Evaluations of Continuums of Care for Homeless People: Final Report

Martha R. Burt, Dave Pollack, Abby Sosland, Kelly S. Mikelson, Elizabeth Drapa, Kristy Greenwalt, Patrick T. Sharkey

May 2002

A Continuum of Care is a local or regional system for helping people who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness by providing housing and services appropriate to the whole range of homeless needs in the community, from homeless prevention to emergency shelter to permanent housing. In 2000, HUD contracted with the Urban Institute to conduct an assessment of the Continuum of Care approach. Twenty-five Continuums of Care from all regions of the country were examined on numerous dimensions of a comprehensive approach to homelessness prevention and remediation. This study sought to answer several questions about the ways in which local communities are organized to address homelessness:  What do local homeless assistance networks look like, how do they work, and whom do they serve?  How well are homeless and mainstream services integrated?  What role does data play in the planning process and in decisions about what to support? How has the HUD requirement for a coordinated community-wide application affected development of CoCs? The report concludes that HUD's implementation of the Continuum of Care funding process stimulated increased communication within local communities in their response to homelessness. Respondents generally agreed that more people received more services and participated in more and better-coordinated programs as a consequence of the Continuum of Care approach.

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