History of Continuum of Care (CoC)
Since 1994, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban
Development has been encouraging communities to address the problems of housing
and homelessness in a coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic fashion. This
concept is designed to help communities develop the capacity to envision,
organize, and plan comprehensive and long-term solutions to addressing the
problem of homelessness in their community.
The Continuum of Care is a formal community plan with performance reviews submitted to HUD on an annual basis. The planned goals and action steps are created to organize and deliver housing and supportive services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. The community plan also includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.
The Continuum of Care planning process and committee tasks are on-going, yearly processes which culminate in a funding application being submitted to HUD requesting financial support for locally determined projects addressing the causes and needs of the homeless. Community participation and measurement of service provider collaboration and goal achievement are key factors for determining the levels of funding our Continuum of Care receives annually from HUD.
CoC Community Meeting: Membership is comprised of all community stakeholders including homeless shelter, housing, service providers, foundations, and businesses. Members share information related to homeless population and receive an update on the progress of implementation of the Continuum of Care Strategic Plan. This standing committee meets semiannually to review and discuss various homeless issues, policies, and other homeless related trends. This committee represents the general membership of the CoC.
CoC Steering Committee: This standing
committee meets bi-monthly to provide strategic direction and leadership to the
Continuum of Care process. Membership is comprised of stakeholders who wish to
assist in the development and implementation of the Continuum of Care
strategy. This committee will assign the Continuum of Care Goals and tasks to
other committees for completion and monitor progress on the overall CoC goal
CoC Executive Director Committee: The Executive Director Committee looks at the global perspective of the CoC; its objectives, strategies, and impact within our community. They also look at national trends and update the CoC. They are also an interagency to council and HUD.
CoC Review and Ranking Committee: The Review and Ranking Committee is responsible for reviewing all CoC applications, both new and renewals. After the review process is complete, the committee then ranks, from highest to lowest, all projects into two tiers: Tier 1 and Tier 2. Ranking is completed using the CoC approved scoring tool. All projects within Tier 1 shall be funded while projects in Tier 2 shall be funded in order of performance (highest to lowest), based on the amount of funding that is awarded by HUD. Funding is not guaranteed for Tier 2 projects. Emphasis will be placed on permanent supportive housing and sub-populations served.
Point-in-Time Count: This is an ad hoc committee that coordinates activities related to the annual count of the homeless population as required by HUD. The HUD point-in-time count is currently required in January. This committee will coordinate shelter, street, and other potential contacts such as police, hospitals, and food pantries. This committee may also work with the University of Akron to seek student-volunteers for the street count. This committee will work closely with the HMIS Advisory Committee to combine point-in-time count results with HMIS participating agency counts. Typically, this is a two-three month process, starting six weeks prior to the count, and ending with the final collection and reporting on data derived from the count.
HMIS Advisory Committee: The HMIS Advisory Committee is comprised of decision makers at agencies that participate in HMIS. Itís duties are to oversee policies and standards, evaluation criteria and reporting systems for HMIS implementation. This committee also serves as the final validation criteria submissions to HUD for AHAR, PULSE, HIC, PIT and other reporting purposes.
HMIS User Group: The HMIS Users Group reviews the level of data integrity in the database, reviews upgrades to the system, and determines additional customization or functionality needed in the system related to client data entry. They guide the development of HMIS training materials and configuration changes to HMIS through feedback related to ease of use and feasibility.
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