Resources for CoCs: Helping to Drive Progress in Local Communities

United States Interagency Council on Homelessness - No on should experience homelessness. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home.

May 12, 2015

Resources for CoCs: Helping to Drive Progress in Local Communities
A message by Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of USICH

USICH and our partner Federal agencies know how hard communities, and their Continuums of Care, are working to build the most effective and efficient systems for ending homelessness and to use Federal resources in support of the strongest practices and strategies. We also know that sometimes it is not humanly possible to read, review, or use every tool and resource that comes across your desk or flows through your inboxes. We also realize that the Continuum of Care Competition presents a unique opportunity - a time of competing demands and pressures, but also a time when making critical strategic decisions is most important. We want to support you to make those important decisions and to continue to enhance and strengthen your systems by helping you zero in on some of the tools and information that can be especially useful to you.

We're hoping that these resources, designed to provide you with organized, easy-to-access messages, documents, and tools, will help you strike a better balance between those competing demands and can help you shape your local conversations and decision-making processes. This compilation focuses on materials from USICH and our Federal partners - but we know that there are many other great tools and guides from national organizations and other sources. Please seek those out as well. We hope you use these tools to support - and help drive - the changes and progress you're aiming for in your communities.

CoC Resources
Designed to help communities prepare for the 2015 CoC Competition

On Tuesday, April 28, HUD released the FY 2015 CoC Program Registration Notice. The registration notice provides communities with the information needed to register and prepare for the upcoming competition and includes information on the registration process, HUD's policy priorities, and considerations for CoC Program implementation. Through the competition, CoCs will be evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate that they are advancing both HUD's Strategic Plan goals as well as the goals and objectives of Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. Registration for the CoC Competition will close on Monday, May 18.

How to Use the CoC Resources 
In the registration notice, HUD outlines six policy and program priorities: 1) strategic resource allocation, 2) ending chronic homelessness, 3) ending family homelessness, 4) ending youth homelessness, 5) ending Veteran homelessness, and 6) using a Housing First approach. USICH's list of resources provides tools that will assist communities in planning and implementation as it relates to each priority area. 

1) Strategic Resource Allocation
Below are resources that will help CoCs make strategic decisions about how best to use all available resources to end homelessness within their community: 

Creating Effective Systems to End Homelessness: A Guide to Reallocating Funds in the CoC Program provides CoCs and recipients of CoC Program funds with information on reallocation and strategies for undertaking reallocations through the annual CoC Competition.

Services in the CoC Program: Assessing Value and Finding Funding Alternatives is intended to help CoCs and recipients of CoC funding make strategic decisions about the use of CoC Program funds for supportive services. The tool can help CoCs make assessments about whether or not services are contributing to efforts to end homelessness and learn which types of CoC Program-eligible supportive services are most likely to have mainstream HHS-funded programs as an alternative source.

PHA Guidebook to Ending Homelessness provides guidance and best practices that Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) can use to strengthen their collaborative efforts locally to support their community's efforts to prevent and end homelessness.

HUD's CoC and PHA Collaboration: Strategies for CoCs to Start the Partnership Conversation is a tool that provides CoCs with strategies and tips for starting or improving partnership conversations and engaging with their local PHAs in collaborative planning activities.

Role of Long-Term, Congregate Transitional Housing in Ending Homelessness is a resource that will help communities assess the role of long-term, congregate transitional housing within their broader program portfolio. 

2) Ending Chronic Homelessness
Below are resources that will help CoCs determine the right set of strategies for ending chronic homelessness in 2017:

Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (SHOP) Tool helps communities identify the specific set of strategies, such as increasing the prioritization of existing turnover units and creating new supportive housing, needed to achieve the goal in 2017 or earlier.

HUD's Notice on Prioritizing Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Other Vulnerable Persons in Permanent Supportive Housing and accompanying FAQs is intended to help communities target permanent supportive housing for people experiencing chronic homelessness with the highest needs and greatest barriers towards obtaining and maintaining housing.

HHS's A Primer on Using Medicaid for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Tenants in Permanent Supportive Housing provides a "how-to" guide on the various ways that Medicaid can cover services in permanent supportive housing, including the Medicaid authorities and new options provided under the Affordable Care Act.

3) Ending Family Homelessness
Below are resources that will assist CoCs with developing systems for ending homelessness among families and children in 2020:

Family Connection: Building Systems to End Family Homelessness is a resource designed to help communities and stakeholders build and implement an effective housing crisis response system for families. The document outlines the Federal vision of an end to homelessness among families and identifies key areas of action needed to reach that vision.

The Core Components of Rapid Re-Housing helps communities design and implement rapid re-housing programs that are equipped to provide housing identification services, rent and move-in assistance, and case management and services. 

4) Ending Youth Homelessness
Below are resources that will help CoCs develop systems that take into account the unique strengths and needs of youth experiencing homelessness in order to end youth homelessness in 2020:

Framework to End Youth Homelessness calls on agencies and systems at all levels to work together to get to better youth outcomes in stable housing, permanent connections, education and employment, and well-being. To reach these outcomes, the framework outlines a two-pronged approach: improving data quality and collection on youth experiencing homelessness and building capacity for service delivery.

Preliminary Intervention Model Webinar provides an overview of the Framework to End Youth Homelessness' Preliminary Intervention Model, which is designed to help communities identify the systems and capacity necessary to meet the needs of all youth experiencing homelessness. 

5) Ending Veteran Homelessness
Ending Veteran homelessness is within reach for many communities. Below are resources that will help communities achieve an end to Veteran homelessness in 2015:

10 Strategies to End Veteran Homelessness is a tool developed to help communities increase leadership, collaboration, and coordination among programs serving Veterans experiencing homelessness, and promoting rapid access to permanent housing for all Veterans.

Guide to Identifying and Referring Veterans Experiencing Homelessness is a guide that provides useful information for homeless service organizations, shelter providers, and other community partners on how to connect Veterans experiencing or at-risk of homelessness to appropriate housing and services. 

6) Using a Housing First Approach
Below are tools that will help communities implement a Housing First approach in each program and system-wide:
The Housing First Checklist: A Practical Tool for Assessing Housing First in Practice is a user-friendly tool intended to help communities make a basic assessment of whether a particular program is employing a Housing First approach.

Implementing Housing First in Permanent Supportive Housing is a tool developed by USICH in conjunction with SAMHSA that is designed to help communities implement permanent supportive housing using a Housing First approach.

HUD's Coordinated Entry Policy Brief is a resource meant to inform local efforts to develop coordinated entry processes locally. Coordinated entry systems are a key piece of the local response to homelessness and should be implemented using a Housing First approach.

Additional Resources for CoCs

We've created a resource page on our website that will be updated as existing resources are modified and as new resources are created.  Between now and the time that the CoC Competition closes, USICH will be providing additional information and resources to help communities use the opportunity of the CoC Competition to help drive strategic decisions and progress.

Register for the SHOP Tool Webinar

To help communities set a path to end chronic homelessness locally, USICH recently released the Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (SHOP) Tool. The SHOP Tool helps communities identify the specific set of strategies needed to achieve the goal on ending chronic homelessness in 2017 or earlier. Specifically, the tool allows communities to set different targets for prioritization and creation of new permanent supportive housing units for people experiencing chronic homelessness, and assess the impact of those targets on the projected number of people experiencing chronic homelessness each year until 2017.

To support the use of the tool, we're hosting a webinar on May 26, 1 - 2:15 PM ET. The USICH team will be joined by community presenters who will talk about their plans for implementing the SHOP Tool. 

Quick Links

1) Strategic Resource Allocation

2) Ending Chronic Homelessness

3) Ending Family Homelessness

4) Ending Youth Homelessness

5) Ending Veteran Homelessness

6) Using a Housing First Approach

Upcoming Events

CoC Program Registration Closes

May 18, 2015; 7:59:59 PM, ET
Learn More 

USICH Webinar: The Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Shelters
May 21, 2015; 2:30 -3:30 PM, ET

USICH Webinar: Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner Tool: Setting a Path to End Chronic Homelessness Locally
May 26, 2015; 1:00 - 2:15 PM, ET

National Conference on Ending Homelessness 
July 15 - 17, 2015; Washington, DC

See Additional Events on our website

USICH is Hiring!

Join our National Initiatives team. We are currently accepting applications for a Director of National Initiatives and a Regional Coordinator. Both positions serve as a bridge between the work of the Council, the nation's governmental leaders, and communities across the U.S. Click each job description for full details and instructions on how to apply.

Regional Coordinator


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