The Continuum of Care (CoC) is the City of Philadelphia’s homeless assistance system. The CoC works to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring.
How the CoC works
The federal Continuum of Care program provides funding to nonprofits and state and local governments that are working to end homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) runs this program.
To promote community-wide involvement in planning for these funds, HUD requires that funded areas create planning bodies. These planning bodies are called Continuums of Care (CoC).
Philadelphia’s CoC identifies and addresses local needs for housing and related services. Their work includes:
- Conducting street outreach, engagement, and assessments
- Planning for shelter, housing, and supportive services
- Creating prevention strategies.
The CoC is staffed by the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and governed by an 18-member board. It also includes a diverse network of:
- Homeless and housing service providers
- Physical and behavioral health providers
- Community institutions
- Governmental entities
- Dedicated individuals.
All groups and individuals working to end homelessness are invited to become members of the CoC.
The CoC must submit a joint application to HUD for program funding. This funding supports homeless assistance projects, including:
- Permanent supportive housing (PSH) for people with disabilities
- Rapid rehousing and transitional housing
- Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) operation
- CoC planning activities.
For this application, CoC must design a local funding competition and a project ranking strategy.
The CoC also organizes competitions for other federal, state, and local homelessness grants.
Each winter, the CoC does a point-in-time (PIT) count of people experiencing homelessness.
The CoC keeps an inventory of permanent and transitional housing slots, or beds, to help identify gaps in the system.
The CoC is also responsible for the Coordinated Entry and Assessment-Based Referral System (CEA-BHRS). This system links people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to resources, including housing.
Policies and standards
The CoC follows established policies and standards.