Continuum of Care

 “To end homelessness, every community needs to be able to implement a systemic response that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or, if it can’t be prevented, it is a rare, brief, and one-time experience.”–United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

The HEARTH Act (2009) was the first significant reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs in nearly 20 years. This Act formalized the “Continuum of Care”  for the purpose of: a community-wide commitment to ending homelessness; funding to quickly rehouse homeless people; and helping people access mainstream services. A “Continuum of Care” refers to three things:

  • The planning body in a community that addresses homelessness.  The CoC Board, known locally as the HUD CoC Committee, makes decisions on behalf of this planning body. 
  • The HUD funding program for homeless housing and services
  • The system of services and housing interventions both short-term and long-term for people experiencing homelessness

The planning body (HUD CoC Committee), has several major duties including: 

  • Operating the Continuum of Care (including design and implementation of Coordinated Entry)
  • Monitoring project and system performance
  • Planning for the CoC’s geographic area.  Includes coordinating the CoC system of services and housing interventions. 
  • Select and approve projects for CoC Program funding

The planning body relies on support entities to complete these duties.  The HMIS Lead, Collaborative Applicant, Coordinated Entry Lead, and CoC Planning Entity all work together to coordinate the homeless housing and service system. Details on these roles and responsibilities are in the Governance Charter.