Continuum of Care


Racial Disparities in the Homeless Services System

The geographic area covered by the Cape Cod and Islands Continuum of Care (CoC) – Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties – has a combined population of slightly over 242,000 people; 92% are White, 4% are Black, and 4% are Hispanic.  A Racial Disparities Analysis recently conducted by the Barnstable County Department of Human Services determined that Black and Hispanic persons are disproportionately represented among homeless individuals and families on the Cape and Islands.  Relying on data obtained from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and the 2019 Point in Time (PIT) Homeless Count, the analysis identified disparities across all homeless programs and services.  Black and Hispanic persons accessed individual shelter and homelessness prevention services at disproportionate rates compared to their percentage in the general population.  Black and Hispanic families were also disproportionately represented in the Family Emergency Shelter System.  The results of this Racial Disparities analysis will inform future regional homelessness policies.



Purpose | Fact SheetProgram Components | Point in Time 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 16 CoC regions. The Cape and Islands CoC, which is governed by the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness, currently supports 10 projects providing permanent supportive housing to 145 households.

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Fact Sheet

FACT SHEET: McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act – Continuum of Care Grant Program, March 2019

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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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In FY 2018, approximately $2.2 billion was awarded to new and renewal projects across the United States.  The 15 CoC regions in Massachusetts were awarded a total of $77,523,594.  In February 2019, the Cape and Islands CoC, which is governed by the Cape and Islands Regional Network on Homelessness Policy Board, received $1,852,407 to support nine projects providing permanent supportive housing to 145 individuals and families.  This award includes 11 new permanent supportive housing beds 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 FY2018 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 Beth Albert, Director, Barnstable County Department of Human Services at 508-375-6626 or

For more information on the Coordinated Entry System (CES), contact CES coordinator, Tracy Longo, at (508) 375-6945 or

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