First and foremost, the Continuum of Care (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), which is governed by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from across the community.
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.