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What is Doorways?

Doorways is a community collaboration designed to meet the needs of individuals, families and youth in Winnipeg
who are experiencing chronic (homeless for 6 months or more) or episodic (homeless 3 or more times in the last year)
homelessness. Doorways also provides intake and referral services for youth who are close to aging out of CFS care and
have no place to live.
Doorways will continually evolve to provide a continuum of supports that meet the needs of people experiencing
homelessness in Winnipeg.
Doorways provides centralized intake and referral to decentralized supports and services, including Winnipeg’s Housing
First programs, in support of The Plan to End Homelessness in Winnipeg. The core components of the Doorways model
are access, assessment, assignment and assistance.
Access: Any person can access Doorways through “door” agencies (participating shelters and agencies) or the
Doorways Hub (a walk-in centre).
Assess: A two-tiered screening and assessment process is in place to gather information about the person’s
housing and other needs. After the intake survey (the VI-SPDAT), participants who meet the criteria for housing
with supports programs, like Housing First, are invited to participate in a more in-depth assessment (the SPDAT).
Assign: Those with lower acuity will be referred to early intervention and support services that meet their level of
need. Those with higher acuity who have completed the full assessment will be placed in a housing with supports
program, like Housing First, or referred to other housing programs and services that better suit their needs. This
process helps ensure that the right individuals are connected with the right resources.
Assist: Any person can access the Doorways Hub for information or help navigating the system, for an intake
survey, and for a referral to the right programs and services.
• Matches people in need to the housing program or service that is right for them,
• Provides the most vulnerable people with access to housing with support programs, like Housing First, and
• Supports a more efficient system by providing centralized access to decentralized resources.

How do people access Doorways?
There are two ways that people can access Doorways.
People can self-refer to the Doorways Hub, located at 103-181 Higgins Avenue, for an intake survey. People can either walk
in or call the Hub at 204-925-3830 to book an appointment.
The Doorways Hub is a walk-in centre where people experiencing homelessness can access support and navigation
assistance. Staff at the Hub (Community Access Navigators) can offer information; provide intake surveys to help
connect people experiencing homelessness with the right supports; and facilitate referrals to a range of programs
and services that respond to people’s unique circumstances.
People experiencing homelessness can also access Doorways through referral from one of the “door” agencies.
What are “door” agencies?
Some shelters and agencies act as a door into Doorways’ centralized intake program. Workers at these agencies can
conduct the intake survey and offer prevention, early intervention and diversion strategies. For those participants who
qualify, workers can also make referrals to Doorways for further assessment.
The partner shelters and agencies that people can visit for a pre-screen include:
• Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg
• Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
• Eagle Urban Transition Centre
• Mount Carmel Clinic
• Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg
• West Central Women’s Resource Centre
• Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY)
• Siloam Mission
• Salvation Army Booth Centre
• Main Street Project

What are Community Access Navigators?
Community Access Navigators staff the Doorways Hub. They fill many, evolving roles. Community Access Navigators:
• Provide intake surveys, and offer prevention, early intervention and diversion strategies;
• Provide information and help navigating the system;
• Provide referrals to programs and services that best support people’s needs and unique circumstances;
• Provide the most vulnerable people experiencing homelessness with in-depth assessments (the full SPDAT);
• Maintain contact with participants who are under placement consideration for a housing with supports program,
like Housing First; and
• Provide outreach to people experiencing homelessness.
In the future, Community Access Navigators will also provide support, information and training for case managers,
outreach workers and navigators who work in the homeless-serving sector.

What does the Placement Committee do?
The purpose of the Placement Committee is to review the completed in-depth assessments (SPDAT) and, based on what
they learn, to match the participants with the placements that are best suited to their needs. If the participant does not
meet the criteria for housing with supports program, like Housing First (i.e. their needs are too complex and/or they
cannot live independently with supports), they will be considered for other specialized or alternative placements.
The Placement Committee is chaired by the Doorways Coordinator and is comprised of one representative from
Winnipeg’s Housing First agencies:
• Aboriginal Health and Wellness Centre of Winnipeg Inc.
• Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc.
• Eagle Urban Transition Centre
• Mount Carmel Clinic
• Canadian Mental Health Association, Manitoba and Winnipeg
• West Central Women’s Resource Centre
• Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY)

What is Housing First?
Doorways provides centralized intake, assessment and referral for Winnipeg’s Housing First programs. Participants should
be aware that they are applying to be accepted into a housing and case management program—not just housing. Housing
First programs match participants with a supportive case manager who will help the participant find a home, and then
make regular home visits to help the participant implement an individualized plan for success.
Housing First is a supportive tenancy program that provides people experiencing chronic or episodic homelessness with
access to housing and flexible services to help them find and keep a home. Housing First is a fidelity based model that
• Access to permanent housing with no housing readiness conditions
• Participant choice
• Recovery orientation, including a harm-reduction approach
• Social and community integration
• Wraparound supports
• Intensive Case Management (ICM) or Assertive Case Management (ACT) Teams
• Integration of trauma and culturally informed practice
How are needs assessed?
The intake and assessment tools used to help determine people’s level of need and vulnerability are the VI-SPDAT and
The VI-SPDAT (Vulnerability Index & Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) is a pre-screen tool used to determine
if a person’s situation warrants advancing beyond prevention, early intervention and diversion strategies.
The SPDAT (Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) is a triage assessment tool used to determine a person’s acuity
and key issues related to housing. The tool prioritizes the participant’s needs for the Placement Committee and helps them
determine the programs best suited for each individual. The process helps the Placement Committee serve those with the
most acute needs first as well as accurately match the right participant to the right resources.
In addition to the standard tool for individual adults experiencing homelessness, the VI-SPDAT has been customized for
families and youth. Families and youth use a different VI-SPDAT form than single adults.

Does everyone qualify for a SPDAT?
Not everyone qualifies for a SPDAT.
The first step to getting a SPDAT is completing the VI-SPDAT (a brief intake survey that takes about 20 minutes, including
the initial conversation) and reviewing informed consent with the participant to release their personal information to the
Doorways Hub.
If the person qualifies for a SPDAT, the assessor (a worker at one of the “door” agencies) should call the Doorways Hub
at 204-925-3830 to book an appointment immediately. The goal is to see the person as soon as possible at the Hub, the
agency where the VI-SPDAT was conducted, or elsewhere in the community where the person feels more comfortable. The
assessor should follow up by email to, attaching the completed forms (the signed consent
and the VI-SPDAT).
Are all participants who complete the SPDAT guaranteed
housing or placement in a Housing First program?
Completing the in-depth assessment (SPDAT) does not guarantee housing or placement in a Housing First program.
Doorways will try to find the best possible program match for participants based on their level of need and/or risk,
available program spots, and program fit. This might take some time.
Some participants may not meet Housing First eligibility criteria or individual program requirements. Doorways will
recommend or refer these participants to a housing program or service that better suits their needs.

How is participant information protected?
The protection of participant information is governed by relevant sections of The Personal Information Protection and
Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) and The Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Doorways adheres to these principles and policies both in verbal sharing of information
and the securing of hardcopy and electronic storage of information. Participant information will not be released to any
person, agency, organization or institution except by a legal subpoena or by the expressed consent of the participant by
way of a Release of Information.

Doorways Hub 204-925-3830 • 103-181 Higgins Avenue