About the Three County Continuum of Care
Mission Statement of the Three County Rural Continuum of Care
The Thee County Continuum of Care (CoC) MA-507 promotes and guides a community-wide vision, strategy, and commitment to efforts to prevent and end homelessness; mobilizes funding; improves coordination and integration of mainstream resources and programs targeted to people experiencing homelessness through a housing first model; and establishes system-wide data collection and performance measurement practices to ensure successful housing strategies and equitable housing for vulnerable populations. The CoC strives to engage funded projects in processes and procedures that are anti-racist, free of bias, and advance the priorities of those most impacted by housing instability and homelessness. The CoC geography includes Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire counties in western Massachusetts.
The Three County CoC’s effort to end homelessness must address the range of issues that have resulted from racial inequity & promote policies and actions that address systematic discrimination against people with diverse racial, ethnic, and gender identities. This includes assuring affordable, stable housing for all. The CoC is committed to leading our partners and funded agencies in an effort to ensure that all homeless families and individuals have equal access to all necessary housing and supportive services. These strategies and procedures provide guidance to service providers to prevent discrimination in their policies and address racial and other disparities in their interaction with tenants, participants and all persons experiencing homelessness. The Three County CoC will comply with, and hold funded agencies accountable to all applicable civil rights and fair housing laws and regulations, including HUD’s Equal Access & Gender Identity Rules. The Three County Recognizes that implicit bias is harmful, as well as explicit discriminatory practices.
The Three County Continuum of Care (CoC) Program promotes community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness in Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire Counties.
We provide funding for efforts by nonprofit program providers, area stake-holders, and state and local governments to house homeless individuals and families in a Housing-First Model by:
promoting access to and utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families;
holding Coordinated Entry Meetings with area partners working to house our most vulnerable neighbors;
optimizing self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness;
and minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness.
Designation and Role of Community Action Pioneer Valley, as the Collaborative Applicant
The Three County Board will designate an organization that is a 501 (c) (3) legal entity or a government entity as the Collaborative Applicant to design, operate, and follow a collaborative process in the development of applications and approve the submission of applications in response
to a NOFA published by HUD, including applying for CoC Planning Dollars (Activities). The Collaborative Applicant has the following responsibilities:
Collect and combine information to complete and submit the consolidated application for the CoC Program Competition NOFA;
Apply for CoC Planning Dollars (Activities) under the direction of the CoC Board;
Apply for the HMIS funding and Handle HMIS and Data Reporting required by HUD;
Apply for SSO-CE funding and Lead a Coordinated Entry process;
Lead the Request for Proposal, New and Renewal application process, ranking and evaluation process, and all other CoC Project related financial and programmatic contractual requirements.
In consultation with the Three County CoC Board, develop, follow, and update annually this governance charter - any amendments must be approved by the CoC Membership as described in this charter;
Create and maintain a database or repository, preferably web-based page to include the meeting dates and times, agendas and minutes;
Act as the custodian of all Three County records and documents;
Provide administrative support for the CoC, including staffing support;
Act as the Secretary of the CoC Board; and
In coordination with the Three County CoC Membership and under the direction of the CoC Board, conduct all CoC Planning activities and overall operations.
For more detailed information on the Three County Continuum of Care, click here.
We work closely with the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness (WMNEH) as part of their mission to "create collaborative solutions to prevent and end homelessness through a Housing First approach that makes homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring."
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The Commonwealth currently has 15 CoCs across the state.
Three County Continuum History
The Three County CoC (MA507) covers more than 1,600 square miles through Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties.
Originally there were three Continuum of Care agencies in Western Massachusetts, and they were aligned as follows:
Berkshire County CoC, which was established in 1996 and covered all of Berkshire County. The CoC was administered in succession by BCRHA, American Red Cross, and BCAC as the lead agencies.
Three County CoC, which was established in 1997 and covered Hampshire, Franklin, and Hampden Counties (exclusive of Springfield). The CoC was administered by the City of Northampton as the lead agency.
City of Springfield CoC, which was also established in the 1990s, with the City of Springfield as the lead agency.
In 2012, there was a reorganization of Western Massachusetts CoCs, which was driven by the HEARTH Act mandates and related local resource challenges. The Berkshire CoC merged with a newly configured Three County CoC, covering Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties … creating a rural CoC.
In 2018, Community Action Pioneer Valley was selected to succeed Hilltown CDC as the lead agency (Collaborative Applicant) for the Three County CoC.