Coordinated Access in Cowichan

What is Coordinated Access?

A Coordinated Access System for Cowichan will make sure individuals and families looking for help are matched with, or can easily find services, that meet their needs. As part of Reaching Home funding requirements, Cowichan is required to develop a Coordinated Access System to streamline the way individuals and families experiencing (or at risk of) homelessness can access services.  

Learn more about Reaching Home's Coordinated Access System requirement. 

Community-Informed Coordinated Access


A Coordinated Access System (CAS) looks different in every community. Coordinated Access Systems have similar features, such as shared information, real-time data on clients and available resources, clear access points for finding information and services, and resources (such as staff or information) to help people connect with appropriate supports.

Through 2020-2021, Tze Tza Watul contracted HelpSeeker to engage with community members in the Cowichan region to better understand the opportunities and requirements for improving equitable access to housing and homelessness support. Upon completion of some of the initial consultations, a Coordinated Access Working Group was established to further unpack the requirements for a Coordinated Access System, and make recommendations on next steps.

Nanaimo Coordinated Access Infographic

What problems does coordination solve?

The goal of Coordinated Access is to reduce barriers to accessing services in Cowichan.

Examples of barriers a person looking for help might experience include:

  • Lack of up-to-date information
  • Fear of asking for help
  • Transportation
  • Paperwork
  • Limited hours of operation
  • Access during COVID-19
  • Wait times
  • Systemic and structural barriers

Coordinated Access means you get the help you need faster, feel supported as you look for help, and have a higher chance of getting the right help.

Coordination is an opportunity


Creating a system from scratch allows us to build relationships, rethink how our community helps people and find new ways to work together. This is how we'll do it: 



We value the co-creation of CA with First Nations. We will ensure an inclusive, equitable system of access. We commit to building relationships and reducing systemic barriers to participation.

We will ground CA in a human-centred approach and the experiences of those looking for help.

We will develop a system that includes community practices, values, and how they want to work together.

We will create an inventory of community and social services. This systems map is free on a smartphone or computer and available for all to use.

Creating a Coordinated Access System for Cowichan


Systems Mapping

The first step in building a coordinated access system for our community is taking inventory of all social and community support services currently offered. This process is called Systems Mapping.


What problems does Systems Mapping solve?

The goal of systems mapping is to provide a comprehensive source of information for people looking for help, service providers, and decision-makers. Systems mapping helps address problems such as:

  • Struggling to keep information up-to-date
  • Identifying service duplication and gaps
  • Fear of asking for help
  • Deciding how to spend resources effectively
  • Unequal access to information for under-represented and marginalized groups


Is your organization included in Cowichan's Systems Map? Join Now!


Restoring Relationships

In the spirit of Reconciliation, we recognize the value of co-creating Coordinated  Access with First Nations to ensure an inclusive, equitable system of access.  We are committed to building the foundational relationships with First Nations required for coordination and reducing systemic barriers to participation.