Systems Transformation and HEARTH

Since the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 was reauthorized and amended by the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009, HomeBase has been at the forefront of interpreting the new requirements and helping communities to implement the systems changes needed to comply with them.  

The major areas of systems change related to HEARTH include:

  • Formalizing Continuum of Care Governance and Oversight- Historically, Continuums of Care (CoCs) were often loosely organized groups of stakeholders. With the implementation of HEARTH, CoCs must have governing documents and a CoC Board. HomeBase has helped CoCs restructure and improve oversight practices.
  • Improving CoC Outcomes- HEARTH has a strong focus on measuring performance at the project and system levels. HomeBase has guided CoCs to determine how to measure success, create benchmarks for performance, develop systems for monitoring and evaluation, and realign CoCs funding and operating decisions in response to performance reports.
  • Coordinated EntryHEARTH requires that CoCs create one well-advertised, streamlined process to request homeless assistance in the community. Coordinated entry simplifies entry processes for homeless individuals and, at the same time, allows the CoC to prioritize scarce resources and understand the needs of its homeless population. HomeBase has helped CoCs design, implement and evaluate Coordinated Entry systems.
  • Streamlining Grants Requirements- HEARTH clarified and organized grant requirements for CoC and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) programs in order to reduce the administrative burden of implementing CoC and ESG projects. HomeBase has provided trainings and technical assistance to grant recipients to help them comply with the new regulatory environment.
  • Collaboration- HEARTH calls for increased collaboration at the community level to respond to homelessness, including among recipients of HUD funds: CoC, ESG, public housing agencies, and others. HomeBase has facilitated systems design conversations to improve collaboration and strategic planning.

Spotlight: Santa Clara County/San Jose Continuum of Care