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What is Coordinated Entry?

The Coordinated Entry System of Homeless Services (CES) connects people who are experiencing homelessness to housing opportunities in Howard County. The CES is a required component of the Continuum of Care (CoC) and prioritizes people based on vulnerability to determine who is most in need of assistance.

The CES uses a standardized housing assessment to understand the needs of households and follows a prioritization plan to refer youth, individuals, and families to housing assistance. The assessment is available to all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identify, or marital status.

Housing Assessment

The Housing assessment is a tool that helps determine level of vulnerability of a household experiencing homelessness. It is used to guide decision making for program matching and to triage access to services. Any person staying in a shelter, living outside, living in a vehicle or any place not meant for human habitation may complete a housing assessment to be entered into the CES system and so they can be added to the By-Name List. A Case Manager will assist applicants in completing the assessment. To complete an assessment contact: Grassroots Crisis Intervention 24 Hour Hotline (410) 531-6677 or by going to an in-person access point. In-person access points are listed below.

What is the CES By-Name List?

The CES By-Name List is a comprehensive list of clients requesting housing services while experiencing homelessness in Howard County. The list is managed by the Coordinated Entry Manger. Housing referrals are made from the By-Name List to Shelter, Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid Rehousing, and Permanent Housing programs.

What is Prioritization?

The Coordinated Entry System is not “first come, first served” and due to limited resources not everyone can be immediately moved into shelter or housing. Prioritization for shelter and housing is through the By-Name List and is intended to house those with the highest level of vulnerability first. Because not everyone who is assessed through CES will receive service, we recommend that participants that have completed an assessment continue to seek other housing options.

What is it like to complete a Housing Assessment?

  • The Case Manager will ask for your consent to share your information with service providers;
  • Identifying information (i.e., name, social security number, date of birth), race, ethnicity, gender, veteran status, if you have a disabling condition, contact information, how many people in your household & your relationship to each other, current living situation, housing history, and factors relating to vulnerability; and
  • It takes about 15-25 minutes to complete the housing assessment.

After completing a Housing Assessment:

Clients will need to update their assessment every 90 days to remain active on the CES By-Name List. If the information that is provided changes clients need to contact the Grassroots Crisis Hotline or, if on has been assigned to them, their Case Manager to keep their information up to date. 

When are people contacted about housing services?

Once a match is made to an available service a shelter/housing provider will reach out to the client's Case Manager. The shelter/housing provider will work with the client to enroll them in the service and help them to become housed.

More Information:

Howard County Coordinated Entry Eligibility Form: Click Here.

Howard County Coordinated Entry Policy & Procedures: Click Here.

For additional information about the Coordinated Entry System of Homeless Services, contact Alexandra Hartfield the Coordinated Entry Manager at 410-313-0224 (voice/relay) or .


Additional Resources





Phone Number

Additional Information

Multiple Services

Salvation Army

3267 Pine Orchard Ln, Ellicott City, MD

410-465-1060 or 443-656-3376

 Rental, utility and food assistance.

Multiple Services

Community Action Council of Howard County

9820 Patuxent Woods Dr, Columbia, MD 21046

410 -313-6440

Provides programs and emergency services for low-income residents including housing assistance, eviction prevention, hotel assistance, utility assistance and food bank.

Homelessness Services

Grassroots Day Resource Center

10390 Guilford Rd Suite A, Jessup, MD 20794

Entrance is in the lower section of the building


Individuals experiencing homelessness can go to the Day Resource Center for meals, showers, limited laundry facilities, fellowship and connection to social services.

Multiple Services


6355 Woodside Ct, Columbia, MD 21046

(410) 381-7171

Behavior health, specialized job training and services for clients with disabilities.

Job Assistance

Workforce Development

7161 Columbia Gateway 7161 Columbia Gateway Drive
Ste. D
Columbia, MD 21046


Offers resources and services for businesses and job seekers.

Immigration Services


5999 Harpers Farm Rd,
Suite E-200
Columbia, MD 21044


Network for New Americans provides services to immigrants and undocumented residents including legal assistance and human services. Offers affordable no-charge (pro-bono) and sliding scale services based on client resources. Luminus has bi-lingual staff available.

Multiple Services

Howard County Department of Social
Services (DSS)

9780 Patuxent Woods Dr, Columbia, MD 21046


Provides a network of services to promote family stability, employment and self-sufficiency, and a safe environment for children and vulnerable adults. Benefit Programs include Temporary Cash Assistance (TSA), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamps) and Medical Assistance.

Water Bill Assistance

Springboard Community Services

10451 Twin Rivers Road
Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21044




Access Points for Housing Assessments




Phone Number


Grassroots Crisis Hotline



24 Hours

Grassroots Day Resource Center

10390 Guilford Rd Suite A, Jessup, MD 20794

Entrance is in the lower section of the building


Monday & Wednesday

2:00 PM - 6:00 PM


10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center

8990 Old Annapolis Road, Suite A, Columbia MD, 21045


When main lobby is open

Howard County Public Schools

(The school will assign a councilor to assist the student and their family)

School that the child attends.



Springboard Community Services

(Domestic Violence) 

10451 Twin Rivers Suite 100, Columbia, MD 21044


Monday - Thursday 

8:30 AM – 6:00 PM


8:30 AM – 4:30 PM

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