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Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Continuum of Care

The Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Continuum of Care is an extensive network of agencies that plans, organizes and delivers housing and services to prevent homelessness and to assist people while they are homeless and as they move into stable housing. The Continuum is the vehicle, at the local level, that Coordinates resources to achieve the best outcomes and identifies gaps in services and undertakes necessary research and planning to eliminate the gaps. Initially, the Continuum of Care was organized in response to a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirement; however, today it is a dynamic force engaged in efforts to reduce and prevent homelessness ensure delivery of comprehensive, high-quality services to persons who are homeless, and create permanent housing opportunities for very low income and long-term homeless persons. The Cleveland/Cuyahoga County Continuum of Care is also the entity that annually submits the HUD-mandated consolidated application for federal homeless assistance dollars.

Since 1989, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) has issued annual, competitive grant notices. As of 1995 grants for Homeless Assistance under the HUD McKinney-Vento Act were consolidated into a "Super NOFA (Notice of Fund Availability)". The annual Super NOFA process is complicated and highly technical.

HUD’s approach to funding homeless programs has evolved over the past eighteen years. Each year the NOFA sets higher thresholds for community involvement and agency accountability. Communities that could not coalesce to develop a consolidated application were not successful in being awarded these federal dollars.

During this time period, Cleveland/Cuyahoga County agencies participating in the Continuum of Care have been awarded an annual amount averaging between $13 million to $20 million in HUD homeless assistance funding. The Office of Homeless Services manages the application process as a service to the community. The OHS Advisory Board has provided oversight and structure to the process.

A Review and Ranking Committee that is comprised of a broadly representative group of stakeholders is convened by the OHS Advisory Board annually for the purpose of reviewing and recommending projects to be included in the application. This committee includes representatives of the Mental Health Board, Alcohol & Drug Board, Private Foundations, United Way Services, Veterans Administration, formerly homeless persons, service providers, and advocates. Prohibited from participating are providers who have projects eligible for renewal in the current year, or providers who are submitting new projects for consideration. Each year this committee begins its process by reviewing and endorsing Guiding Principles in order to successfully perform this comprehensive task.