Outreach Services identify and engage youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness as a first step to accepting care for immediate health and safety needs, gaining access to community services and resources, taking steps toward community integration, and connecting to safe and stable housing.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
Procedures need strengthening; or
With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
Timeframes are often missed; or
Several client records are missing important information; or
Client participation is inconsistent.
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or
Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.
Procedures for referring individuals to services
Community resource and referral list
Informational materials provided to service recipients
Interviews may include:
Review logs, progress notes, or case records, as applicable
The environment promotes a non-threatening, welcoming, and inclusive approach and fosters trust and engagement for all service recipients.
Programs should provide an affirming, safe, and welcoming environment for all individuals. Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and/or transgender (LGBT) are greatly overrepresented among youth experiencing homelessness. Programs can help to signal that they provide an environment that is safe and welcoming, for example, by posting “visual cues” in the reception or common area, such as a nondiscrimination policy or LGBTQ symbols (i.e., posters, stickers, and flags).
Drop-in centers are located in areas where they can be easily accessed by individuals experiencing homelessness, and provide:
food or snacks;
a mailing address;
a computer with internet access;
a safe, lockable place to keep personal belongings and valuables;
laundry facilities or laundromat tokens; and
bathroom facilities with showers, including personal hygiene supplies.
Drop-in centers provide, directly or by referral:
information and referrals;
medical and dental services;
behavioral health services;
employment services; and
support, programming, and education on a range of topics, when serving youth.
Examples: Support, programming, and education for youth may include workshops on topics, such as independent living skills, education, employment, health, and relationships, as well as opportunities for socialization and recreation.
In order to ensure the needs of service recipients are met:
personnel are available during operating hours to provide ongoing services and overall supervision; and
operating hours are clearly posted on or near the front door, and include information on alternative service locations that are accessible when the drop-in center is closed.
Written expulsion policies and procedures:
are posted or otherwise provided to individuals using the service;
are clear and simple, avoiding overly rigid and bureaucratic language and rules;
define specific behaviors, conditions, or circumstances that may result in expulsion, and limit expulsion to extreme situations;
include timely due process provisions;
describe the conditions or process for re-admission to the facility; and
require that all reasonable efforts be made to provide an appropriate referral.