The Department of Human Service Programs (DHSP) – Since HUD began requiring communities to submit a single application for McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants in the mid-1990s, the Cambridge DHSP has served as the Lead Agency for the CoC. In this role, DHSP has led a community planning process that identifies needs and coordinates strategies for addressing homelessness in the City, and that coordinates the City’s application to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program.  Three DHSP planners serve as co-chairs of the Homeless Services Planning Committee (HSPC), which is the main decision-making entity of the CoC. DHSP also serves as the Lead Entity for the CoC’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which is a data system required by HUD to enable CoCs to collect data and track performance.

CoC Cycle 978
In its roles as Lead Agency for the CoC and the HMIS, DHSP staff are responsible for managing and submitting several data collection processes on behalf of the Continuum, including: Annual Performance Reports (APR) for project sponsors, the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR), the Housing Inventory Count (HIC), the Point-in-Time (PIT) count, and the annual SuperNOFA application, which includes the Exhibit 1 (CoC application) and the Exhibit 2s (individual project applications for renewal and bonus grants).  The image above gives a broad overview of the CoC funding cycle, which requires system and project level data collection, analysis, and performance reporting.

The Homeless Services Planning Committee (HSPC) is a committee of providers and stakeholders that meets monthly as the main entity of the Cambridge CoC. The HSPC strengthens service delivery, and is responsible for year-round planning and data collection that culminates in the annual application for McKinney-Vento competitive grants (the SuperNOFA). The HSPC operates on a consensus basis to decide upon processes, priorities, and funding decisions. The HSPC is the primary decision-making body with respect to the SuperNOFA planning process; however, it relies on recommendations on the Bonus Project from the Bonus Project Recommendation Committee, and its recommendations on both the Bonus Project and renewal projects are subject to review by the SuperNOFA Steering CommitteeThe HSPC meets on the second Thursday of each month at 9:00AM at the YWCA Cambridge.

The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Working Group meets quarterly to oversee and inform operation of the HMIS. The Coordinated Intake Working Group is a subgroup of the HMIS group, with a focus on developing and implementing a coordinated system of intake, assessment and referrals.

The Emergency Solutions Working Group meets every other month, focusing on issues and planning related to crisis intervention: prevention, rapid rehousing, shelters, drop-ins, and outreach. This group also oversees planning for the annual street census. The Chronic Homelessness Working Group is a focus area of this group, with an emphasis on housing and service coordination for the CH population in Cambridge.

Bonus Project Recommendation Committee – Convenes once a year to review the Bonus project Concept papers and to decide what project will be recommended for selection in the CoC’s application to HUD.

SuperNOFA Steering Committee – Convenes once a year to ensure that the HSPC’s funding recommendations are vetted by a mix of persons and/or organizations with little or no financial interest in the decisions.