what we have already done well… because good enough is not good enough.
read more>>

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