In 1995, HUD established the competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) funding application process to provide resources to communities to implement community-wide, coordinated efforts for assessing and addressing the housing and service needs of individuals and families that were homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
The CoC takes on the coordination of homeless services and homelessness prevention activities across a specified geographic area. 
Through the CoC application process, communities are able to submit to HUD a consolidated application to fund homelessness assistance programs.

To carry out the purpose of the CoC Program, HUD requires representatives of relevant organizations (e.g., nonprofit organizations, victim services providers, local governments) to form a Continuum of Care to serve a  specific geographic area. 
Each CoC must establish a board to act on its behalf, and the CoC may appoint additional committees or workgroups to fulfill its responsibilities.

A CoC’s three primary responsibilities under the CoC Program interim rule include the following:

  1. Operate the CoC
  2. Designating and operating an HMIS
  3. CoC planning
To operate successfully, a CoC must fulfill the following responsibilities specific in the CoC Program interim rule:

  • Conduct semi-annual meetings of the full membership
  • Issue a public invitation for new members, at least annually
  • Adopt and follow a written process to select a board
  • Appoint additional committees, subcommittees, or workgroups
  • Develop and follow a governance charter detaining the responsibilities of all parties
  • Consult with recipients and sub-recipients to establish performance targets appropriate for populations and program type, monitor the performance of recipients and sub-recipients, evaluate outcomes, and take action against poor performers
  • Evaluate and report to HUD outcomes of ESG and CoC Projects
  • Establish and operate a centralized or coordinated assessment system
  • Establish and follow written standards for providing CoC assistance
With respect to planning responsibilities, the CoC must:

  • Coordinate the implementation of a housing and service system within its geographic area
  • Conduct a Point-in-Time count of homeless persons, at least biennially
  • Conduct an annual gaps analysis
  • Provide information required to complete the Consolidated Plan(s)
  • Consult with ESG recipients regarding the allocation of ESG funds and the evaluation of the performance of ESG recipients and subrecipients

As the lead agency for the TN-501 Continuum of Care, Community Alliance for the Homeless provides year-round planning and support for the Consortium and serves as the Collaborative Applicant for the CoC Program’s annual application to HUD.  The organization also coordinates all HUD-mandated activities as required.