Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Outreach Services (PA-OS) 4: Service Provision

Outreach services link individuals and families with needed services and housing.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: OUTREACH SERVICES (PA-OS)



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.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Procedures for referring individuals to services
  • Written procedures and documentation of authority regarding transport to emergency facilities
  • Community resource and referral list
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review logs, progress notes, or case records, as applicable

PA-OS 4.01

The agency works in active partnership with persons served to:
  1. assume a service coordination role, as appropriate, when the need has been identified and no other agency has assumed that responsibility;
  2. ensure that they receive appropriate advocacy support;
  3. assist with access to the full array of services to which they are eligible; and
  4. mediate barriers to services within the service delivery system.
Example: Personnel can facilitate and improve access to services by personally introducing service recipients to health, mental health, social service, and mainstream benefit providers.

PA-OS 4.02

Outreach services are flexible and respond to the unique needs of youth, adults, and families experiencing homelessness.

PA-OS 4.03

Outreach services provide, either directly or through referral, an array of services that meet basic needs and help integrate the person or family into the community.
Examples: Needed services may include:
  1. services to meet basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, and laundry;
  2. crisis intervention;
  3. medical/dental evaluation and care;
  4. behavioral health care;
  5. housing assistance;
  6. substance use education and treatment;
  7. legal assistance;
  8. help obtaining documentation, for example birth certificate, photo identification, and/or social security card;
  9. help with mainstream benefit enrollment and renewal applications;
  10. case management;
  11. social support services; 
  12. medical respite care services; and
  13. health information, including information about harm reduction, STDs, HIV/AIDS, and pregnancy prevention.

Fundamental Practice

PA-OS 4.04

When the outreach team has the authority to transport a person involuntarily to an emergency facility, the agency follows written procedures that protect the safety, dignity, and legal rights of the service recipient.
NA The agency does not have the required authority.