Services in the CoC Program: Assessing Value and Finding Funding Alternatives

Many communities use funding from HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Program to pay for supportive services for people experiencing homelessness.  These services can be provided to people currently experiencing homelessness who are residing on the streets, in shelters, or transitional housing or to people receiving services as part of permanent housing models, such as permanent supportive housing or rapid re-housing programs. 

Using CoC Program funds to pay for these services is permitted.  In fact, the CoC Program interim rule defines 17 categories of supportive services that are eligible costs under the CoC Program.  At the same time, using CoC Program funding to pay for supportive service costs may not always be the most strategic way to use these funds. This is for two primary reasons:

The CoC Program remains one of the only Federal programs that can fund permanent housing specifically for people experiencing homelessness. As evidence shows that permanent housing models, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing are the most effective interventions for ending homelessness, CoCs and project recipients should use CoC Program funds to pay for the costs associated with providing housing which are not funded through other sources.

Many services that are essential to ending homelessness may also be financed through mainstream programs, including programs administered or overseen by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

This tool is intended to help CoCs and recipients of CoC Program funding make strategic decisions regarding the use of CoC Program funds for supportive services. This tool can help CoCs: 

  • Make assessments about whether or not services are contributing to efforts to end homelessness.
  • Learn which types of CoC Program-eligible supportive services are most likely to have mainstream HHS-funded programs as an alternative source.