Working toward ending homelessness in the Big Bend of Florida
Who We Are
What is a CoC?
A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.
HUD mandates that a Continuum of Care is responsible for:
- Promoting community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness;
- Providing funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness;
- Promoting access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
The Continuum of Care is a framework and approach used by governments, organizations, and communities to address and manage homelessness. It emphasizes collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders to provide a comprehensive and coordinated range of services and support for individuals experiencing homelessness. Here’s a basic overview of the facets and functions of a Homelessness Continuum of Care:
Understanding Homelessness: Homelessness is a complex issue with many contributing factors, such as housing affordability, economic challenges, mental health issues, substance abuse, and systemic issues. Recognizing the diverse causes is essential to developing effective solutions.
Continuum of Care (CoC): The Continuum of Care is a local or regional planning body that brings together organizations and agencies working to address homelessness within a specific geographic area. It is often a partnership of nonprofits, government agencies, homeless service providers, faith-based organizations, and community members.
Coordinated Entry: Coordinated Entry is a standardized process for individuals experiencing homelessness to access the appropriate services and housing options based on their specific needs. It involves assessing individuals’ needs and vulnerabilities to prioritize assistance and allocate resources more efficiently.
Emergency Shelter: Emergency shelters provide temporary housing and basic services to people experiencing homelessness. These facilities offer a safe place to sleep, access to food and hygiene facilities, and connections to other support services.
Transitional Housing: Transitional housing offers temporary housing and supportive services to help individuals or families transition from homelessness to permanent housing. It typically provides more extended stays than emergency shelters and focuses on addressing the root causes of homelessness.
Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): Permanent Supportive Housing is a long-term solution for individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, particularly those with disabilities or mental health challenges. It combines affordable housing with supportive services such as case management, mental health counseling, and substance abuse treatment.
Rapid Rehousing: Rapid Rehousing is designed to quickly move individuals or families experiencing homelessness into stable, permanent housing. It offers short-term financial assistance and supportive services to help individuals regain stability.
Prevention Services: Prevention services aim to help individuals and families at risk of homelessness maintain their current housing situations. This could involve financial assistance, mediation, or legal support to prevent evictions and housing instability.
Outreach and Engagement: Street Outreach teams actively seek out and engage individuals experiencing homelessness to offer support, assess their needs, and connect them with appropriate services.
Data Collection and Evaluation: Accurate and comprehensive data collection is essential to understanding the scope of homelessness, measuring the effectiveness of interventions, and making informed decisions for improvement.
Advocacy and Public Awareness: Raising public awareness and advocating for policy changes and funding to support homelessness programs are crucial to addressing homelessness at a systemic level.
The Continuum of Care operates on the principle of Housing First, which prioritizes providing stable housing as quickly as possible, followed by supportive services to address underlying issues. The approach is grounded in the belief that housing is a fundamental human right and that addressing homelessness requires a coordinated, multi-faceted effort.
Who is the Big Bend CoC?
The Big Bend Continuum of Care is a membership planning and oversight body for the eight-county region of the Big Bend of Florida. The eight counties are Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla.
At Big Bend CoC, we are committed to making a positive difference in the lives of those experiencing homelessness.
Our Continuum of Care is a comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing homelessness. It is designed to strategize with our community partners to provide individuals with a seamless range of services and support to help them transition from homelessness to stable housing and self-sufficiency.
We understand that homelessness is a complex issue that requires more than just temporary solutions. Our Continuum of Care focuses on a long-term perspective, aiming to break the cycle of homelessness by offering a variety of interventions and assistance tailored to each individual’s unique needs.
From immediate shelter and basic necessities to case management, healthcare, mental health services, and employment support, our Continuum of Care covers every aspect of a person’s journey towards housing stability. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to provide guidance, encouragement, and compassion every step of the way.
By embracing a holistic and person-centered approach, we strive to empower individuals experiencing homelessness to regain control of their lives and build a sustainable future. With the support of our community, partners, and volunteers, we work tirelessly to address the root causes of homelessness and foster lasting change.
Our mission is to address homelessness through a proactive and integrated approach using our Homelessness Continuum of Care. We are dedicated to providing individuals experiencing homelessness with a comprehensive range of services and support, guiding them towards stable housing and self-sufficiency.
We acknowledge the complexity of homelessness and its impact on individuals and communities. Our Homelessness Continuum of Care includes a diverse array of interventions tailored to meet the distinct needs of each person we serve.
With a focus on long-term solutions, we aim to break the cycle of homelessness by addressing its root causes and collaborating with community partners, stakeholders, and government agencies. Our team of professionals and volunteers work diligently to provide immediate shelter and resources, as well as case management, healthcare, mental health services, and employment support.
We approach each individual with dignity, respect, and empathy, fostering an environment of trust and empowerment. Stable housing is at the core of our efforts, as we believe it is a fundamental human right and the foundation for building prosperous lives.
Through dedication, innovation, and collaborative efforts, we strive to create lasting change and positively impact the lives of those affected by homelessness. By engaging the community and raising awareness, we aim to eliminate the stigma surrounding homelessness and advocate for systemic solutions.
At Big Bend CoC, we envision a future where homelessness is minimized, and every person has access to safe and secure housing. Our mission is to walk alongside those in need, providing support as they work towards reclaiming their lives and rebuilding their future.
Our Guiding Principles
Big Bend Continuum of Care has the following guiding principles.
1. Quality– Ending homelessness in the eight-county region of the CoC utilizing accurate and meaningful data to set priorities, high-quality best practices, and evidence-based interventions.
2. Efficiency– To provide area agencies, clients, and the community simple, well organized, and transparent tools and processes for needs assessment, planning, prioritizing, performance measures, and rules of governance.
3. Fiscal Stewardship – To do the most good with the least amount of resources with the majority of dollars being spent on direct client care and the expansion of housing resources.
4. Data-Driven Strategic Planning – Creating the vision for how we will end homelessness in our region, utilizing data from HMIS, Coordinated Entry, Needs Assessment and Planning committee, our Continuum’s Housing Assistance Program (H.A.P.), Point in Time Count, Housing Inventory Chart, Annual Homeless Assessment Report, Annual Performance Report, and Data Quality Monitoring Reports, as well as feedback from agencies, clients, and the community.
5. Accuracy – The commitment to reporting and maintaining Real Time Data. All entities are committed to oversight and cleanup of data in HMIS monthly to ensure that community decisions are being made based on accurate reflection of needs and resources.
6. Spirit of Collaboration – CoC staff, the CoC Board, and area agencies will work collaboratively to promote the success of the CoC. This includes:
a. Developing and promoting clear roles and responsibilities of CoC staff, the CoC Board and Committees, and area agencies
b. Educating the community in a fair and consistent manner about new funding opportunities, grant timelines, current needs of the CoC, developments in Coordinated Entry and HMIS, as well as performance targets appropriate for population and program type.
c. Writing grant applications collaboratively with applicants and renewing agencies.
d. Establishing community priorities and community performance targets.
e. Developing fair and consistent procedures and tools for prioritizing new projects. All tools exhibiting reliability and validity.
f. Development of fair and consistent procedures and tools for monitoring the performance of area renewal projects and the CoC as a whole. All tools exhibiting validity and reliability. All monitoring of performance and expenditures being completed quarterly, and results being transparent.
g. Monthly meetings between CoC staff and provider agencies taking place to address issues of performance and expenditure. Collaborative solutions are sought to resolve issues and meet targets.