What is a Continuum of Care?
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, “A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. In 2017, there are over 400 CoCs in all 50 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Nearly every geographic area in the U.S. has an organization that serves as the officially designated Continuum of Care organization. In the 12 parishes of Northeast Louisiana, that’s the HOME Coalition.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, which has federal law and regulations that establish requirements for CoCs, these are what a CoC is expected to do:
A CoC’s three primary responsibilities under the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s CoC Program interim rule include the following:
1. Operating the CoC
2. Designating and operating an HMIS
3. CoC planning
A brief summary of each responsibility is presented below.
Operating a CoC
To operate successfully, a CoC must fulfill the following responsibilities specified in the CoC Program interim rule: • Conduct semi-annual meetings of the full membership • Issue a public invitation for new members, at least annually • Adopt and follow a written process to select a board • Appoint additional committees, subcommittees, or work groups • Develop and follow a governance charter detailing the responsibilities of all parties • Consult with recipients and subrecipients to establish performance targets appropriate for population and program type, monitor the performance of recipients and subrecipients, evaluate outcomes, and take action against poor performers • Evaluate and report to HUD outcomes of ESG and CoC projects • Establish and operate a centralized or coordinated assessment system • Establish and follow written standards for providing CoC assistance
Designating and Operating an HMIS
HMIS or Homeless Management Information System is a community-wide database that allows homeless service providers to track information about the needs of and services to homeless persons. Programs using the HMIS can provide data that allows the programs to see how well the program is working. The HMIS can also provide important community-wide planning information to help more quickly place homeless persons in available housing and to better understand local needs.
With respect to planning responsibilities, the CoC must: • Coordinate the implementation of a housing and service system within its geographic area • Conduct a Point-in-Time count of homeless persons, at least biennially • Conduct an annual gaps analysis • Provide information required to complete the Consolidated Plan(s) • Consult with ESG recipients regarding the allocation of ESG funds and the evaluation of the performance of ESG recipients and subrecipients.
For more information:
What is a Continuum of Care