Housing First and the 12 Continuums of Care
with the Largest Numbers of Homeless Persons in the U.S.
  
(A brief prepared by Joe Colletti, PhD and Sofia Herrera, PhD)
  
This brief focuses on the 12 continuums of care (CoCs) with the largest numbers of homeless persons nationwide and their responses to two questions about Housing First recently submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of their 2015 Continuum of Care applications (see Appendix A for a description of Housing First). The 12 CoCs include:
  1. New York City CoC;
  2. Los Angeles City and County CoC;
  3. Seattle/King County CoC;
  4. San Diego City and County CoC;
  5. Las Vegas/Clark County CoC;
  6. District of Columbia CoC;
  7. Texas Balance of State (BoS) CoC;
  8. Chicago CoC;
  9. San Francisco CoC;
  10. San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC;
  11. Boston CoC;
  12. Philadelphia CoC.
The first question focused on barriers that prevent homeless persons from obtaining housing and the second question focused on barriers that could prevent them from maintaining their housing. The table below reveals that of the 1,111 new and renewal projects submitted by the 12 Continuums of Care
  • 93% (1,035) indicated that their projects operate as low barrier projects, meaning that they do not screen out potential project participants based on the following four barriers: 1) too little or little income; 2) active or history of substance use; 3) criminal record, with exceptions for state-mandated restrictions; and 4) history of having been or being currently a victim of domestic violence (e.g., lack of a protective order, period of separation from abuser, or law enforcement involvement);
  • 86% (958) committed to using a Housing First approach, meaning that the project quickly houses clients without preconditions or service participation requirements.
Table 1. Total number of homeless persons in 2015, total number of projects, total number and percent of projects that are low barrier, and the total number and percent of projects that adopted a Housing First approach for each of the 12 Continuums of Care with the largest numbers of homeless persons in the U.S. in January, 2015.

  
  
  
  
Continuum of Care:
Total
# of
Homeless
Persons in January 2015
  
  
Total Number of Projects
  
  
Projects that are
Low Barrier
Projects
that Adopted a Housing First approach
  
  
  
#
%
#
%
 
  
  
  
  
  
NY-600
New York City CoC
75,323
208
199
96
189
91
CA-600
Los Angeles City & County CoC
41,174
213
183
86
167
78
WA-500
Seattle/King County CoC
10,122
76
70
92
68
89
CA-601
San Diego City and County CoC
8,742
58
54
93
47
81
NV-500
Las Vegas/Clark County CoC
7,509
35
33
94
33
94
DC-500
District of Columbia CoC
7,298
65
64
98
63
97
TX-607
Texas Balance of State (BoS) CoC
7,016
37
28
76
15
41
IL-510
Chicago CoC
6,786
160
157
98
156
98
CA-501
San Francisco CoC
6,775
65
60
92
54
83
CA-500
San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC
6,556
41
41
100
41
100
MA-500
Boston CoC
6,492
50
49
98
39
78
PA-500
Philadelphia CoC
5,998
103
97
94
86
83
  
Total:
189,791
1111
1035
93
958
86
   
-source: FY 2015 Continuum of Care Applications submitted by all 12
Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-
  
Click here to read the entire Brief

_________________________________

Urban Initiatives is a non-profit organization that consists of several community-based and faith-based institutes that respond to the economic, housing, and social needs of neighborhoods, cities, and counties from local community, regional, national, international, and faith-based perspectives.

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