What is our goal?
The Jackson County Continuum of Care (CoC) is a HUD-mandated, community-wide effort to end homelessness by providing stable housing for those experiencing homelessness and offering preventative services to those at risk of becoming homeless. The Jackson County CoC seeks to end homelessness in Jackson County through the collaborative efforts and resources of all sectors of our community.
“In 2018, 109 community entities actively participated in the CoC’s workgroups and programs.”
The CoC’s work is carried out through our Board, 12 workgroups and a collaboration of 18 non-profit agencies and community partners who utilize the Homeless Management Information System. Community engagement is key to our work. In 2018, 109 community entities actively participated in the CoC’s workgroups and programs.
Overview of Our Work
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. 18 partnering agencies in the Jackson County CoC provide trauma-informed intake and risk assessments and place persons on the centralized interest list of housing.·
Emergency shelter to provide an immediate and safe alternative to sleeping on the streets, especially for homeless families with children. Currently, in Jackson County two seasonal emergency shelters operate during the winter months and a year-round shelter will become operational in the fall of 2019.·
Transitional housing with supportive services to allow for the development of skills that will be needed once permanently housed. Several agencies and housing providers partner with the CoC to provide transitional housing.·
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) to provide individuals and families with an affordable place to live along with any support services that are needed.
Permanent Housing – Several agencies and housing providers also partner with the CoC to provide permanent housing. Unlike transitional housing, permanent housing does not have occupancy time limits.
Point in Time (PIT) and Housing Inventory Counts (HIC) – While CoCs are required to conduct a biannual survey of those experiencing homelessness on a given date during the last 10 days of January, our community has decided to come together annually to survey and count each person experiencing homelessness. This count, known as the Point in Time Count (PIT), provides data which is crucial to understanding the scope of homelessness, and helps service providers and other community organizations to bridge gaps to services, target resources, and improve policies. In 2019, our CoC utilized GIS for the first time through a smartphone app to collect demographic information and answers to local questions.
CoCs also conduct an annual enumeration of emergency systems, transitional housing units, and beds that make up the homeless assistance systems, which is known as the Housing Inventory Count (HIC). These counts provide an overview of the state of homelessness in Jackson County, and offer the information necessary to redirect services, funding, and resources as necessary. The CoC also manages these services, offering both prevention strategies and homeless assistance programs to assist those at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.