Program Description

Continuum of Care (CoC) Programs combine state funds with federal funds obtained from HUD through an annual competitive application  to provide homeless assistance services and supported housing programs for primarily long term homeless individuals and families with one or multiple disabilities. Across the Commonwealth there are 19 CoCs eligible to apply for HUD homeless Assistance Funds. Each of the 19 CoCs serves a unique geographic area with HUD asking the state (DHCD) to be responsible for addressing homeless gaps in services in all cities and towns not served by another CoC.  DHCD manages 1 of the 19 HUD approved Continuums of Care across the Commonwealth and applies for homeless assistance funds annually as the Balance of State CoC.  CoC membership is open to anyone interested in ending homelessness in the CoC’s geographic area.  Members include other state agencies, many private non-profit homeless service provider organizations, other private non-profit organizations and individuals. 

Each year DHCD analyzes the data on homeless persons reported by homeless service providers together with the data collected by local police departments which participate in our annual Point in Time Count of homeless unsheltered persons in the 75 Balance of State communities to identify the most critical needs for services and types of housing.  Generally, the most critical need identified is determined to be the ongoing need to move homeless people from the streets and emergency shelters into safe permanent housing with ongoing support services.  

Through the CoC, DHCD and its partners in ending homelessness:

  • fund permanent supported housing for over 600 formerly homeless individuals and families;
  • conduct street outreach to homeless people living in a place not meant for human habitation in an effort to get them into a more safe environment;
  • work with CoC Members in an efforts to help better coordinate and not duplicate homeless services in the CoC jurisdiction.
  • work to maximize the number of housing units to be made available by leveraging other local and state resources to provide the services.

How it works:

A homeless household is identified or self identifies as being homeless with a disabling condition and needing ongoing long term support services to help them keep the housing.  Once they move in a conversation about supported housing begins between the household and the state agency or service provider representative. Once the service needs and housing requirements of the household are identified a process should begin to explore whether there is an appropriate SHP available and if so, the individual or provider can make a referral to the appropriate organization conducting intakes/assessments.  Some programs maintain open waiting lists.

Who is eligible?

Homeless individuals and families with a disabling condition and a long term need for ongoing support services to help them get and maintain housing are eligible for Permanent Supportive Housing.  The specific eligibility criteria varies by the type of services offered to program participants. Eligibility for may have been funded by HUD specifically to serve homeless veterans.  Some were specifically funded to provide permanent supported housing to chronically homeless unaccompanied adults with a disabling condition. 

Homeless people living in a place not meant for human habitation are eligible to receive street outreach services in an effort to get them into shelter and housing. There are a variety of programs such as housing stabilization for high risk, formerly chronically homeless tenants, employment search and job placement for homeless people.

Application process:

While the waits may be lengthy, persons interested in applying for a CoC funded housing program of the Balance of State CoC should discuss his or her needs with a local homeless service provider and/or with a worker representing a state agency funded provider that provides services.  These service providers can help you complete a coordinated entry application packet.  Alternatively, you can obtain an application by either calling 617-573-1343 or using this link to email a request .  For help in accessing an emergency shelter, either speak with a local homeless service provider, if you know of one, or follow this link to the Service Provider Listing.


Much of the funding for the CoC programs comes from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  As part of the process for accessing this funding, HUD asks us to rank projects for funding priority.  The FFY 15 project ranking pdf format of projectranking.pdf
can be found here.  You can access the entire FFY 15 Application here pdf format of ffy 15 ap
file size 13MB.

How to get involved:

The Continuum has a Planning Group meeting at 100 Cambridge Street, Boston MA at 10:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.  All are welcome.  For agendas, more information, or to arrange for clearance with the building security, please contact us by phone at 617-573-1339.

For further information:

Please contact the Division of Housing Stabilization at (617) 573-1100