Continuum of Care


homelessness image2020 Annual Homelessness Point in Time Count Results Announced

The 2020 Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness Point in Time (PIT) was held on Tuesday, January 28th. The PIT count occurs annually across the country during the last week of January and is a “snapshot” of the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals in the region. To count unsheltered persons, members of the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness, outreach workers, faith-based organizations, social service professionals, government representatives, and a host of volunteers were trained and organized to go out into the community and interview people who appeared to be living in places not meant for human habitation. Information was collected using a short paper survey and the de-identified results have been reported to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Results of the 2020 Point in Time Count may be found here.



Purpose | Fact SheetProgram Components | Point in Time Count | Housing Inventory Count | Funding | Grantees Publications and Data | Calendar | Contact | News


The Continuum of Care (CoC) Grant Program is a homeless assistance program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The CoC Program is designed to promote a community-wide 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 affect utilization of programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.  As the primary federal resource to end homelessness, the CoC grant program competitively funds CoCs to impact homelessness at the local level.

In Massachusetts, there are 13 CoC regions. The Cape and Islands CoC, which is governed by the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness, currently supports 9 projects providing permanent supportive housing to 137 households.

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Fact Sheet

FACT SHEET: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – Continuum of Care Grant Program, March 2020

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Program Components

The CoC Program is designed to assist individuals (including unaccompanied youth) and families experiencing homelessness and provide the services needed to help them move into transitional and permanent housing with the goal of long-term stability. More broadly, the CoC Program is designed to promote community-wide planning and strategic use of resources to address homelessness; improve coordination and integration with mainstream resources and other programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness; improve data collection and performance measurement; and allow each community to tailor its programs to the particular strengths and challenges in assisting homeless individuals and families within that community.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is defined as community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible.

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is an information management system used to collect data on client needs and the provision of housing and services.  Barnstable County is responsible for maintaining the Cape and Islands CoC HMIS system.  For more information, read MA 503 HMIS Policies and Procedures.

Point in Time (PIT) Count is an annual count of the number of people experiencing homelessness in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the street, in cars, abandoned buildings, and in other places not meant for human habitation.  The PIT is conducted annually across the nation during a 24-hour period in the month of January.

Coordinated Entry System (CES) is a system developed at the local level to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis are quickly identified, assessed, and connected to housing and assistance based on their needs.  The Cape & Islands Regional Network on Homelessness/Continuum of Care uses a Coordinated Entry System that links the most vulnerable homeless individuals and families to available resources.  Coordinated Entry is an approach to ending homelessness that requires comprehensive coordination of all housing and service resources in a community to better match people experiencing homelessness to appropriate permanent housing placement.  On the Cape and Islands, CES operates through community access points across the region.  For more information contact

Housing First is an approach in which housing is offered to people experiencing homelessness without preconditions (such as sobriety, mental health treatment, or a minimum income threshold) or service participation requirements. HUD encourages all recipients of CoC Program-funded PSH to follow a Housing First approach.

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Point in Time Count

The annual Point in Time Count of the Cape and Islands homeless is required by the Continuum of Care (CoC) Grant Program and is conducted by The Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness.

For results of the annual Point in time Counts from this year and previous years, visit Point in Time Count.

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Housing Inventory Count

WHAT IS THE HOUSING INVENTORY COUNT? The Housing Inventory Count (HIC) is a yearly point-in-time inventory of housing programs within a Continuum of Care (CoC) that provide beds and units dedicated to serve people who are experiencing homelessness or were homeless at the time of program entry, categorized by five Program Types:
• Emergency Shelter
• Transitional Housing
• Rapid Re-housing
• Safe Haven
• Permanent Supportive Housing

The Cape Cod and Islands CoC region does not contain any Safe Haven projects, and so the HIC does not list any beds devoted to this program type.

ARE ALL PROGRAMS ON THE HIC PART OF THE CoC? The inventory includes all US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-funded residential programs, as well as non-HUD funded programs, even if those programs do not actively participate in the CoC planning process.

HOW DOES THE HIC WORK? The HIC identifies numbers and types of residential units dedicated to homeless and formerly homeless individuals and families that are available in the Cape and Islands CoC region. Utilization rates are calculated based upon each program’s census on the night of the Point in Time (PIT) Count, which was held on January 28, 2020.


• The HIC is a mandated annual CoC activity which provides the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) a “snapshot” of the numbers and types of units in the CoC’s dedicated homeless inventory;

• The HIC offers vital information regarding the region’s capacity to house our target homeless population to collaborative partners, to social services and health care agencies, to local governmental units, to policy-making organizations, and to potential funding sources; and

• The HIC is a critical part of the annual competitive Continuum of Care application process.

Results of the 2020 Housing Inventory Count may be found here.

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In FY 2019, approximately $2.28 billion was awarded to new and renewal projects across the United States. The 15 CoC regions in Massachusetts were awarded a total of $81,065,687. In March 2020, the Cape and Islands CoC, which is governed by the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness Policy Board, received $1,938,900 to support nine projects providing permanent supportive housing to 137 individuals and families. This award includes 6 new permanent supportive housing beds dedicated to homeless youth and young adults in the region. The grant also supports CoC planning, CES administration, and the HMIS. As the Regional Network’s convening entity and Cape and Islands CoC collaborative applicant, Barnstable County Department of Human Services provides monitoring, infrastructure, and administrative support.

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MA-503 HUD CoC FY2019 Awards Chart

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Publications and Data

Barnstable County Department of Human Services provides critical documents, resources, and related links relating to substance use. For a repository of synthesized local data in original in-house publications and reports, visit the Continuum of Care Publications and Data web page.

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Calendar-Icon Visit Department of Human Services’ Calendar for meetings and their related documents.

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For more information on the Continuum of Care Grant Program, contact Dan Gray, Continuum of Care Program Manager at Barnstable County Department of Human Services at 774-224-0051 or 

For more information on the Coordinated Entry System (CES), contact CES coordinator, Martha Taylor, at (508) 375-6625 or 

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Latest News

Food Access Resources – Updated 8/31/20

The Cape Cod and the Islands Regional Network on Homelessness COVID-19 Emergency Planning Team has compiled information on programs and sites in Barnstable County where prepared meals and pre-bagged groceries and supplies are available for pick-up. Thank you to our...

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