SPDAT Map 2014 October

Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT)

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The SPDAT is an evidence-informed approach to assessing an individual’s or family’s acuity. The tool, across multiple components, prioritizes who to serve next and why, while concurrently identifying the areas in the person/family’s life where support is most likely necessary in order to avoid housing instability. Training on the tool requires one day.

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Product Description

Improve your intake processes and use your existing resources to help the individuals and families you serve, access the programs and services best aligned to end their homelessness.

The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) is changing the intake and service delivery landscape. SPDAT was launched in 2011 and is now in use in more than 100 communities across North America — SPDAT is a best practices requirement in several of those communities.

Recently updated to its third version, the SPDAT uses 15 dimensions to determine an acuity score that will help inform professional Housing First or Rapid Re-Housing practitioners about the following:

  • people who will benefit most from Housing First
  • people who will benefit most from Rapid Re-housing
  • people who are most likely to end their own homelessness with little to no intervention on your part
  • which areas of the person’s life that can be the initial focus of attention in the case management relationship to improve housing stability
  • how individuals and families are changing over time as a result of the case management process

The SPDAT can be easily integrated with existing HMIS systems and, in many communities, it has been used to supplement or replace various self-sufficiency matrices.

Devoid of gimmicks and poorly informed assumptions, the SPDAT is based upon evidence and has undergone rigorous testing. The SPDAT has been reviewed by experts in health, mental health, addictions, housing and homelessness and has proven to be effective for a range of populations from an age, gender and cultural perspectives. Now, in Version 3, the SPDAT continues to positively impact the lives of thousands of homeless individuals and families. An added benefit is that frontline workers have reported improvement in their job performance through the use of the SPDAT.

The SPDAT is logical, succinct and quick to administer with your clients. Organizationally, SPDAT is easy to implement. By the way, the SPDAT is free. The only cost to your organization is the required one or two-day training program to ensure that frontline staff, team leaders, supervisors and other important community stakeholders know how to effectively use this remarkable tool.

Additional Information


Family v.1, Individual v.3

Q: Do the VI-SPDAT traige tool and the SPDAT assessment tool meet the HUD guidelines in Notice: CPD-14-012?
— Asked on January 12, 2015
A: While HUD requires that CoCs use a standardized assessment tool, it does not endorse any specific tool or approach. However, there are universal qualities that any tool used by a CoC for their coordinated assessment process should include. Appendix A of the Notice outlines these universal qualities. HUD considers the VI-SPDAT and the SPDAT to both meet this criteria. https://www.hudexchange.info/59527F40-0420-0B5C-44D8C8749A24A2AC
OrgCode Consulting, Inc. — OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: How long does it take to complete the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: The prescreen survey works out to be just over 7 minutes on average. The full assessment really depends. More experienced assessors seem to have no problem completing a very accurate assessment in about 30 minutes time.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: How long did it take to develop the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: Overall there is more than a decade of research and testing that went into the SPDAT. We like to think of it as a labor of love.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: Who created the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: OrgCode Consulting, Inc. created the SPDAT, and Iain De Jong with OrgCode is the main dude that researched, designed and conducted all of the development testing of the tool.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: Who owns the intellectual property of the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: OrgCode Consulting, Inc. owns all intellectual property related to the SPDAT.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: How else is the SPDAT being used?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: We are constantly amazed at where and how the SPDAT and F-SPDAT are being used. In almost all of these instances we have also been able to create a research or evaluation component to make sure the tool still works the way it is supposed to work. The four ways it has been used that we are most proud (other than it’s original purpose):
  • Discharge planning from hospital: we helped create a hospital-specific screening tool for the SPDAT to improve the interface between hospital social work and community housing programs. The result? A massive reduction in people being discharged into homelessness.
  • Access to benefits, entitlements and income supports: while still wrapping up the pilot program phase, imagine if you will being granted access to welfare based on a SPDAT score without having other hoops to jump through.
  • Permanent Supportive Housing: we have seen a huge increase in PSH providers that have incorporated the SPDAT for residents already in their buildings to improve the support structure. The result has been much higher retention amongst those that have higher acuity, as well as more strategic moving-on amongst some residents that realize that they do not need as many supports as they thought.
  • Supporting people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: the SPDAT has been increasingly used in programs that support people with FASD. Research and evaluation conducted specifically in the use of SPDAT with this population has demonstrated very favorable results in using SPDAT.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: What is the general structure of the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: The SPDAT for singles is divided into four domains (Wellness, Risks, Socialization & Daily Functions, and, History of Housing); the SPDAT for families is divided into five (same as the single’s SPDAT, as well as Family Unit). Each domain is divided into components that relate to that thematic area. In total there are 15 components in the SPDAT for singles and 20 for the Family SPDAT (the same ones as singles, plus five more directly related to family matters).
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: What is the SPDAT?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT) uses the best available evidence to examine the components of a person or family’s life that are most likely to result in housing instability. The SPDAT helps you understand the depth of these issues; which household is most likely to benefit from which type of housing support intervention; which household should be prioritized above others based upon their acuity; and, informs the case management process so that you are spending your time working on those things that are most likely going to result in the person/family becoming homeless again.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
Q: How is the SPDAT updated?
— Asked by OrgCode Consulting, Inc. on May 30, 2014
A: Very carefully and thoroughly. We have an extensive review and analysis process that involves end users of services, frontline staff, team leaders/supervisors, and our independent expert advisory panel. We are very proud to say, however, that every community that uses the SPDAT (and/or F-SPDAT) gets a say in how they want to improve the tool in the future. The tool is about you – it isn’t about us.
— OrgCode Consulting, Inc.

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