Given the administrative burden that is often associated with operating a Continuum of Care (CoC), HUD is strongly encouraging CoCs to merge if they have struggled in the CoC Competition or if managing their homelessness system is overwhelming. Mergers can be complicated and require lots of planning and coordination. HUD recently published the CoC Merger Discussion Guide to help CoCs:
- Make informed decisions about whether to merge,
- Understand the implications of merging, and
- Identify the key first steps to accomplish when merging.
The biggest concern smaller CoCs often express is whether they will maintain the ability to make decisions about how to serve those experiencing homelessness in their area and continue to have resources for their local needs. Bigger CoCs are frequently concerned with their capacity to cover a larger geographic area and remain competitive for funding. There are many lessons learned from previous mergers and HUD is planning on providing more resources to address these concerns and show how CoCs have successfully overcome them.
In the FY 2017 CoC Program Competition, HUD provided bonus points to CoCs that merged with the result that each of those CoCs experienced an increase in funding. HUD is committed to helping CoCs successfully merge – especially those that merge with CoCs that have not been competitive in the past CoC Program Competitions – and intends to continue to find ways to incentivize these mergers while building strong CoCs that can protect local autonomy and increase effectiveness.