Philadelphia’s Coordinated Entry and Assessment-Based Housing Referral System – or “CEA-BHRS” (pronounced sea-breeze) – is a process designed to coordinate program participant access, assessment, and referrals to homeless assistance services and housing. CEA-BHRS shifts the focus from a strategy that says “Should we accept this household into our program?” to one that says “What housing /service assistance is best for each household and quickly ends their housing crisis permanently?” While Implementing CEA-BHRS alone does not increase housing, services, or other resources, the CEA-BHRS process helps ensure resources in the homeless system are used as effectively as possible.

What will CEA-BHRS do?

  • Ensure individuals and families at-risk of or experiencing homelessness have fair and equitable access to a streamlined and standardized process that links households to appropriate resources to quickly end their housing crisis permanently
  • Increase efficiency of the homeless assistance system
  • Improve fairness and ease of access to resources
  • Streamline and standardize processes to obtain housing assistance
  • Prioritize those who are in most need of assistance
  • Provide information about service needs and gaps to help strategically allocate current resources and identify need for additional resources

What does CEA-BHRS mean for Philadelphia?

  • Publicly available written policies and procedures are consistently applied throughout the CEA-BHRS process
  • A standardized assessment process is consistently utilized
  • Households are matched with the most appropriate housing/service assistance to end their housing crisis permanently (to the extent they are available);
  • All participating projects use CEA-BHRS as the only referral source to fill vacancies;
  • Philadelphia’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is the data system used to manage CEA-BHRS
  • Quality and effectiveness of the CEA-BHRS process is evaluated at least annually through feedback from participating projects and households.

Provider Resources

All shelter, transitional housing, rapid re-housing, and permanent supportive housing projects receiving funding from the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, or the City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services (OHS) are required to participate in CEA-BHRS. As the CEA-BHRS process rolls out, please check this website often to access CEA-BHRS materials and to register for trainings.


All CEA-BHRS Trainings are listed on the training calendar. To register for trainings, please click on the link of the training you’d like to attend in the calendar.

For OHS-funded Emergency Shelter Providers:

  • CEA-BHRS Policies & Procedures Q&A (EH Providers)
    This webinar leads shelter providers through the new CEA-BHRS process, highlighting key policies and procedures that impact their work. We ask case managers, housing specialists, supervisors, program directors at OHS-funded emergency shelter programs to attend this webinar.
  • CEA-BHRS HMIS Training (EH Providers)
    Shelter case managers, housing specialists, and supervisors will learn how to access and enter CEA-BHRS housing assessments into HMIS during these in-person trainings. HMIS users have to attend this training before they are able to access the CEA-BHRS Housing Assessment workflow in HMIS.
  • EH Master Assessor Training
    This is an in-person train-the-trainer session designed for 1-2 “Master Assessors” from each EH singles provider organization. Trainees will practice how to use the VI-SPDAT triage tool, which is an integral part of the CEA-BHRS Housing Assessment. Master Assessors will bring back to their staff tips and tricks for ensuring that the VI-SPDAT best reflects the needs and vulnerabilities of their participants.

For OHS and CoC-funded Transitional, Rapid Re-Housing, and Permanent Supportive Housing Providers:

  • CEA-BHRS Policies & Procedures Q&A (TH/RRH/PSH Providers)
    This webinar is for TH/RRH/PSH providers that are required to fill housing vacancies through the CEA-BHRS process, highlighting key policies and procedures that impact their work.
  • CEA-BHRS HMIS Training (TH/RRH/PSH Providers)
    This is an in-person HMIS training for the staff at TH/RRH/PSH projects that will enter vacancy information and receive referrals through HMIS.