We recommend using generic names, phone numbers, and web links as the points of contact for people seeking assistance wherever possible. One of the tenants of Coordinated Entry is that it is well-publicized, so the contact information should be public via marketing and outreach efforts, and may also be included in consent forms. Using generic information protects the reliability of the region’s coordinated entry framework, as this approach can accommodate changes that might occur with staffing over time. If a staff person were to be directly referenced in any marketing or consent forms, then these forms and marketing will instantly become obsolete if the person is no longer working within the region. Also, if a singular designated point of contact for coordinated entry is unavailable, then the person or family seeking help will hit a dead end.
Generic points of contact alleviate this issue by supporting the ability for the call, email, or web page visit to be redirected as necessary. Examples include:
- A memorable web page with a fixed URL that people can be referred to. For example, www.LowellCares.org would be an inexpensive domain to acquire but hosting it would be an extra burden. Instead, the traffic to this domain could be redirected to a site such as http://ShowTheWay.org/Lowell or http://lowellma.gov/NoWrongDoor.
- An email account that can be forwarded to whomever is on call, or even to a group of people. For example, Helpline@LowellCares.org could be set to forward to a particular email address or to a group of email addresses. If it is the desire to have someone manage replies directly from this email then the email account will need to be hosted and managed but otherwise these emails can come directly from the account of whomever is “on call.”
- A phone number that can be re-routed based on who is on call and is able to provide a voice recording to guide people on how to find help if someone is unable to answer. This can be handled via Google Voice or another similar service.
- Social Media marketing – set up a page on Facebook with a description of the effort and the contact info provided above. This could be just a placeholder to start but can grow as time goes on. This can also be where details are shared with the community about resources or volunteers that are needed as well as for sharing details on community events, services that are being provided, etc. Also consider setting up a Twitter account.
- CoC Contact Information should also be gathered and shared by neighboring regions so that there is a mechanism to escalate any issues and to help coordinate the response. CoCs should also consider sharing the contact information for those who may help facilitate accepting referrals from other CoCs. Ideally, people are able to be served in the community they perceive to be their own and regional staff can collaborate to prevent having the client have to repeat the entire intake and assessment process.