HOMELESS PREVENTION & RESPONSE SYSTEM (HPRS)

Overview of the Continuum of Care

In Alaska, there are two CoC’s, Anchorage (AK-500) and Balance of State (AK-501). A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. CoCs represent communities of all kinds, including major cities, suburbs and rural areas.
According to HUD, a CoC is “a community plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximize self-sufficiency. It includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.” HUD identifies four necessary parts of a continuum:
  • Outreach, intake, and assessment in order to identify service and housing needs and provide a link to the appropriate level of both
  • Emergency shelter to provide an immediate and safe alternative to sleeping on the streets, especially for homeless families with children
  • Transitional housing with supportive services to allow for the development of skills that will be needed once permanently housed
  • Permanent and permanent supportive housing to provide individuals and families with an affordable place to live with services if needed.
The concept of a “Continuum of Care” seeks to address all aspects of homelessness including the needs of all of the homeless sub-populations, and uses a collaborative approach resulting in a set of goals that are shared by a broad range of participants in the community. A fully developed Continuum of Care system includes five fundamental components: outreach and assessment; emergency shelter; transitional housing; permanent housing; and supportive services, including homeless prevention activities.
An effective Continuum of Care plan includes strategies to serve the specific needs of all the homeless subpopulations within the community and ensures that financial and other resources are used in a coordinated effort to provide the fill range of housing and service options needed to enable homeless persons to make the transition from the streets to stable work and environments and to achieve as high a level of self-sufficiency as possible.
For more information on the Anchorage CoC please contact the Program and Grants Manager.