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.

In response to COVID-19, the CEA-BHRS Prioritization Policy has been implemented to prevent the spread and protect the most vulnerable populations. These temporary changes will remain in effect until the Emergency Order Temporarily Prohibiting Operation of Non-Essential Businesses and Congregation of Persons to Prevent the Spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus has been lifted.

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.