The Fayetteville-Cumberland County Continuum of Care (CoC) began in 1996, as the Cumberland County Continuum of Care Planning Council. The mission of the Council was to facilitate the coordination of the community’s human services agencies in addressing the needs of the homeless individuals in Cumberland County.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) process was developed in 1994, so that communities around the country would use a single, comprehensive planning process when applying for HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Funding, the primary source of funding targeted to meet the needs of homeless persons and families. Over the years, the CoC has evolved beginning with the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009. The HEARTH Act amended and reauthorized the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with substantial changes, including:
- A consolidation of HUD’s competitive grant programs (Combined SHP, SPC, and SRO to form the Continuum of Care Program)
- The creation of a Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program
- A change in HUD’s definition of homelessness and chronic homelessness
- A simplified match requirement
- An increase in prevention resources
- An increase in emphasis on performance
The Continuum’s goal is to create an annual plan to address homelessness in a given community that includes defining the scope of homelessness, develop an inventory of resources currently, and identify gaps in services and then prioritize unmet needs.
Participation in the Continuum of Care is one of the only ways for advocates to push for their community to receive federal funding for housing and supportive services targeted to people experiencing homelessness.
Over the years, CoC membership grew to include representatives from private for-profit and non-profit businesses and public agencies. Throughout the years, several programs were submitted for funding through HUD’s Supportive Housing Program / Continuum of Care Program.