Continuum of Care
The Continuum of Care (CoC) began as a concept by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1994. In order to qualify for housing grants, HUD required the development of regional planning models to coordinate housing and services for homeless families and individuals. The purpose of these grants was to identify specific local needs and create paths to self-sufficiency and stable housing.
The CoC model envisions a network of service providers sharing information and resources, while also providing a range of services including: prevention, outreach to those most in need, assessment, referral, case management, supportive services, employment services, in-patient and out-patient mental health and substance abuse treatment, medical and dental care, financial assistance, legal assistance, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent and supported housing.
The Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness brings together the Manatee and Sarasota Counties Coalitions. The CoC meets regularly to share promising practices, solve problems and introduce new ideas. One very important activity entrusted to the CoC is the annual point-in-time census of homeless individuals and the corresponding survey of available emergency shelter beds, transitional housing units, and permanent housing units. This data helps the members with vital information on the needs and gaps in the system, and helps redirect services, funding and other resources as the needs of the community’s homeless populations shift.
The Manatee and Sarasota Continuum of Care has formed a Leadership Council to help direct strategic planning within the CoC.