Solutions to Homelessness

ENtry system: Coordinated access network [CAN]

Creating easy access for housing is key to decreasing the length of time one remains homeless.

2-1-1 provides One point of entry for anyone experiencing a housing crisis. All households which call 2-1-1 speak with a housing specialist who completes a brief assessment and provides appropriate referrals to prevent people from entering homeless shelters. If no options are identified, the 2-1-1 Contact Specialist will direct households to local designated CAN sites where specially trained staff will triage and assess each housing crisis.

The Fairfield County Coordinated Access Network (CAN) functions under the Opening Doors of Fairfield County’s Crisis Response Committee.  

ENTRY: 2-1-1 and VI-SPDAT

Coordinated Access Network [CAN] The Fairfield County CAN system ensures that anyone experiencing a housing crisis can easily access services through a defined point of entry: United Way 2-1-1. All households calling 2-1-1 speak with a housing specialist who provides appropriate referrals to prevent people from entering the homeless system. If no alternatives can be identified, 2-1-1 Call Specialists direct households to locally designated CAN sites, where specially trained staff triage and assess each individual’s housing crisis and exhaust all opportunities for resolution.

Prioritization. Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistant Tool, more commonly referred to as the VI-SPDAT, is an evidenced-based common assessment tool that informs the type of housing intervention needed to end homelessness. The tool assesses the health and service needs of homeless individuals and families, and guides placements on the Housing Registry. Learn More:
For more information about 2-1-1, click here:


Diversion is a strategy that prevents households from entering a shelter in the first place by immediately identifying alternate housing arrangements.  In Fairfield County, households can be diverted by 2-1-1 or at the CAN appointment where they are assessed using uniform, national best-practices approaches to be diverted from shelter.  Diversion assistance can address a range of needs including security deposits, hotel stays, car repair and transportation costs to name a few. Currently ODFC diversion is funded through private fund raising efforts.  


Creating an effective exit system that targets the housing intervention based on the needed level of services is key to ensuring stable housing.

ODFC provides a continuum of housing interventions based on household needs:

Rapid Rehousing

Rapid Rehousing is an intervention that provides just enough financial assistance and services needed to return people experiencing homelessness to housing. The three components of rapid rehousing include housing find and placement and time limited rental assistance and case management. The CT Department of Housing funds the CT Rapid Rehousing Program for the Fairfield County CAN region. Rapid rehousing rental assistance is also funded through HUD Continuum of Care and Emergency Solution Grant programming. Rapid Rehousing programming targeting Veterans is also funded through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program (SSVF).  Download Rapid Rehousing brochure.

Housing with Support Services

Housing First Collaborative Programs [HFC] move homeless individuals and families immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own housing units. This evidence-based national best practice is founded on the principle that one’s first and primary need is to obtain stable housing. The Collaborative utilizes an adapted Critical Time Intervention (CTI) model for providing time-limited case management support.

ODFC operates Housing First programs in Greater Bridgeport, Greater Danbury, Greater Norwalk and Greater Stamford.  

Click here for Meetings and Staff

Permanent Supportive Housing [PSH] –is an evidence-based model designed to support vulnerable clients who are at repeated risk of homelessness.  Clients live in affordable housing and receive holistic case management services to ensure housing stability.  

ODFC has an extensive network of supportive housing. For PSH highlights, click here.