Continuum of Care

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The Continuum of Care (CoC Program) is designed to promote communitywide commitment of ending homelessness and provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers and State and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused by homelessness.

The Trenton/Mercer Continuum of Care Program provides homeless assistance by leveraging funding needed through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Consolidated Application; this affords collaboration between providers of housing and homeless assistance programs and other federal programs. The program seeks to improve and expand the collection of data countywide, develop performance measurements, and allow for each community to tailor its program to the particular strengths and challenges within that community. The Continuum of Care’s goal is to assist people to achieve stability through self-sufficiency. In Mercer County, the City of Trenton is the lead entity for the Trenton/Mercer Continuum of Care Program.

The Trenton/Mercer Continuum of Care conducts a gaps analysis annually to determine unmet need. In addition, using Point in Time data, the Continuum of Care examines the number of people experiencing homelessness to determine an increase or decrease in the homeless population over time. Monthly housing placements are reviewed, and targeted goals are measured to ensure the rate of housing exceeds the rate of homelessness in the Point in Time data.

In 2013, the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness, a key stakeholder to the Continuum of Care, developed a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness and received a grant from the Princeton Area Community Foundation to plan for a system for homeless individuals. In keeping with a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development mandate that community’s develop a crisis response system, a planning committee consisting of government and community partners analyzed shelter and transitional housing data, which indicated the Trenton/Mercer County community needed a comprehensive system for homeless individuals that would screen and assess for need and provide a mechanism to connect individuals to housing and services. Therefore, a Coordinated Entry & Assessment System (CEASe) has been created to ensure homeless individuals can move to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Using a Housing First approach, those with the longest history of homelessness and highest service needs are prioritized for housing.

The Trenton/Mercer Continuum of Care aligns itself with the goals of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

For more information, contact DuEwa Edwards-Dickson at 609-989-6036 or dedwards-dickson@mercercounty.org

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