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Massachusetts Continuum of Care Policy Brief

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care (CoC) program competitively funds CoCs to impact homelessness at the local level.  In 2015, HUD nationally awarded almost $2 billion for housing and services for individuals and families experiencing homelessness including those who were chronically homeless, disabled veterans, and unaccompanied youth.

HUD funds 16 Massachusetts CoC grantees which collectively created 4,578 units of permanent housing and other supports in 2015.  In June 2016, each Massachusetts CoC contributed to the creation of the Policy Brief “Ending Homelessness, Improving Efficiency: Simple Fixes to the HUD CoC Program” by creating a statewide picture of the scope of CoC activity and the impact of recent funding cuts. The policy brief is a collaboratively written and endorsed set of recommendations by Massachusetts CoC network to improve the administration of the CoC program and the competitive funding process.  It provides the basic facts of Massachusetts HUD funded CoCs, specific challenges created by the substantial administrative burden of the application process, and six clear and achievable solutions.

The local CoC is the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness, a broad-based public-private partnership committed to identifying and implementing creative solutions to preventing and ending homelessness on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.  The collaborative effort of state, county and local government, social service providers, housing agencies, faith-based organizations, the business community and individuals is convened by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services.  In March 2016, the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness received $1,682,047 million dollars in HUD CoC funding to support twelve renewals programs that provide housing to over 140 formerly homeless individuals. The region also received HUD grants to support CoC Planning and the Homeless Information Management System (HMIS).  The 2016 award was a 12% increase over the previous year’s CoC funding.