The term “Continuum of Care” comes from the health care industry. It is used to describe the type of services required by people needing a variety of services over a long period of time, such as people suffering from cancer. For people suffering from homelessness, the Continuum of Care would include getting a homeless person into a Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) apartment, making sure they have food and other necessities, and then arranging services for them such as addiction rehabilitation, mental health therapy, employment, etc., leading up to the point of self sufficiency. Often you’ll hear this referred to as “wrap-around services”. I have also heard mention of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see the above image) as the impetus of this approach. Basically, each human need requires a foundation of other needs already met, starting with physical needs, achieving those, and then moving up the list, one level at a time. A feeling of security cannot be achieved if the physical needs have not been met. A sense of belonging cannot occur until one has achieved a level of security, etc.
In 2009 the McKinney-Vento Act was amended with the HEARTH Act. Among other improvements to the governments response to homelessness, the Hearth Act consolidated three previous HUD homeless assistance programs, repurposed them, and gave it the name, Continuum of Care Program. HUDs CoC Program is a competitive funding source for those communities that are implementing CoC strategies in dealing with homelessness. If on inspection HUD determines that a community is moving in the right direction in improving services to the homeless, HUD will award funding to help pay for these improvements. Learn more about HUD’s
Continuum of Care.
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