A chart showing the number of people experiencing homelessness in California and the United States in 2019. Those experiencing homelessness may be sheltered or unsheltered. Sheltered individuals and families are those residing in emergency shelters or temporary housing. Unsheltered individuals and families are those whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private place not ordinarily used for sleeping, such as a car, park, abandoned building, bus or train station, or campground. In 2019 California had 43,000 sheltered individuals or families and 108,000 unsheltered individuals. The United States had 356,000 sheltered individuals and 211,000 unsheltered individuals.
An organizational chart that shows that CoCs establish a board to act on the CoC’s behalf. This board oversees the collaborative applicant, which a CoC designates to apply for HUD funds on the CoC’s behalf. The CoCs we reviewed designated county agencies as the collaborative applicant. The CoC board also oversees an HMIS lead, which a CoC designates to manage training and to monitor data quality and data standards through the CoC’s HMIS. The CoC would oversee any workgroups or subcommittees that a CoC may establish to carry out its other responsibilities such as for ranking and reviewing applications for funding. Finally, a CoC has CoC members that consist of relevant organizations, including homeless service providers, who may attend CoC meetings and cast votes on CoC decisions.
The graphic shows that CoCs are responsible for four primary areas. The first is to assess the needs of those experiencing homelessness by maintaining a coordinated entry process and ensuring that service providers that receive certain federal funds from HUD participate in this process. The second is to review and rank funding applications. A CoC must design and operate a collaborative process to develop, approve, and submit service providers’ applications for CoC Program funding to HUD. Third area of responsibility is to conduct a PIT count. A CoC must biannually identify all unsheltered people who experience homelessness and annually identify those experiencing homelessness who are in a shelter or housing. Finally, a CoC is responsible for maintaining HMIS. A CoC must use a single database system to record client-level and service-level data about individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in a CoC’s geographic area.
The map of California shows the geographic areas of the Mendocino, Fresno-Madera, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Clara CoCs. The graphic also shows that Fresno-Madera CoC had 2,508 persons experiencing homelessness and received $10,663,000 in homeless funding awards in 2019. Mendocino CoC had 785 persons experiencing homelessness and received $1,635,000 in homeless funding awards in 2019. Riverside CoC had 2,811 persons experiencing homelessness and received $10,281,000 in homeless funding awards in 2019. Santa Barbara CoC had 1,803 persons experiencing homelessness and received $2,014,000 in homeless funding awards in 2019. Finally, Santa Clara CoC had 9,706 persons experiencing homelessness and received $29,506,000 in homeless funding awards in 2019.
The flow chart shows that individuals gain access to a CoC’s coordinated entry process through designated physical locations, such as homeless service providers; homeless outreach teams, who contact people on the street or in the community; or through remote access points, such as a telephone hotline. Next, trained service provider staff identify a person’s immediate needs and, if their homelessness in not resolved, conduct a comprehensive assessment of a person’s long-term needs, preferences, and vulnerabilities, such as health concerns. Staff who conduct assessments place people on a prioritization list for services. Finally, staff refer individuals to services including housing, shelter, and support services, such as substance abuse treatment, mental health services, employment services, and meal assistance.
The flow chart begins with the CoC recruiting neutral CoC members or local experts to serve on its review-and-rank committee. The homeless service providers submit an application for funding for a project they administer. The committee reviews the submitted documentation and develops preliminary scores using specific scoring criteria that the CoC established. The committee meets to discuss the projects and proposes a ranked list. The committee releases the results to the applicants, which homeless service provider applicants have an opportunity to appeal. If the committee’s decision is appealed, a separate panel will hold an appellate hearing, which results in a final determination. Then the CoC board reviews and approves the final ranked list. The CoC collaborative applicant submits the final ranked list to HUD. Finally, HUD reviews the submitted applications and makes final award determinations.
The chart shows four primary areas for which a CoC is responsible: assessing and prioritizing the needs of those experiencing homelessness; reviewing and ranking applications for federal funding; conducting a point-in-time count; and maintaining an HMIS. The chart also describes the requirements, methodology, and benefits under each of these four areas. A CoC must work with its service providers to maintain a coordinated entry process and must ensure that service providers that receive federal funds from HUD participate in the coordinated entry process. The coordinated entry process must be available throughout a CoC’s geographic area and must be easily accessed by individuals seeking housing or homeless services. Further, trained staff must use a standardized tool to assess individuals’ situations to determine their housing needs, preferences, and vulnerabilities, and to identify any barriers to obtaining housing. Staff must refer individuals to available housing resources and services using the CoC’s prioritization guidelines and enroll them into housing or services as they become available. The coordinated entry process enables a CoC to help its network of service providers prioritize people who are in the most need of homelessness assistance and fosters coordination and collaboration among service providers. As part of its responsibility to review and rank applications, a CoC must design, operate, and follow a collaborative process for the development, approval, and submission of service providers’ applications for CoC Program funding to HUD. After HUD posts a notice of funding availability for the CoC Program funds, service providers within each CoC submit applications seeking funding for new or existing projects. The CoC prepares a proposed list of projects that it ranks based on its priorities. The CoC’s collaborative applicant submits the list to HUD, which awards funds to projects. HUD will then announce the awards and notify selected applicants, who then must submit performance data and information about the clients the projects serve into the CoC's HMIS. This process ensures that CoCs communicate their funding priorities to HUD. As part of its responsibility to conduct a point-in-time count, a CoC must at least biannually identify the total number and demographics of all unsheltered people who experience homelessness and must annually identify the total number and demographics of all people experiencing homelessness who are in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive housing for people with mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. CoCs may choose the methodology for conducting their PIT counts as long as that methodology is consistent with HUD standards and guidance. Conducting PIT count informs national priorities and HUD funding decisions; allows CoCs to manage and plan for services they provide; and raises public awareness and bolster efforts to obtain public and private support. Lastly, as part of its responsibility to maintain an HMIS, a CoC must use a single database—known as an HMIS—to record and analyze client information, services, and housing data for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in its geographic area. CoCs may use third-party software for their HMIS. All service providers that receive certain federal and state funds must report specified data into their CoC’s HMIS. HUD recommends that CoCs monitor the quality of the data that service providers enter. HMIS allows CoCs to review performance for their entire geographic area and for individual projects and allows CoCs to report annually to HUD on their performance outcomes. It also allows HUD to determine funding awards for the CoCs and to gauge the state of the homeless response system nationally. Finally, it informs homeless policy and decision making at the federal, state, and local levels.