Coordinated Access is a standardized method for accessing housing/homeless services from the point that a household experiences homelessness to the point that they are again stably housed. It requires standardized and written protocols, assessment tools, and agreed upon priorities among the community who serve those experiencing homelessness.

The State Department of Housing (DOH), with partners from CT Coalition to End Homelessness, Partnership for Strong Communities, and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), designed a system of eight Coordinated Access Networks (CANs), or regions, based on the transient movement of people experiencing homelessness. Continuums of Care (CoC’s) and towns within these CAN regions worked to design very specific Coordinated Access protocols and procedures for access to housing and shelter services, that would link up to the statewide Coordinated Access framework operated by 211 and funded by the state Department of Housing.

GREATER HARTFORD CAN: Andover, Avon, Bloomfield, Bolton, Canton, East Granby, East Hartford, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, Hebron, Manchester, Marlborough, Newington, Rockville, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Somers, South Windsor, Stafford, Suffield, Tolland, Vernon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor & Windsor Locks.

CENTRAL CAN: Berlin, Bristol, New Britain, Plainville & Southington.






In order to access emergency shelters, households in need and/or their advocates/service providers must call 211 (1-800-203-1234 for SafeLink users) to enter the Coordinated Access Network (CAN) service system. Callers should select 3 then1 to be patched through to a housing specialist.

  • 211 will briefly interview the household and seek to refer them to existing prevention or diversion programs (i.e. Utility assistance, security deposit assistance, domestic violence programs, etc.)
  • If diversion and referrals are not possible and the household is experiencing homelessness or is at imminent risk of homelessness (on the streets or in a shelter), 211 will schedule a CAN Assessment appointment with one of the CAN providers, this appointment is typically the same day, or the next day.
  • The CAN assessment will provide more robust diversion assessment and will explore any safe options to avoid entering emergency shelter. If shelter is deemed necessary the household will then be added to our regional shelter priority list.

Exception: During the cold period from December through March, the Cold Weather Protocol will be activated and households will be placed into available overflow solutions. In Greater Hartford and Central CT when the Governor activates the Severe Cold Weather Protocol, some shelters will remain open 24 hours and towns may open warming shelters during business hours. Every attempt will be made to shelter individuals with the resources available. During the winter months and Governor activations, households should call 211 to be connected to emergency services.


Housing programs, including both rental assistance and services components, are an expensive and valuable resource to the community. Coordinated Access is designed to screen and assess all those in need, to determine what type of housing assistance they might best be suited for. Instead of program by program waitlists on a first come, first served, basis, there will now be one community-wide referral list known as the By Name List in CT HMIS. Each different type of housing intervention will have its own prioritized referral list. Highest priority for the most intensive intervention, permanent supportive housing, will go to those who are considered Dedicated Plus (long term homelessness with a disabling condition) with high service needs. Others, who may face fewer obstacles to stable housing and have shorter experiences with homelessness, may be prioritized for Rapid Re-housing programs.

The community-wide housing program referral list will be generated from the Connecticut By-Name List in CT HMIS. This is an online system accessible to trained service providers. Currently, trained end users exist at many area shelters, several soup kitchens, and some healthcare providers within the region. This shared list is used in all regional housing matching meetings to prioritize households for any housing program openings.



What are the Benefits of Coordinated Access?

  •  It is a centralized and coordinated system that is transparent to the community
  • It allows us to establish an unduplicated count of those who seek and need housing/homeless assistance services allowing us to advocate for needed resources in an informed manner
  • It allows us to target existing and future resources in the most effective way
  • It creates a culture change where all those involved in Coordinated Access are focused on the outcome of getting people rapidly into housing



How are we doing?

CT CANs use data to inform their work at every level.  The task of the Connecticut Coordinated Access Networks (CT CANs) is to streamline the process for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to access their community’s housing resources in a standardized, comprehensive, and accessible way.It aims to most efficiently and effectively determine eligibility and availability of housing resources, and targets funding appropriately to end each household’s homelessness.  The CT CANs value a data-driven decision making culture, and use data to align stakeholders, stimulate discussion, and identify opportunities for improved service delivery.  Check out CT CAN data HERE.


Racial Equity in Homelessness Response System Service Delivery

Racial equity in the CAN means that all racial and ethnic groups are able to access all CAN resources and that the inequalities of structural racism that placed historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups at a disadvantage have been addressed such that we see equitable distribution of resources and equitable outcomes in the CAN. To achieve racial equity in the CAN, every racial and ethnic group must be valued equally and we must address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and eliminate disparities in the CAN. Check out the full Racial Equity report here.


Are you a provider looking for resources, please email us at to access our Coordinated Access Network Basecamp site.