Youth Edition

Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (SPDAT)


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.

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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 Version 4, 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 4, 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

Client Group

Individual, Family, Youth


1.0, 2.0, 2.01, 3.0, 4.0, 4.01


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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. <strong>HUD considers the VI-SPDAT and the SPDAT to both meet this criteria.</strong> <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>
— http://OrgCode%20Consulting,%20Inc.

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