Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) Training Program

For a limited time only, BC Housing is offering a Canada-wide training program to help housing providers determine eligibility and allocate services and housing for homeless adults.

Training details

The Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) helps provide a consistent and fair way of identifying adults who could most benefit from supportive housing and different approaches to handling their cases. The tool can also help prevent people from falling through the cracks in the system by coordinating services among agencies.

The VAT assesses a person’s level of vulnerability in 10 areas:

  • Survival skills
  • Basic needs
  • Indicated mortality risks
  • Medical risks
  • Organization/Orientation
  • Mental health
  • Substance use
  • Communication
  • Social behaviours
  • Homelessness

Starting February 2017, we’ve launched a three-day in-person training program for the VAT. Certified trainers from Vancouver, B.C., will facilitate the train-the-trainer program in local communities across Canada.

We’re aiming to certify lots of service providers to boost the availability of local training opportunities from coast to coast. If you or your organization wants to find out more, please email Will Valenciano, BC Housing’s Housing and Health Services Manager, at or call direct 604-648-4278.


Any organization planning to use the VAT must complete training by BC Housing or another certified VAT trainer.


There are no fees for the training sessions. However, host organizations or communities will need to cover any travel expenses for the trainers, such as flights, accommodation, and meals.

Training manual

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness has released this training manual to support organizations that are interested in using the VAT. The VAT Training Sub-Committee revised DESC’s manual to reflect the Canadian context. All changes were reviewed and approved by DESC prior to publication.

Only people who take part in the VAT training will have access to the full training manual. The manual includes:

  • The interview script
  • Procedures for conducting the interviews and instructions for scoring the results
  • Sample client consent form
  • VAT write-up template
  • Trainee evaluation checklist
  • Quality assurance forms

Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) - Training Manual - PDF (397 KB)

Additional information

Identifying and prioritizing adults who live through chronic and episodic homelessness are two core parts of the federal Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS).

To make using the VAT more effective, you should involve people with lived experience of homelessness at every stage of its design, implementation, administration, and evaluation. Make sure you consider ways to reduce harms and maximize benefits for participants.

Anyone who completes a VAT assessment must receive some type of support to find housing and access other needed resources, even if they’re not a priority for the primary available housing resource.