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Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

Continuum of Care

From the Introductory Guide to the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, available at https://www.onecpd.info/resource/2036/introductory-guide-to-the-coc-program.

A Continuum of Care (CoC) is the group of representatives that takes on the coordination of homeless services and homelessness prevention activities across a specified geographic area and that implements community-wide, coordinated efforts for assessing and addressing the housing and service needs of individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Each CoC must establish a board to act on its behalf and must develop a governance charter. CoC Boards must include at least one homeless or formerly homeless individual and must represent the relevant organizations and projects serving homeless subpopulations (such as persons with substance use disorders; persons with HIV/AIDS; veterans; the chronically homeless; families with children; unaccompanied youth; the seriously mentally ill; and victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking) within the CoC’s geographic area.

A CoC’s three primary responsibilities under the CoC Program interim rule include the following:

  1. Operating the CoC
  2. Designating and operating an HMIS
  3. CoC planning

Operating a CoC

To operate successfully, a CoC must fulfill the following responsibilities specified in the CoC Program interim rule:

  • Conduct semi-annual meetings of the full membership
  • Issue a public invitation for new members, at least annually
  • Adopt and follow a written process to select a board
  • Appoint additional committees, subcommittees, or work groups
  • Develop and follow a governance charter detailing the responsibilities of all parties
  • Consult with recipients and subrecipients to establish performance targets appropriate for population and program type, monitor the performance of recipients and subrecipients, evaluate outcomes, and take action against poor performers
  • Evaluate and report to HUD outcomes of ESG and CoC projects
  • Establish and operate a centralized or coordinated assessment system
  • Establish and follow written standards for providing CoC assistance

Designating and Operating a Homeless Management Information System

The CoC must:

  • Designate a single HMIS
  • Select an eligible applicant to manage the CoC’s HMIS
  • Monitor recipient and subrecipient participation in the HMIS
  • Review and approve privacy, security, and data quality plans

CoC Planning

With respect to planning responsibilities, the CoC must:

  • Coordinate the implementation of a housing and service system within its geographic area
  • Conduct a Point-in-Time count of homeless persons, at least biennially
  • Conduct an annual gaps analysis
  • Provide information required to complete the Consolidated Plan(s)
  • Consult with ESG recipients regarding the allocation of ESG funds and the evaluation of the performance of ESG recipients and subrecipients

CoC Lead Agencies and HMIS Lead Agencies (PDF)

Continuum of Care Locator (www.thn.org/continuums)

Point-In-Time (PIT) Counts

For Texas PIT Count data, the Texas Homeless Network (THN) compiles data from all Continuums of Care (CoCs) in Texas. From their report, Texans Experiencing Homelessness:

At the end of January each year, rural and urban areas of Texas conduct a Point-in-Time Count to capture the number of Texans considered homeless at that specific point in time. Based on results from the 2012 count, 34,208 Texans considered “homeless” were physically counted.

Since it is impossible to count every person who stays in more remote areas, or lives doubled-up with friends or other places not meant for habitation, Texas Homeless Network estimates that there are actually closer to 80,000 Texans experiencing homelessness on any given day and 265,000 Texans experiencing homelessness over the course of a year.

For more information about Point-In-Time counts, including the 2013 focus on counting homeless youth, explore these Web pages: