(1) A local homeless assistance continuum of care is a framework for a comprehensive and seamless array of emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, and services to address the various needs of homeless persons and persons at risk for homelessness. The nature and configuration of housing and services may be unique to each community or region, depending on local needs, assets, and preferences.
(2) The purpose of a local homeless assistance continuum of care is to help communities or regions envision, plan, and implement comprehensive and long-term solutions to the problem of homelessness in a community or region.
(3) Communities or regions seeking to implement a local homeless assistance continuum of care are encouraged to develop and annually update a written plan that includes a vision for the continuum of care, an assessment of the supply of and demand for housing and services for the homeless population, and specific strategies and processes for providing the components of the continuum of care. The State Office on Homelessness shall supply a standardized format for written plans.
(4) Each local homeless assistance continuum of care plan must designate a lead agency that will serve as the point of contact and accountability to the State Office on Homelessness. The lead agency may be a local homeless coalition, municipal or county government, or other public agency or private, not-for-profit corporation.
(5) Continuum of care catchment areas must be designated and revised as necessary by the State Office on Homelessness, with the input of local homeless coalitions and public or private organizations that have previously certified to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and that currently serve as lead agencies for a local homeless assistance continuum of care. Designated catchment areas must not be overlapping. The designations must be consistent with those made by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in conjunction with the awarding of federal Stewart B. McKinney Act homeless assistance funding.
(6) The State Office on Homelessness shall recognize only one homeless assistance continuum of care plan and its designated lead agency for each designated catchment area. The recognition must be made with the input of local homeless coalitions and public or private organizations that have previously certified to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that they currently serve as lead agencies for a local homeless assistance continuum of care. The designations must be consistent with those made by the United States Department of Housing and Development in conjunction with the awarding of federal Stewart B. McKinney Act homeless assistance funding.
(7) The components of a continuum of care should include:
(a) Outreach, intake, and assessment procedures in order to identify the service and housing needs of an individual or family and to link them with appropriate housing, services, resources, and opportunities;
(b) Emergency shelter, in order to provide a safe, decent alternative to living in the streets;
(c) Transitional housing;
(d) Supportive services, designed to assist with the development of the skills necessary to secure and retain permanent housing;
(e) Permanent supportive housing;
(f) Permanent housing;
(g) Linkages and referral mechanisms among all components to facilitate the movement of individuals and families toward permanent housing and self-sufficiency;
(h) Services and resources to prevent housed persons from becoming or returning to homelessness;
(i) An ongoing planning mechanism to address the needs of all subgroups of the homeless population, including but not limited to:
1. Single adult males;
2. Single adult females;
3. Families with children;
4. Families with no children;
5. Unaccompanied children and youth;
6. Elderly persons;
7. Persons with drug or alcohol addictions;
8. Persons with mental illness;
9. Persons with dual or multiple physical or mental disorders;
10. Victims of domestic violence; and
11. Persons living with HIV/AIDS.
(8) Continuum of care plans must promote participation by all interested individuals and organizations and may not exclude individuals and organizations on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, familial status, or religion. Faith-based organizations must be encouraged to participate. To the extent possible, these components should be coordinated and integrated with other mainstream health, social services, and employment programs for which homeless populations may be eligible, including Medicaid, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Assistance Program, and services funded through the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Block Grant, the Workforce Investment Act, and the welfare-to-work grant program.