Youth Edition

Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Prescreen Tool (VI-SPDAT)

5 out of 5 based on 2 customer ratings
(2 customer reviews)


The VI-SPDAT helps identify who should be recommended for each housing and support intervention, moving the discussion from simply who is eligible for a service intervention to who is eligible and in greatest need of that intervention. While the SPDAT is an assessment tool, the VI-SPDAT is a survey that anyone could complete, to help prioritize clients.

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About the VI-SPDAT

The VI-SPDAT is a “supertool” that combines the strengths of two widely used existing assessments:

  • The Vulnerability Index, developed by Community Solutions, is a street outreach tool currently in use in more than 100 communities. Rooted in leading medical research, the VI helps determine the chronicity and medical vulnerability of homeless individuals.
  • The Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, developed by OrgCode Consulting, is an intake and case management tool in use in more than 70 communities. Based on a wide body of social science research, the tool helps service providers allocate resources in a logical, targeted way.

The VI-SPDAT is designed to help you calibrate your response based on the individual, not merely the general population category into which they may fall (e.g., vulnerable, chronically homeless, etc.). This development carries forward the best learning of the Campaign that our systems must know homeless individuals personally to identify the best ways to help them escape homelessness.

The tool helps identify the best type of support and housing intervention for an individual by relying on three categories of recommendation:

  • Permanent Supportive Housing: Individuals or families who need permanent housing with ongoing access to services and case management to remain stably housed.
  • Rapid Re-Housing: Individuals or families with moderate health, mental health and/or behavioral health issues, but who are likely to be able to achieve housing stability over a short time period through a medium or short-term rent subsidy and access to support services.
  • Affordable Housing: Individuals or families who do not require intensive supports but may still benefit from access to affordable housing. In these cases, the tool recommends affordable or subsidized housing but no specific intervention drawn uniquely from the homeless services world. (In most cases, this amounts to saying simply, “no case management.”)

The VI-SPDAT helps identify who should be recommended for each housing and support intervention, moving the discussion from simply who is eligible for a service intervention to who is eligible and in greatest need of that intervention.

Why We Need a “Supertool”

The average community currently allocates housing resources on a first come-first served basis. Individuals and families take their place at the bottom of endless waiting lists, regardless of their chronicity, medical vulnerability, acuity, or ability to address their own housing instability. The result is often akin to an emergency room devoting its costliest resources to a common cold patient while leaving a late-arriving heart attack victim to fend for him or herself.

By contrast, the VI-SPDAT allows communities to assess clients’ various health and social needs quickly and then match them to the most appropriate– rather than the most intensive– housing interventions available. In some cases, the VI-SPDAT may help make the case for Permanent Supportive Housing. In other cases, it may encourage practitioners to choose Rapid Rehousing or a simpler affordable housing intervention. Because the tool is rooted in exhaustive research and based on over 160 studies and scholarly articles, service providers can be sure that the recommended intervention is an appropriate path for the client in front of them.

The VI-SPDAT takes the pressure off of service providers to make difficult, emotionally fraught decisions and reframes the moment of assistance as an opportunity to match each client with the best housing and service options for his or her individual needs. In an environment of increasingly limited resources, it also helps communities avoid “subsidy overkill” by targeting their most intensive supports toward those who research shows will not make effective use of a lesser subsidy.

The TAY-VI-SPDAT – The Next Step Tool for Homeless Youth

OrgCode Consulting, Inc. and Community Solutions joined forces with the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) to combine the best parts of products and expertise to create one streamlined triage tool designed specifically for youth aged 24 or younger.

Additional Information


United States, Canada

Client Group

Family, Individual, Youth


1.0, 2.0, 2.01

2 reviews for Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Prescreen Tool (VI-SPDAT)

  1. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Very thorough video! Thanks, Iain!

  2. 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Keep on pushin’ Iain!

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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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