What is a Continuum of Care?
A CoC is a collaborative funding and planning approach that helps communities provide prevention, emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, and other services to address homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that all communities establish a CoC. Participants can include nonprofit organizations, businesses, local and state government departments, schools, hospitals, community members, and many more. The primary goal of the CoC is to end homelessness.
The Western Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) came into existence in 2012, when the Harrisonburg-Rockingham CoC and Northern Shenandoah Valley CoC decided to merge. The merge was primarily done in an effort to combine resources and increase the amount of funding available for housing assistance programs in the Shenandoah Valley. The Western Virginia Continuum of Care (CoC) covers the counties of Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren, the towns within those counties, and the cities of Winchester and Harrisonburg. The official HUD-designated name of this CoC is VA-513.
The VA-513 identifies and implements strategies to prevent and end homelessness in the region.
This CoC promotes a Housing First approach, which means that priority is placed on getting someone into permanent housing as quickly as possible, and then supportive services, such as substance abuse treatment or mental health counseling, are offered as-needed. To facilitate the collaborative effort needed to address the issue of homelessness in our region, our CoC has formed multiple committees comprised of various organizations who are partnering with us to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. You can learn more about our CoC structure here.