Frequently Asked Questions

for ICES Partnering Agencies

Browse our frequently asked questions or contact your SPA Administrator for more information.

ICES Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find CES verification forms?

Please visit the Training and Documents tab for common CES forms.

What is an episode versus a break in homelessness?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) describes an episode of literal (Category 1) homelessness as “a separate, distinct, and sustained stay on the streets and/or in a homeless emergency shelter.” One night or more is considered a distinct stay.  It is recommended to review the four HUD Categories of Homelessness.  

A break in homelessness consists of seven nights or more in a place that HUD does not consider a literal homeless destination, which could include:  

  • Couch surfing (sleeping on a couch for seven nights or more) 
  • Renting a Room 
  • Motel stays (paid for by the participant) 
  • Sober Living (paid for by the participant) 
  • 90 days or more in an institutional setting and did not enter from a place of literal homelessness.
What documents does CES need to verify homelessness?

To verify any episodes of homelessness an Access Point may submit any of the following:

Priority 1: Third Party Verification of Homelessness

Priority 2: Intake Worker Observation

Priority 3: Self-Certification (up to 3 months) if unable to obtain either of the above  

How can I determine if a participant is experiencing chronic homelessness?

An individual is experiencing Chronic Homelessness if they meet either of the definitions below:  

  1. Have accrued twelve months of continuous literal homelessness (having no breaks) AND have a documented disabling condition. 
  2. Have accrued four episodes of literal homelessness over three years totaling twelve months AND have a documented disabling condition. 
What does CES need to verify chronic homelessness?

If you believe an individual meets the definition of Chronic Homelessness, upload the following documents to their HMIS Clarity file:  

  1. Homelessness Verification 
  2. Disabling Condition Verification 
What documents can be submitted as chronic homelessness verification?

Agencies are encouraged to submit:

1) A Third Party Certification form for each episode of homelessness.

2) A Disabling Condition Verification form

Please reach out to your SPA administrator with questions regarding any specifics or exceptions. All forms are located on the Training and Documents tab.  You may also refer to The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Toolkit for Documenting Chronic Homelessness.

What documents can be submitted as disabling condition verification?

Disabling Condition Verification must be provided by “a state licensed qualified source that may include medical service providers, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), physicians or treating health care provider as stated in the Social Security Act – 42 U.S.C. Section 423.”

Common examples of acceptable disabling condition verification include: 

  • County Disabling Condition Verification Form
  • SSDI Award Letter 
  • SSI Award Letter that explicitly states the individual is disabled 
  • Written verification from a state licensed qualified source that includes:  (1) Their license number and contact information, (2) Defines the disability as severe and persistent, and (3) Affects the individual’s ability to live independently unless suitable housing conditions are secured.
What are the housing options available through CES?

Rapid Rehousing: RRH is permanent housing that provides short-term (up to three months) and medium-term (4-24 months) tenant-based rental assistance and supportive services to households experiencing homelessness.  RRH is intended to be temporary assistance.

Vouchers: Can be tenant-based (housing search required) or project-based (unit linked with voucher) but generally are not paired with long-term or continuous supportive services, such as case management.

Permanent Supportive Housing: PSH is long term housing assistance through on-going leasing or rental assistance AND on-going supportive services, such as case management.  

What help is available to individuals "At-Risk" of experiencing homelessness?

To access Prevention services through the Individual Coordinated Entry System, complete an ICES Enrollment and Prevention Assessment.

How does a participant obtain MHSA certification?

Eligibility for Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funded programs requires documented severe and persistent mental illness. Participants enrolled in CES can be referred to housing opportunities available specifically for people who are MHSA eligible if they have MHSA certification. Please review the steps below to begin the MHSA Certification process.  


  • Send an email to with MHSA certification in the subject line. 
  • In the email state your name, title and agency you work for, and that you are requesting that your client (their full name and UID (unique identifying number)) be MHSA certified. 
  • You will then get a response and be assigned a mental health worker from the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) where they will then do a pre-assessment to see if the client is eligible for MHSA certification. 
  • They will then request a consent form and ROI (Request for Information) from the office where the client is receiving services. 
  • Then they will request 12 months of clinical notes, psych/social evaluation, list of current mental health medications, and a current treatment plan. This information will be added to the client’s case and submitted for approval. 
  • If a participant is approved and certified the client will have the MHSA certification put into HMIS by the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA). 
How do I check a participant's status (Chronic Homelessness/Literal Homelessness/At Risk of Homelessness) on the Community Queue (CQ)?
  • Attend office hours for the participant’s corresponding SPA to verify participant’s status. 
  • Review presorted lists sent out by the CES Team; use the participant’s name or UID (unique identifying number) to locate them on the list. 
  • If you have further questions, please contact your SPA Administrator.
When is a new CQ generated?

A new Community Queue (CQ) is generated every Friday at noon. Any changes made in HMIS corresponding to CES related information will be reflected on the next week’s CQ if changes are made prior to every Friday at noon. Any changes made after Friday at noon will not be reflected until the following week’s CQ.