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Continuum of Care Programs (COC)

A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.

Across the Commonwealth there are 15 CoCs eligible to apply for money from HUD to help homeless people.

Each of the 15 CoCs serves a unique geographic area with HUD asking the state (DHCD) to be responsible for addressing homelessness in their area. 

DHCD manages 1 of the 15 HUD approved Continuums of Care across the Commonwealth and applies for homeless assistance funds annually in what is known as the Balance of State CoC.  CoC membership is open to anyone interested in ending homelessness in the CoC’s area.  Members include other state agencies, many private non-profit homeless service provider organizations, other private non-profit organizations, faith based organizations, and individuals.

Continuum of Care Service Areas

About Our Continuum of Care

Each year DHCD counts  all of the homeless people reported by homeless service providers together with collected counting of homeless people on the streets by local police departments and volunteer groups.  This is out annual Point in Time Count of homeless people in the 76 Balance of State communities to identify the most important needs for services and types of housing.  Generally, the most important need identified is determined to be 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 endeavoring to end homelessness:

  • fund permanent supported housing for over 800 formerly homeless individuals and families;
  • conduct street outreach to homeless people living in places people would not normally live (abandoned buildings, under bridges, in their cars, etc.) in an effort to get them into a more safe environment;
  • work with CoC members in an effort to help better coordinate homeless services in the CoC jurisdiction.
  • increase the number of housing units to be made available by leveraging other local and state resources to provide the services.

 

Who is eligible?

Homeless individuals and families with a disabling condition and a long term need for ongoing help to get and maintain housing are eligible for Permanent Supportive Housing.  

How Can CoC Resources Be Accessed?

While the waits may be lengthy, people 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 complete a Coordinated Entry Overview application packet.  

If you don’t know of a service provider, applications may be obtained by either:

 

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

Funding

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.

Additional Resources for

How to get involved

The Continuum has a general membership meeting at 100 Cambridge Street, Boston MA at 10:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. There are also committees that work to address the unique issues that face homeless veterans, and youth, as well as committees that focus on project review, homeless management information systems (HMIS,) and coordinated entry. Participation from people with different perspectives is encouraged. For agendas or more information about any of the meetings, or to arrange for clearance with the building security, please contact us by phone at 617-573-1100.

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