Administering the VI-SPDAT 2.0
The new and improved VI-SPDAT 2.0 is coming out and organizations across Connecticut will be adopting these changes for their service intake. This training is intended to prepare providers and organizations to adapt to the changes and improve overall use of this prioritization and data collection tool. The new VI-SPDAT 2.0, Vulnerability Index – Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool, was developed by OrgCode and Community Solutions and will be incorporated into CT HMIS this January. The new version will be shorter, only an average of 7 minutes for individuals and 9 minutes for families, and incorporates the feedback & experiences of over 400 people with lived experiences, 100 frontline staff, as well as experts in abuse and trauma. We’re confident that these are the right questions, but we need your help to make sure they are being administered in the right way. The more accurate and consistent the results, the better we serve our homeless population throughout the state.
Here are several resources and handouts from our trainings on the VI-SPDAT 2.0. Please contact Training and Communications Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, feedback, or comments related to the VI-SPDAT 2.0 training and check out some of the additional resources below.
January 8, 2016 Webinar:
VI-SPDAT 2.0 – Individual
VI-SPDAT 2.0 – Family
Training Handout on VI-SPDAT 2.0 for Individual Adults
Training Handout on VI-SPDAT 2.0 for Families
Training Handout on Opening & Closing Script for VI-SPDAT 2.0
HMIS Release of Information Form
SPDAT to VI-SPDAT 2.0 Conversion Chart
Commonly Asked Questions:
1. If the person is not literally homeless that night but will become homeless can I do the VI-SPDAT 2.0?
NO. Only do the VI-SPDAT 2.0 is all diversion has failed and the individual or family is going to be homeless that night. Otherwise they are not yet homeless and the VI-SPDAT 2.o will not be an acurate reflection of their vulnerability. Please do not do the VI-SPDAT 2.0 on someone who will or may become homeless until they are homeless.
2. Does a married couple qualify as a “Family” or should I do two separate Individual VI-SPDATs?
To do a Family VI-SPDAT 2.0 you must have a child under the age of 18 with one or both adults. A married couple or partners would do two individual VI-SPDAT 2.0 surveys instead of 1 family VI-SPDAT 2.0.
3. For Question 7, does the term “legal stuff” include an eviction history?
If there is a legal record that follows someone after eviction (or series of evictions) that a potential landlord would discover when running a background check, then consider it a legal issue. However, you should not in any way attempt to influence the answer of the individual you are surveying with this information or end the question with “eviction history would count” or things like that.
4. Question 20 states that I should only ask female respondents whether or not they are pregnant. In my work, I work with transexual individuals who may identify as male but are or have the ability to become pregnant. Can I ask them whether they are currently pregnant?
Yes. The VI-SPDAT 2.0 is looking for a pregnancy in anyone who is biologically female and has the ability to become pregnant. If you are concerned about asking someone who may feel awkward or unpleasant about being asked, feel free to preface with “they want me to ask everyone.”
5. Question 21 seems to make an assumption that the individual has a history or drug or alcohol use. This is an assumption that I find unfair and offensive to my clients which do not suffer from these issues, as it is a classification that is often wrongly assumed about homeless individuals. Why is the wording this way?
There was much discussion around the wording of this question and this is where OrgCode settled. They feel that the language used doesn’t imply assumption, as a valid response to the question of “has your drinking or drug use led you to…” can be answered with a no if it has not been an issue due to them not having any substance use concerns. If the potential participant does not drink or use drugs then they simply respond with a no. While this may be brought up for further discussion with the next version, testing around the wording of this question has not received any negative feedback from communities and participants were not found to be put off by the wording.
6. Why isn’t there a question related to the LGBTQ community, as they are of higher risk for discrimination in services, employment, and violence?
The VI-SPDAT is derived from the components of the full SPDAT which does not look specifically at sexual orientation or gender in identifying those most in need of particular housing supports and interventions. OrgCode is aware from the empirical research that we have reviewed that LBGTQ status may result in increased risk to housing stability among youth and this is reflected in the VI-SPDAT for youth (or the “Next Step Tool”). Any changes in regards to the VI-SPDAT for individual adults will need to be first changed in the full SPDAT.
7. Why isn’t there a question related to homelessness as a result of loss of employment?
There are many potential contributing factors that lead to someone losing their housing. If loss of employment has been the factor, this is something that should be addressed in case management if they are screened into and accept a housing support intervention. The VI-SPDAT is designed as a pre-screen triage as opposed to a full, robust assessment. It is also a tool used to measure the vulnerability of an individual, which may not be corollary to whether their current period of homelessness is related to job loss.
If you have questions or concerns about the VI-SPDAT 2.0, please reach out to the Training & Communications Coordinator, at email@example.com.