Continuums of Care (CoCs) are one of the most important—but poorly understood—elements of our homeless service system. Intended to be robust networks where local stakeholders come together to better manage homeless services in any given region, they vary widely in regards to their capacity to do that.
To learn more about what challenges CoCs face in their work, as well as what innovative practices were in place, in 2017-18 we carried out an in-depth study of 18 CoCs that varied in regard to size, region, and structure. This was a follow up to a national survey that we carried out in 2014. We interviewed over 150 coordinators and members in order to learn about what facilitates and what hinders the efforts of CoCs to best serve consumers—people who utilize homeless services—and make progress toward the goal of ending homelessness.
In this report, we share 10 major findings from our study that reflect common concerns and some innovative solutions to these concerns generated by CoC participants themselves. We group these concerns under three areas: mission-critical work, engaging stakeholders in decision-making, and network structure.