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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 homeless subpopulations, such as veterans, youth, victims of domestic violence and people struggling with mental illness, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.

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 government agencies Local government agencies Public housing agencies School systems and universities Law enforcement and corrections Local Workforce Investment Act boards Other state and national level groups and persons

The Private Sector

Non-Profit organizations Faith-Based organizations Funders and advocacy groups Businesses including banks, developers and business associations Hospitals and medical representatives Homeless and formerly homeless persons 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, at the Coalition. You can reach her at (502) 636-9550 or mfschafer@louhomeless.org.

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

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