Continuum of Care (COC)
THE CONTINUUM OF CARE (COC) is a program designed to provide permanent housing and support services to homeless individuals. The Housing Authority of Travis County (HATC) partners with Integral Care (IC) to administer the program.
COC is designed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and funded through grants awarded in HUD’s Continuum of Care process. The grant provides voucher rental assistance from HATC for a variety of housing choices, accompanied by a range of supportive services from IC and other sources. Continued funding is competitive and dependent on the availability of grant funds.
HATC’s SPC Program was established in May of 2005. Through this grant HATC provides Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), in which the participants choose their own housing and keep their rental assistance if they move in the Travis County area. HATC and its partner agencies may limit where participants live if necessary for the provision of supportive services.
HATC operates under Housing Quality Standards (HQS) detailed in Title 24 CFR 982.401. Each selected unit must pass an inspection based on HQS standards and the HATC Administrative Plan. Inspections are conducted annually to ensure units meet HQS Standards.
WHO COC HELPS
The primary target populations are homeless people who have:
- Serious mental illness and/or
- Chronic problems with alcohol, drugs or both
HOW COC HELPS
The goals of the program are to:
- Increase participants’ housing stability
- Increase participants’ skills and/or income
- Obtain greater self-sufficiency
- Elevate the participants’ quality of life
QUALIFYING FOR THE PROGRAM
To be eligible for the COC Program, a person must be both homeless and currently receiving services from IC. The primary target population is those considered chronically homeless, meaning a person who has experienced multiple, ongoing episodes of homelessness.
Once identified, IC refers qualified applicants to HATC for the issuance of a housing voucher.
The HEARTH Act, passed in May 2009, amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, and included a revised definition of homeless that applied to HUD's Homeless Assistance Programs. On December 5, 2011 HUD commenced its rulemaking process by publishing the Final Rule Defining Homeless (76 FR 75994). Subsequently, HUD adopted the same definition in its Continuum of Care Program (24 CFR S78).
As described in the preamble of the Final Rule Defining Homeless, the final rule establishes four categories of homelessness. These categories are:
- Individuals and families who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and includes a subset for an individual who is exiting an institution where he or she resided for 90 days or less and who resided in an emergency shelter or a place not meant for human habitation immediately before entering that institution;
- Individuals and families who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence;
- Unaccompanied youth and families with children and youth who are defined as homeless
under other federal statutes who do not otherwise qualify as homeless under this
- Individuals and families who are fleeing, or are attempting to flee, domestic violence,
dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other dangerous or life-threatening
conditions that relate to violence against the individual or a family member.
APPLYING FOR THE PROGRAM
Referrals for the Continuum of Care program may only be made by case managers of IC on behalf of consumers receiving services by Integral Care.
The Continuum of Care (COC) is authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Administrating authorities of the program are bound by non-discrimination laws for protected classes within its target group (under Title 24 CFR 582.330, and discrimination laws for the disabled in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
For questions regarding this program contact HATC, at (512) 854-8245.