CONTINUUM OF CARE

The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

MDHA serves as the Collaborative Applicant for HUD competitive Continuum of Care (“CoC”) funding.  The Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County government response to issues of homelessness are coordinated by the Metropolitan Nashville Homeless Impact Division of Metropolitan Social Services.  This includes serving as the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead entity, leading Coordinated Entry, and primary staffing for the Homelessness Planning Council.  For more, follow the links below.

All citizens in Nashville are welcome to join the Continuum of Care. Please complete the Continuum of Care Membership Form below. The form will help the Membership Committee compile and track all membership request. 

Continuum of Care Membership Form

In the summer of 2019, the Data Committee of the Nashville-Davidson CoC administered a voluntary survey to staff across member agencies. Our goal was to learn more about the homeless service workforce and take a beginning look at workforce equity and inclusion across agencies, with a focus on racial equity. HUD prioritizes funding to communities that are assessing their systems for racial disparities in services offered and outcomes achieved (and, where found, developing action plans to address them). This workforce survey is one part of our CoC’s effort to conduct these assessments.

We asked respondents for demographic information, including race, gender, ability, and lived experience. We also asked about perceptions of how well those working in homeless services reflect people served, perceptions of equity across hiring and advancement, and barriers and facilitators to participating in professional development opportunities.

We found that:

  • The majority of respondents were White – 74% of frontline staff and 82% of senior management.
  • Among different aspects of lived experiences asked about, 13% reported having lived experience with homelessness.
  • There was more agreement that frontline staff reflected the race, ethnicity, and lived experiences of people served than staff in supervisory or management roles.
  • On average, staff of color reported less opportunity to move up or be promoted in their agency.

Findings such as these are not uncommon in human service agencies. Across the country, the homeless service field is working on tackling racial inequity, and a number of workforce reports show similar trends. Although we are not alone in these challenges, we hope to work together to address them. Based on these and other findings, the Data Committee drafted specific recommendations for member programs, committees, and the CoC to:

  • Develop human resources policies and procedures around recruiting, hiring, retaining, and promoting people of color;
  • Provide quality training for all staff related to equity, inclusion, and social justice; and
  • Prioritize equity in community wide planning.

A meeting was held on October 30, 2020 to solicit feedback from management staff at Nashville agencies, and get replies to the following:

  • What else is your agency already doing to improve diversity of the workforce?
  • How do you evaluate and address disparities in promotion and advancement?
  • How do you create accessible and equitable opportunities for people with lived experience of homelessness?
  • Do you have any other recommendations in light of your experiences, trainings, or initiatives?

On November 18, members of Nashville’s Homelessness Planning Council unanimously approved the plan, posted for the public below.  If you have any questions, or additional input, please send to Suzie Tolmie,  Homeless Coordinator at MDHA stolmie@nashville-mdha.org  with subject heading Workforce Survey.

Survey Results

If you cannot complete the form online, or have trouble, below is a fillable PDF document that you can complete, save and then mail or email  to Suzie Tolmie, Homeless Coordinator, MDHA, 712 South 6th Street, Nashville, TN 37206 stolmie@Nashville-MDHA.org. 

2020-2021 Fillable COC Membership Application Form

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MDHA serves as the Collaborative Applicant for HUD’s competitive Continuum of Care (CoC) funding or the Nashville-Davidson County, TN CoC. Located in the Community Development department of MDHA, CoC staff carries out:

  • CoC monitoring of grant receipients
  • Competition Planning and staffing relevant committies
  • Coordinated Entry Systems (CES) lead for the CoC
  • Staff CoC Committees & provide expertise on HUD policies
  • Coordinates and maintains compliance with (HUD)
CoC General Meetings: Agenda and Minutes
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The Homeless Impact Division, a longtime partner of MDHA, is located within the Metropolitan Social Services Department and serves as the CoC HMIS Lead. HID staff co-leads several community efforts and administers the following tasks:

  • Offer expertise and support to the work of the Nashville-Davidson County Continuum of Care Homelessness Planning Council
  • Serve as the Continuum of Care’s (CoC) HMIS Lead
  • Lead and co-lead local community efforts by serving as the backbone organization to further collaborative goals
  • Provide expertise and training to implement a community-wide Coordinated Entry System as required by (HUD)
  • Coordinate Metro departments in the city’s response to homelessness
Homeless Planning Council: Agenda and Minutes

HOMELESS MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM

A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. Each Continuum of Care (CoC) is responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards.

YOUTH HOMELESSNESS DEMONSTRATION GRANT

On August 29, 2019, HUD announced $75 million in funding to 23 communities to help end youth homelessness. The communities that submitted applications took an important step in preventing and ending youth homelessness. HUD congratulates the 23 selected communities, commends all communities who applied, and is committed to supporting them, regardless of whether they were selected.

CoC COMPETITION MATERIALS

The CoC Program awards funding annually based on a competitive process. Grant awards are made to recipient organizations that operate housing and services for persons experiencing homelessness and to recipient organizations that represent a CoC and conduct planning or Unified Funding Agency (UFA) activities.

CoC GOVERNING DOCUMENTS

All CoC’s and Emergency Solution Grant (ESG)  recipients are required to develop written policies and procedures for sub-recipients to use in providing assistance for households experiencing homelessness.

CoC Charter HMIS Revisions December 2019: Download

HUD Technical Assistance staff is assisting Nashville via a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Capacity grant awarded to the Metropolitan Homeless Impact Division (MHID).  They have noted federal requirements for HMIS that are missing from the Charter.  The following provisions need to be added, and the revised Charter updated/approved in 90 days:

  1. Indicate which entity serves as HMIS Lead
  2. Specify the Continuum of Care (CoC) responsible for entering into an operational agreement with the HMIS Lead
  3. Clarify that HMIS Policies & Procedures have a review process
  4. Identify information that can be found in supporting documents, such as the HMIS Policy and Procedures Manual
  5. Note if HMIS user fee exists. It does not currently, but one may at some point in the future.  This belongs best in HMIS Policies & Procedures document, but reference can be made in Charter.

The proposed changes are noted in this update on pages 13 and 14.  They will be announced at the December 17 CoC General Membership meeting; per the current Charter, the public will have 15 days from notification/posting to the public for review and any comments.  The deadline for public input in written form is 12:00 noon on December 23.  Comments should be submitted to Suzie Tolmie at coccharter@Nashville-MDHA.org .

Final approval will be sought from the CoC General Membership at its January 21 meeting.

Please note that per HUD requirements, the CoC Charter is to be reviewed for updates at least annually.  The CoC Charter Committee has resumed meetings, and will be working on additional revisions for 2021 that will be announced at a later date.

CoC Charter_Approved by CoC General_Sept 2019

*General Membership Approval on 09/19/2019

HMIS Policies and Procedures

*Homeless Planning Council Approved on 08/14/2019

CoC & ESG Written Standards

*Homeless Planning Council Approved on 09/23/2019