Roadmap to Homes

Philadelphia’s Continuum of Care (CoC) PA-500

The Philadelphia Continuum of Care (CoC) is an inter-agency planning body that works to coordinate and implement a system of care that prevents and removes the barriers related to homelessness among Philadelphians through a collaborative, data driven, community-based approach.

Hundreds of community members generously shared their expertise, wisdom, energy, and experience to shape the vision and priorities of Roadmap to Homes: Philadelphia’s 5-Year Strategic Plan.

Learn more about Philadelphia’s CoC Governance Structure,

Membership in the CoC is open to all stakeholders in Philadelphia interested in the volunteer opportunity to work towards ensuring homelessness is rare, brief and non-recurring. It is a broad-based coalition of housing and service providers, persons with lived experience of homelessness, advocates, government representatives, and other community members working together to shape citywide planning and decision-making.

To become a member of the Philadelphia Continuum of Care


What is a Continuum of Care (CoC)?

Since 1994, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has required communities to come together to submit a single, comprehensive application for HUD funds for housing and supportive services for people who have experienced homelessness. In 2009, Congress passed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act and designed the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program to:

  • promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness and
  • quickly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness, increase their access and utilization of mainstream social supports, and optimize their self-sufficiency.

The CoC Program consolidated previous funding programs and formalized requirements for the governance of decision-making bodies called Continuums of Care. Building on previous committees and collaborative planning efforts, the Philadelphia Continuum of Care was established in 2014.

What We Do

The Philadelphia CoC works to establish and evaluate local priorities for implementing system change based on data driven system-wide performance that addresses the goal of making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.

The CoC must prepare and submit a collaborative application to HUD for CoC Program funding to support the operation of homeless assistance projects comprising more than 2,500 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for persons with disabilities, Rapid Re-Housing and Transitional Housing, Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) operation, and CoC Planning activities. This requires designing a local funding competition and a local project ranking strategy. The CoC also must engage in Consolidated Planning as it relates to homelessness and particularly Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) spending.

As part of monitoring progress towards performance goals, each January, the CoC conducts an annual comprehensive Point-in-Time Count of persons experiencing homelessness and a Housing Inventory Chart of all the homeless assistance beds operating in the Philadelphia CoC to identify gaps in the system. The CoC is also engaged in establishing a well-advertised and transparent Coordinated Entry and Assessment-Based Referral System (CEA-BHRS) that provides people at risk of or experiencing homelessness access to a streamlined and standardized process that links them to appropriate resources to resolve their homelessness.

Who We Are

The Philadelphia CoC Governance Charter outlines the roles and responsibilities of its Board and committees.

The CoC Board approves all CoC policies procedures, and funding decisions, with input from the CoC Advisory Committee, subcommittees/workgroups, and the City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services. The Board has representation from City government, the service provider community, people who have experienced homelessness and other relevant community stakeholders.

Interested stakeholders who do not sit on the CoC Board can join the CoC to provide input and advice on issues including, but not limited to:

  • Developing a competitive CoC Program funding application submission
  • Data collection, review, and analysis
  • Policy and process recommendations related to emerging trends, service gaps, etc.

Members can also focus their efforts by joining a CoC committee or workgroup:

  • CEA-BHRS Evaluation Committee
  • HUD Alignment Committee
  • Lived Experience Committee
  • Service Provider Committee
    • Safety & Security Planning Workgroup
    • Move On Strategy Workgroup
  • Racial Equity Committee
  • Young Adult Leadership Committee Bullets

The CoC has designated the City of Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services as the Collaborative Applicant for CoC program funds and the CoC HMIS Lead. Homeless Services also staffs the CoC and leads the effort to establish and operate CEA-BHRS.

Homeless Management Information System

The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a computerized data collection tool specifically designed to capture client-level, system-wide information over time on the characteristics and services needs of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness.

HMIS allows the aggregation of client-level data across homeless service agencies to generate unduplicated counts and service patterns of clients accessing services. The Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) National Data and Technical Standards establish baseline standards for participation, data collection, privacy, and security. Implementation of HMIS is a requirement for receipt of HUD McKinney-Vento funding.

The Office of Homeless Services (OHS) is the HMIS lead agency to the Philadelphia’s CoC. Learn more about the HMIS.

For more information about the Philadelphia Continuum of Care or how to get involved, contact David A. Weathington, Director of CoC Activities and Grants.

Funding Opportunities

OHS is the lead agency that prepares the annual application to HUD for CoC McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance funding. These resources are invaluable for providing housing and supportive services for people experiencing homelessness. These funds are made available through a national competition announced each year in HUD’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Applications must demonstrate broad community participation and identify resources and gaps in the community’s approach to providing permanent housing and other critical services that address homelessness. Federal funds are also provided through Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds.  OHS works to source other federal, state, local, and private dollars to meet the needs of people and families experiencing homelessness in Philadelphia.

  • Sign up to receive information on what’s happening in the Philadelphia region’s homeless response system.
  • View new funding opportunities for local nonprofits.