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Homelessness Strategies and Solutions

Coordinated Intake System

The City of San Diego utilizes a Coordinated Intake System to streamline how persons experiencing homelessness are placed into shelters across the system.

With more than 17 referring partners to shelters, using a coordinated model allows for an individual to be matched to the shelter that best meets their specific needs and reduces the amount of time an outreach worker spends finding an open bed in the system.

Coordinated intakes occur seven days a week from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. (excluding City Holidays). Intakes can occur outside of those hours for special circumstances and as staffing and bed availability permits.

How It Works


Program Enrollment in HMIS

When outreach staff encounter someone who is looking to get into shelter, they will first look up the individual in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) or enroll them into the system. HMIS collects and tracks a person’s use of homeless services throughout San Diego to provide better insight, ensure clients are staying connected, and improve the future of services offered.


Verify Eligibility

There are a few basic requirements that must be verified by outreach staff for a person to be considered eligible for accessing shelter in the City of San Diego. This includes:

  • Must reside in the City of San Diego
  • Currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness
  • Not a lifetime registered sex offender
  • Some shelters may have additional criteria for eligibility based on the population served or funding sources received for those programs such as gender identity, age (transitional-aged youth), income limitations, substance or mental health conditions, etc.


Pre-Referral Screening

Before being referred to an Intake Coordinator, the outreach staff will also assess the following with the potential client:

  • COVID-19 screening questionnaire
  • Confirm the client is able to independently  meet the standards for activities of daily living, including:
    • Hygiene
    • Dressing
    • Eating
    • Continence
    • Mobility
  • Confirm the person is not inebriated or has an urgent medical condition that needs immediate attention.
  • Assist the person in rightsizing any personal belongings they have to fit shelter requirements. Each person is typically provided two 27-gallon storage bins to be kept with them on-site. Outreach teams will assist them in securing any other property in the City’s free storage program off-site if needed.

Outreach staff will work with individuals living on the streets to meet any other needs they may have to access services and shelter.


Confirmation and Match to Shelter

The Intake Coordinator will then review the information, confirm a person’s eligibility and match them with the most appropriate and available shelter resource to meet their needs. This process can typically take between 30 minutes to an hour.


Transport to Shelter

Oftentimes, the outreach worker can then transport the client to the shelter they’ve been matched with, where shelter staff will then assist the person in getting settled.

You can also get connected to an outreach team by contacting 2-1-1 San Diego.