How We Operate
The CoC’s work is currently carried out through a collaboration of local non-profit agencies, persons of lived experience, local government, and other community partners. Unhoused individuals or families are now placed on a centralized, coordinated entry list for housing after a robust trauma-informed vulnerability index assessment. As housing becomes available, those with the highest vulnerability scores are placed first. The Continuum of Care utilizes the housing units from all providers to make these placements; thus ending the proprietary nature of agencies who previously had provided housing only to their own clients. This coordinated entry system more efficiently and rapidly houses individuals and families by breaking down silos to improve access so that those with the greatest need are served first. Through the work of the Board and workgroups, barriers to housing are removed and the communities of Jackson County are educated on why a “Housing First” approach is critical. Housing First is a no-barrier or low-barrier model that has successfully demonstrated that once barriers to housing are removed and homeless individuals are housed, they are better able to take care of their health concerns, substance abuse disorders, family traumas, and employment opportunities. Stable housing is the first step in helping people to actualize their full potential and to strengthen communities.
Once those experiencing homelessness are placed into stable housing, statistically it is shown that:
- Emergency Department visits decrease.
- Repeated incarcerations decrease.
- City and County expenses to clean up homeless camp’s decrease.
- Overall community health increases
- Substance abuse disorders can be treated more effectively.
- Couch surfing among children and teens decreases and more attention can be placed on education.
- Opportunities for employment increase.
The Jackson County Homeless Task Force (HTF), comprised of nonprofit and public organizations, began spearheading the effort to end homelessness in 1989. The HTF began functioning as the HUD-designated CoC in 2001 and developed a 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Jackson County in 2009. In 2018, the Continuum was restructured and the HTF became one of the CoC’s workgroups.
A comprehensive undertaking to solve such a large, area-wide issue is complex and requires a commitment from all community sectors along with the will to create change. It is not one agency, one city, or one community’s issue. Commitment, input, and the will to create change are needed from all sectors. Because the CoC is not a ‘program’ but truly a collaboration and partnership, financial resources, and valuable input are needed from all participating communities and organizations to ensure the CoC’s success.
Membership is open year-round to anyone in Jackson County, Oregon, including those currently unhoused. The CoC’s membership is a group of individuals interested in creating, implementing, and serving collaboratively to effectively address issues causing homelessness and to provide support to those experiencing homelessness. The membership forms a variety of committees that provide guidance and expertise to our leadership. CoC members are eligible to apply for funding through the CoC. Our membership application is available on our website here, through email or paper copy. If you need assistance applying please contact the CoC Lead.