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What is the Continuum of Care?

In 1994, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the Continuum of Care process. This process is an approach that helps communities across America address the problems of homelessness in a coordinated, comprehensive, and strategic fashion.

A Continuum of Care is a community’s plan to organize and deliver shelter and services that meet the specific needs of homeless individuals and families as they move toward stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. This plan should include:

  • Outreach, intake, and assessment to identify an individual’s and family’s service and housing needs, and link them to appropriate housing or service resources.
  • Emergency shelter and safe, decent alternatives to the streets.
  • Longer term shelter with supportive services to allow people the time and support to eliminate barriers to permanent housing, such as utility debt.
  • Permanent housing and permanent supportive housing.

Every Continuum of Care should also feature homelessness prevention strategies and services, which can range from one-time emergency funds that keep a roof over a family’s head to crisis intervention services for people with mental illness.

By working together, these groups can envision, develop, and implement solutions that respond to the wide-ranging needs among people experiencing homelessness, such as veterans, youth, survivors of domestic violence, and people struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, and HIV/AIDS.

Who is on the CoC Board?

  • Laura Albovias, Wellspring
  • Gerry Gordon Brown, Retired
  • Jennifer Clark, Society of St. Vincent de Paul
  • Greg Conley (Chair), District Court
  • Giselle Danger-Mercaderes, Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Kim Frierson, National Safe Place
  • Dillon (Roan) Head, Youth Advisory Board
  • KiAndra Hilliard, Youth Advisory Board
  • Tameka Laird, Louisville Metro Government, Resilience and Community Services
  • Ann Lanham, Lanham Holdings
  • Rosemary Luckett, Retired
  • Epiphany McGruder, Louisville Metro Government, Housing and Community Development
  • Pat McKiernan, Sober Solutions House
  • Michelle Neuhauser, Consumer Representative
  • Stewart Pope (Secretary), Legal Aid Society
  • Heath Rico-Storey, Louisville Metro Housing Authority
  • Andrea Scott, United Partners for Women and Children
  • Donna Trabue, Volunteers of America
  • Aaron Weathers, University of Louisville
  • Shameka Parrish Wright, Small business owner

What is the Coalition’s role in the Continuum of Care process?

The Coalition for the Homeless has provided leadership and coordination for the Louisville Metro Continuum of Care process since 1997. We have staff dedicated to working with local homeless provider agencies and community leaders in a year-round research, strategic planning, and application process.

Our staff specifically focuses on the following activities to direct this process:

  1. Reading and interpreting the HUD application for community agencies.
  2. Conducting necessary research of best practices around the country and determining local gaps in services.
  3. Organizing and conducting the Annual Homeless count.
  4. Facilitating the community funding process with homeless service agencies.
  5. Writing and submitting a collaborative proposal to HUD for federal funding.

Who can be involved in the Continuum of Care?

According to HUD requirements, the membership of the Continuum of Care must be inclusive of the many facets of the community which it represents. The Louisville Metro Continuum of Care membership consists of over 80 entities representing:

  • The Public Sector: state and local government agencies; public housing agencies; school systems and universities; law enforcement and corrections; local workforce investment act boards; and other state and national level groups or individuals.
  • The Private Sector: non-profit organizations; faith-based organizations; funders and advocacy groups; businesses and business associations; hospitals and medical representatives; homeless and formerly homeless people; and any other interested individuals.

How do I get more information about this process?

All Continuum of Care (CoC) community meetings are open to the public. The CoC community meets from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. the first Monday of each month unless there is a change in the date due to a holiday.

Meetings are usually held at Metro United Way at 334 East Broadway in the community room on the 2nd floor. If you have other questions about becoming involved in the process, please contact Mary Frances Schafer, Director of Community Coordination. You can reach her at (502) 636-9550 x1209 or mfschafer@louhomeless.org.

Meeting dates are subject to change or may include additional meetings once the HUD grant application is released.

What are the CoC committees?

1.      Advisory Group

The Advisory Group is made up of members of the CoC who are recommended by the CoC Lead and approved by the CoC membership. The purpose of the group is to provide advisory guidance to the CoC membership, the CoC Lead, the HMIS Lead and the CoC Board. The group meets monthly to focus on what is happening in the CoC, the effect of policy and procedural changes at agencies and programs on the homeless provider system, the effect of changes on the homeless population, and the overall functioning of the provider system. The Advisory Group often makes recommendations to the CoC Board regarding policy changes and the need for services in the community not currently available. Because this group is made up of CoC members it has a unique view of the overall provider system, critical experience in providing real time services and actual relationships with those experiencing homelessness. This group not only consists of service providers but consumers and young adults as well. Every attempt is made to include representatives of different types of services as well as different populations present in the homeless community.

2.      Institutional Discharge/ Homeless Prevention

The Institutional Discharge Committee meets quarterly to discuss ways to improve the discharge planning from state and local institutions including prisons, jails, mental hospitals and institutions, hospitals and foster care.  The committee is open to all and includes representatives of these institutions as well as staff who participate in the homeless prevention program which serves those exiting state institutions.

3.      Consumer Participation Task Force

The Consumer Participation Task Force meets quarterly to seek input from clients of homeless services.  The committee is open to anyone but includes four volunteers representing ESG and CoC funded projects and two persons with no conflict of interest.  Information is gathered from forums held over the course of the year and annually at the Project Connect/Stand Down where all people who are experiencing homelessness are invited to receive services at a one stop shop offered over the course of a full day.

4.      Accessing Mainstream Benefits

The Accessing Mainstream Benefits Committee meets monthly to identify and examine services within the mainstream that assist with issues faced by those who are homeless.

5.      Coalition Supporting Young Adults

This committee is made up of agencies that serve 16-24 year olds in crisis without support throughout the city.  Its role is to make recommendations to lower the number of young adults in crisis and prevent the cycle of homelessness in the next generation.

6.      Coordinated Entry Steering Committee

The Coordinated Entry Steering Committee meets as needed to create and oversee the Louisville Metro CoC Coordinated Entry. The Steering Committee assists the Coordinated Entry project to provide and coordinate appropriate services to those seeking prevention, diversion, shelter and permanent housing.

7.      Homeless Youth Committee

The Homeless Youth Committee seeks to create partnerships between agencies, projects, civic groups, government agencies, private entities and individuals interested in addressing the needs of homeless youth. These partnerships identify new ways of working together to break down barriers faced by homeless youth.

8.      Youth Action Board

The Youth Action Board is made up of youth age 18 – 26 where the majority of members are homeless or formerly homeless. It is charged with assisting the CoC and the Homeless Youth Committee in addressing issues faced by homeless youth. The Board also takes on specific projects that would help homeless youth navigate the homeless provider system.

9.      Rapid Rehousing Task Force

This group works together as needed to exchange ideas and processes in order to better serve the people Rapid Rehousing serves. 

10.  HMIS User Group

The HMIS User Group meets quarterly before the full membership meeting to discuss changes and issues with the Louisville Metro CoC HMIS system.  The committee is open to all but is made up primarily of those who enter HMIS data at each of the homeless service agencies.

11.  The Mayor’s Homeless Encampment Task Force By-Name Subcommittee

This committee works with a by-name list to house people living on the streets as quickly as possible. This is done through case conferencing involving outreach teams, day center, Healthcare for the Homeless, agencies receiving CABHI funds and The Coalition for the Homeless.

11. Move Up Coordination

The Move Up Coordinator receives referral applications from case managers/applicants for move up Section 8 vouchers provided by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority. If the application has been completed and the eligibility requirements have been met, the Coordinator approves the application and provides LMHA documents to be completed to the case manager. The Coordinator reviews those materials once complete and forwards them to LMHA. They also monitor when vouchers become available and solicit more vouchers from Louisville Metro Housing Authority.

For other posts on this site related to the CoC, click here.