Anchorage Continuum of Care
A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. CoCs represent communities of all kinds, including major cities, suburbs and rural areas.
In 1995, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) began to require communities to submit a single application for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in order to streamline the funding application process, encourage coordination of housing and service providers on a local level, and promote the development of CoCs. By requiring communities to submit a single application, HUD hoped to encourage a more structural and strategic approach to both housing and providing services to homeless people. A CoC would provide this more strategic system by providing homeless people with housing and services appropriate to their range of needs.
According to HUD, a CoC is “a community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximize self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.” HUD identifies four necessary parts of a continuum:
- Outreach, intake, and assessment in order to identify service and housing needs and provide a link to the appropriate level of both;
- Emergency shelter to provide an immediate and safe alternative to sleeping on the streets, especially for homeless families with children;
- Transitional housing with supportive services to allow for the development of skills that will be needed once permanently housed; and
- Permanent and permanent supportive housing to provide individuals and families with an affordable place to live with services if needed.
For more information regarding the CoC process, please visit the HUD website.
The concept of a “Continuum of Care” seeks to address all aspects of homelessness including the needs of all of the homeless sub-populations, and uses a collaborative approach resulting in a set of goals that are shared by a broad range of participants in the community. A fully developed Continuum of Care system includes five fundamental components: outreach and assessment; emergency shelter; transitional housing; permanent housing; and supportive services, including homeless prevention activities.
An effective Continuum of Care plan includes strategies to serve the specific needs of all the homeless subpopulations within the community and ensures that financial and other resources are used in a coordinated effort to provide the fill range of housing and service options needed to enable homeless persons to make the transition from the streets to stable work and environments and to achieve as high a level of self-sufficiency as possible.
CoC Competitions and NOFA Process
In Alaska, there are two CoC’s, Anchorage (AK-500) and Balance of State (AK-501). Details on the Alaska CoC application process can be found at the Alaska Coalition on Housing & Homelessness website.
ACEH is the lead applicant for Anchorage CoC. ACEH has created a CoC Committee to oversee the requirements of the program. This committee meets the second Monday of every month from 1:00pm to 2:30pm at the Philanthropy Hub (3201 C Street, Suite 110).
The Anchorage Continuum of Care Policies and Procedures are available for download here: Anchorage Continuum of Care Policies and Procedures