First and foremost, the CoC is a planning process. The goal is to understand the size and scope of the problem of homelessness in a community, and to design effective strategies and solutions to address the problem. It is locally driven, although the process must meet federally set objectives and follow a federally mandated process.
Recognizing the need to stimulate community-wide planning and coordination of programs for individuals and families who are homeless, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1994 instituted a requirement for communities to come together to submit a single, comprehensive application for HUD funds for housing and support services for people who have experienced homelessness. The organizational concept to embody this effort is the Continuum of Care (CoC).
As a result of its strong leadership, access to resources and high visibility in the community, the Coalition for the Homeless Houston/Harris County serves as this region’s lead agency for the CoC.
The Houston CoC encompasses Houston and Harris and Fort Bend counties, and its purpose is to:
- Help create integrated, community-wide strategies and plans to prevent and end homelessness;
- Provide coordination among the numerous regional organizations and initiatives that serve the homeless population, and
- Create the region’s single, comprehensive grant application to HUD for McKinney-Vento funding.