Working toward ending homelessness in the Big Bend of Florida

Who We Are

What is a CoC?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defines a Continuum of Care (CoC) as a regional or local planning body that coordinates housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals. It is responsible for promoting a community-wide commitment to end homelessness, providing funding to quickly rehouse homeless individuals while minimizing the trauma caused by homelessness, and promoting access to and effective use of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families. 

Additionally, HUD mandates that CoCs exist within communities as a strategy to address homelessness efficiently. There are more than 400 CoCs across the United States, each tasked with organizing and delivering housing and services tailored to the specific needs of the homeless population in their regions, ensuring that they move to stable housing and achieve maximum self-sufficiency ( (HUD Exchange).

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.

For more detailed information, you can visit the HUD’s page on the Continuum of Care Program here.


What does a CoC do?

The Continuum of Care (CoC) plays a critical role in addressing homelessness by orchestrating a comprehensive strategy that includes public education, coordination of services, funding facilitation, and technical assistance to agencies. The CoC is comprised of a diverse set of members including homelessness service agencies, state, county, and local governments, concerned citizens, individuals with lived experiences of homelessness, business leaders, philanthropic organizations, and educational institutions. This diverse membership ensures a broad range of perspectives and resources are brought to bear in tackling homelessness comprehensively.

Public Education: The CoC is instrumental in raising awareness about the complexities of homelessness and the available resources. Through educational programs and outreach, it helps the public understand the contributing factors to homelessness and the effective measures for prevention and intervention.

Coordination of Programs and Agencies: As a central coordinating body, the CoC ensures that all local homelessness programs and agencies work synergistically rather than in isolation. This coordination enhances the efficiency of services provided and ensures that best practices are shared across the network.

Funding Assistance: The CoC assists agencies in applying for, securing, and increasing funding for homelessness programs. This includes navigating federal funding streams, such as those available from HUD, and identifying other potential sources of financial support.

Technical Assistance: The CoC provides ongoing support to agencies to enhance their operational capacities. This includes training on data management systems, compliance with federal regulations, and the implementation of effective programmatic strategies.

By focusing on these key areas and leveraging the diverse expertise of its members, the CoC ensures a strategic approach to mitigating homelessness, enhancing the capacity of local agencies, and improving outcomes for individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

The Big Bend Continuum of Care

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

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.

Overview of Homelessness Programs

The Continuum of Care (CoC) employs a variety of specialized programs designed to address and prevent homelessness, each tailored to meet the diverse needs of the population it serves. Here are just a few of these critical programs:

Emergency Shelter: These facilities provide immediate, short-term shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. They offer a safe place to stay along with basic necessities like meals, hygiene facilities, and sometimes, access to healthcare services.

Transitional Housing: This program offers temporary housing solutions that bridge the gap between emergency shelter and permanent housing. It typically includes support services aimed at stability and independence, such as job training, education, and counseling.

Rapid Re-Housing (RRH): Rapid Re-Housing focuses on helping individuals and families quickly move out of homelessness and into permanent housing. The support often includes temporary financial assistance for rent and utilities, along with long-term housing stability services.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH): Designed for the most vulnerable individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, particularly those with disabilities or ongoing health issues, PSH combines long-term housing assistance with accessible support services like healthcare, mental health treatment, and substance abuse counseling.

Street Outreach: Outreach programs actively engage with homeless populations who are not already in shelter or housing. Teams provide immediate support, essential supplies, and connect individuals with necessary services, aiming to bring them into the CoC system for further assistance.

Prevention Services: These programs work to prevent homelessness before it begins by providing interventions like rent assistance, utility aid, and legal services to those at risk of losing their housing.

Each of these programs plays a pivotal role within the CoC, ensuring a seamless transition from homelessness to stability and independence. By effectively interlinking services like emergency response, medium-term help, and long-term solutions, the CoC creates a comprehensive support network that addresses the spectrum of needs faced by those experiencing homelessness.

Administration & Staff

Johnna Coleman

Executive Director

Sarah Grindle-Rollins


Lona Ford

Contracts and Finance Director

Micha Allen

Coordinated Entry Director

Eric Layton

Data & Training Director

Broderick Seabrooks

Data & Training Administrator

Jeff Kane

Landlord Liaison

Lovena Basquin

Street Outreach Coordinator

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