Continuum of Care
Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) competitively awards homeless services funding to local jurisdictions across the country through the Continuum of Care Program. The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness and provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to:
- To create a systematic response to make homelessness rare and brief.
- To effectively use a Coordinated Entry system that promotes participant choice, coordinates with mainstream services, and is open, inclusive, and transparent.
- To use a Housing First approach that quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and ending chronic homelessness.
- To promote access to and use of mainstream benefits and coordinate with employers to prioritize employment opportunities for people experiencing homelessness.
- To address racial disparities and inequities when building programs and policies to ensure there are positive outcomes for all persons experiencing homelessness.
- To use evidence-based approaches that strategically use performance and outcome data to best allocate resources to determine the cost-effectiveness and impact of homeless services programs.
HUD announces the annual nationwide competition through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) - it's common to hear this process referred to simply as the CoC NOFA. The NOFA is conducted at varying times each year, and the submission window is typically open for 60-75 days. HUD requires communities applying for funds to conduct a local competition during this timeframe to select renewal and new homeless services projects that strongly align with HUD funding priorities and community needs.
HUD Continuum of Care Program funds may be used in most cases for projects under three program components: permanent housing, supportive services only, and HMIS. These funds are competitively awarded both at the local level and national level. Over 75% of the annual CoC project funding to Baltimore City is allocated to permanent supportive housing programs, which provide permanent housing subsidies coupled with supportive services to people who are chronically homeless.