Continuum of Care
What is this intervention?
The Continuum of Care model is a community plan to organise and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and self-sufficiency.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) first introduced the Continuum of Care model in 1994. The model consists of a planning body, usually at the local or regional level, which coordinates community-wide resources to ensure efficient and organised distribution of services and accommodation for individuals or families experiencing homelessness. The approach allows communities to address the issues of homelessness in a way that encourages capacity building, strategic distribution of resources, and the long-term provision of services to those who most need them.
Continuum of Care programmes share some common characteristics. Firstly, they identify participants who have specific housing needs and consider the appropriateness of the services offered. Secondly, immediate support to enter transitional housing will ensure that individuals are removed from the streets and placed into shelter. Thirdly, individuals experiencing homelessness will be given an opportunity to access services that promote knowledge and skill development in areas that will be most useful to them when they are placed in stable housing. Finally, when stable housing is attained, families and individuals will be provided with continuing support.
What is its goal?
The Continuum of Care provides users with housing and services tailored to their specific needs. Through this individualised approach, individuals experiencing homelessness can attain housing stability and independence. The community involvement aspect ensures that an action plan is implemented to prevent future homelessness.