The HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Lead Agency

About the Continuum of Care

HUD Lead Agency

Our Role In The Community

We are not a direct service provider.

The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness (GKCCEH) is the HUD Continuum of Care (CoC) Lead Agency for Jackson County, Missouri and Wyandotte County, Kansas (CoC MO-604).

History of the CoC in Kansas City (MO&KS), Independence, Lee’s Summit/Jackson, Wyandotte Counties

Thirty four years ago, in 1987, when the first distribution of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds were authorized to help those in need of funds to help them find appropriate permanent living circumstances, the project was only expected to last one-two years!  The Continuum of Care (CoC) concept grew out of the Mc Kinney-Vento program designed to support children who were experiencing homelessness. 

In Kansas City, the Mid-America Assistance Coalition (MAAC) was founded in 1985 as a result of the merger of the Emergency Assistance Coalition and the Warmth and Light Coalition.  MAAC was founded on the understanding that Kansas City needed a source for collecting solid data from agencies and ensuring that funds for low-income individuals and households were distributed throughout the community effectively and without unnecessary duplication of services.  MAAC administered several grants at the time from federal, state and local governments, as well as other private funders.  When it became evident that the CoC funds would occur with regularity, MAAC was selected to manage what was then the CoC project.  They administered the funds for several years, and in 1999, the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City was established as a separate organization by MAAC and the first HSCGKC Board was established. Cynthia Larcom was chosen as the first Executive Director of the agency. 

The City of Kansas City MO Housing Office had approved the MAAC administration of HUD CoC funds in the early years of the project and fully supported the formation of an agency dedicated to serving as the CoC for Jackson County and the metropolitan Kansas City area.   

The HSCGKC began its work when funds were renewed annually and oversight of the participating agencies was the sole responsibility of the CoC.  As such, the HSCGKC developed policies around the ethical, efficient and effective use of the funds.  Over time this led to the creation of a committee structure that included 1) ethical procedures for agencies using receiving/administering CoC funds, 2) agency monitoring re: agency safety and security, 3) procedure and policy structures and 4) the committee for determining which agencies would be funded in each CoC cycle. 

As HSCGKC grew its responsibilities, it also recognized the need to become an active advocacy voice for the agencies they served, and those agencies constituents.  A Social Policy committee was added, as was a Finance Committee (previously the Board Treasurer had assumed the responsibility of monitoring agency spending, grant use, etc. and an outside audit was performed each year in accordance with HUD requirements). 

In 2004 HUD further defined its policies and procedures for serving families and individuals by introducing the HEARTH Act (Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing), which was signed into law by President Obama in 2006.  This lead the HSCGKC to increase the use of a defined Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) to ensure that all funds were being used to serve those most in need of housing. 

In 2009 Brian O’Malley, MSW was named the second Executive Director of the HSCGKC and expanded the focus on compliance responsibilities to ensure continued compliance with the expanding directives of recommendations being issued by HUD as the funding amounts grew dramatically in those years.

In 2010 Vickie L. Riddle, ACSW joined the agency as the growth of funding, community leadership on homelessness and increased homelessness was happening in the Kansas City area.  Especially important to the agency during the next three years was HUD’s desire to see CoC’s across the county deliver services to natural communities; for the metro area, this meant a merger between the Jackson County/Kansas City/Lee’s Summit/Independence CoC and the Wyandotte County CoC.  Once again, the leadership of a committed Board and active agency leaders in both Jackson (MO) and Wyandotte (KS) Counties led to the successful merger in 2014 The new CoC chose a new name, more reflective of the new organization-The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness (GKCCEH).

As homelessness grew in our communities, especially after the recession of 2007-2008HUD and the Department of Veteran’s Administration began to establish programs designed to quickly reduce homelessness among veterans and veteran families.  The HSCGKC, with the leadership of its agencies worked with the national 100,000 Homes Campaign and the (functional) Built for Zero for Veterans Homeless Projects.  The GKCCEH achieved functional zero in veteran’s homelessness in 2014. 

From an anticipated one time grant of $100,000 in 1988 to today’s nearly $14M grant, the inception, implementation and growth in response to communities needs, of the GKCCEH has remained the same – to ensure that homelessness is the exception and not the norm in our metropolitan area. 

 

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms

Click here to download the GKCCEH Glossary of Terms and Acronyms.

Resources

Explore Continuum of Care Resources

Annual Homeless Count

Find information about PIT and HIC Reports

Coordinated Entry

Standardized access and screening for all individuals
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HMIS

Information on Homeless Management Information System

Community Meetings

See when meetings happen and find past meeting minutes

Contiuum of Care Funding

Data, information, and reports relating to funding.

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Policies

See the policies that provide the foundation of who we are.

Annual Homeless Count

Find information about PIT and HIC Reports

Coordinated Entry

Standardized access and screening for all individuals
f

HMIS

Information on Homeless Management Information System

Community Meetings

See when meetings happen and find past meeting minutes

Contiuum of Care Funding

Data, information, and reports relating to funding.

i

Policies

See the policies that provide the foundation of who we are.

Goals and engagement

About the Continuum of Care Program

The CoC Program was created through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act As Amended by S.896 Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009.

A Continuum of Care represents a community’s system-wide response to homelessness and is responsible for the coordinating and implementation of a housing service system that meets the needs of persons who are homeless throughout its geography.

 

Goals of the Continuum of Care Program

  • Promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness
  • Provide funding for efforts to quickly re-house individuals and families who are homeless which minimizes the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness
  • Promote effective use of and access to mainstream programs
  • Optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness

At a minimum, the homeless system should include:

  • Street Outreach
  • Engagement
  • Assessment
  • Emergency Shelter
  • Permanent Housing
  • Supportive Services
  • Prevention Strategies

To achieve the intended purpose of the CoC Program, the community must be fully engaged. CoC membership should include relevant organizations in its geographic area to carry out the responsibilities of the HUD CoC Program Interim Rule (24 CFR 578).

CoC Stakeholders may include some or all of the following:

  • Non-profit homeless assistance providers
  • Victim services providers
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Governments
  • Businesses
  • Advocates
  • Public Housing Agencies
  • Healthcare and Behavioral Health Providers
  • School Districts
  • First Responders
  • Persons with Lived Experience

(Source: Adapted from HUD Exchange resources)

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