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 12 CoCs eligible to apply for money from HUD to help homeless people.

Each of the 12 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 12 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

The Balance of State CoC works to address homelessness in a number of ways including Permanent Supportive Housing, Rapid Rehousing and Transitional Housing, Supportive Services for those who are homeless, and by collaborating with the many organizations serving this population throughout our CoC geography. One of the ways we identify this population is through an annual survey most often undertaken in the last week of January. 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 our annual Point in Time Count of homeless people in the 115 Balance of COC 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 who are homeless, living in shelter, or living in places not meant for human habitation.

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 emailing DHCDcocapplications@mass.gov.

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

FFY2022 HUD Continuum of Care Competitions

This year HUD is offering Continuums of Care two funding opportunities – the regular COC Program Competition (which makes available both Bonus and DV Bonus funds), and the COC Program Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness NOFO (the MA BoS COC is eligible for the Unsheltered portion only). Please see below for important information regarding both funding opportunities, including deadlines that project applications and concept papers are due to the COC by.

 

CoC Program Competition: FY 2022 Funding Availability

August 16, 2022

The Massachusetts Balance of State Continuum of Care (MA-516) is pleased to announce the opportunity to apply for projects under the FY22 Continuum of Care HUD NOFO. This notice contains a considerable amount of information, so I encourage you to read it carefully. HUDs application due date is September 30, 2022, but to be included in the CoC’s application, due dates for project applications (renewal, expansion, and new) to the Mass Balance of State Continuum of Care have different deadlines, as outlined below.

MA-516 CoC Local Competition Deadlines Quick Reference:

  1. CoC New Project Concept Papers for CoC Bonus Funds: August 25, 2022
  2. CoC Project Renewal Applications: August 29, 2022
  3. CoC New Project Applications (including expansions): August 29, 2022

 

  1. Attached is the Working Calendar for this effort. It includes a link to the HUD NOFO page which can also be found here. The page at this link also includes links to the HUD webinar and slides from last week.

 

  1. Project Application instructions became available today. DHCD will set those up for renewal projects in e-snaps tomorrow and notify subrecipients. In the HUD webinar last week, they indicated there will be an option to renew projects as they currently exist, just as they did last year. Project renewal applications are due to the Massachusetts Balance of State CoC no later than August 29, 2022.

 

  1. The Project Evaluation Committee has worked hard to update the Ranking and Review process. You can view the FY22 Ranking Tool .

 

  1. Projects will be ranked in two tiers as defined in the Estimated ARD Report.

A

Estimated ARD

$23,288,552

 

 

Tier I

$22,124,124

 

 

 

Tier II

$1,164,428

 

B

CoC Bonus

$1,164,428

C

DV Bonus

$1,537,421

D

Planning

$698,657

 

  1. New projects can include expansions, and we encourage projects to look at whether they are able to add, “…units, beds, persons served, services provided…”.

 

  1. We are also accepting Project Concept Papers. This will allow us to apply for new projects using bonus, DV bonus, and reallocation funds while staying compliant with the State procurement and HUD timeline requirements. Project Concept Papers are due to the Mass Balance of State CoC on or before August 25, 2022 using the form FY2022 NOFO Bonus Concept Paper.

 

We’ve received a lot of questions about the new project process. It is stated on the form and highlighted here:

 

Since the Balance of State CoC is led by the MA Department of Housing and Community Development, we are bound by state procurement laws which can be a time-consuming process. To be able to request both the CoC Bonus money and the DV Bonus money available through the NOFO, we plan to submit applications based upon the project concept papers received from you. To ensure we are submitting applications that best reflect the needs you are seeing as you do your work on the front lines, your concept papers ensure we develop projects consistent with HUD policy priorities and the needs in the BoS CoC. We will develop a procurement for the projects HUD funds after the NOFO submission and make awards to subrecipients then.

 

To be clear, at the time of procurement, the process will be competitive. Responding to this concept paper is NOT a guarantee that your agency will be automatically assigned as the subrecipient. This opportunity is open to any agency serving the homeless population in the BoS CoC. You do not have to be a current subrecipient of CoC funds to respond, and we encourage you to share this opportunity with colleagues who may have an interest. Some ideas that have already come our way include housing families and expanding CE. Please submit your ideas no later than August 25, 2022 using the format attached. Please note – if your concept will not fit within the box in the attached, one additional page may be included.

CoC Program Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness NOFO

July 20, 2022

HUD has released a Special NOFO for Unsheltered Homeless and our CoC is eligible for up to $17,995,628 over a three-year period. This opportunity is open to any agency serving the homeless population in the BoS CoC. You do not have to be a current subrecipient of CoC funds to respond, and we encourage you to share this opportunity with colleagues who may have an interest.

MA-516 CoC Local Competition Deadline Quick Reference:

  1. Request for Concept Papers, [with more specific details about content and submission process]: September 2, 2022.
  2. CoC New Project Concept Papers for Unsheltered Homelessness Special NOFO Funds: September 9, 2022

Attached is the Working Calendarfor this effort, which includes additional important dates.

 

This opportunity is being rolled out very much like the annual NOFO in that there is a Collaborative Application, Project Applications, and a requirement for ranking all projects (including Planning).

A high-level overview of the most significant differences is listed below, and you may access the slide deck of the Special NOFO informational meeting held July 29, 2022.

  1. This response requires that we must develop a CoC Community Plan for Serving Individuals and Families Experiencing Homelessness with Severe Service Needs. This Plan accounts for 70 of the 100 points for the Consolidated Application and must be developed in partnership with a broad range of contributors including PWLE.
  2. These are three-year grants initially and will be given the opportunity to be renewed after that as 1-year grants.
  3. We must develop a PWLE Working Group comprised predominately of those who have experienced, or are experiencing homelessness, who will essentially sign off on the final Community Plan which will determine which projects best meet the needs of the CoC.
  4. They are looking for significant demonstration of partnerships and leveraging in the form of contracts and agreements, not just MOUs although that is acceptable, too.
  5. They want hard data during the application and implementation stages.
  6. Advancing equity is critical, too.
  7. This funding is for
    1. Permanent Housing (both PSH and RRH)
    2. Joint TH and PH-RRH
    3. Supportive Service Only
      1. Coordinated Entry
      2. Street Outreach
      3. Standalone
    4. HMIS
    5. CoC Planning (this is ranked)
  8. Project applications must demonstrate a tie to the CoC Plan.

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.

 

Here is where you can find The Way Home resource.  

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