With over 100 members comprised of individuals and organizations, the Milwaukee Continuum of Care has strength in diversity and breadth of participation. Members include shelters, transitional housing, individual consumers, permanent supportive housing, advocacy organizations, higher education institutions, local government, the public school system, faith-based institutions, domestic violence shelters, foundations, and private entities.
The Milwaukee Continuum of Care – Standing Committees:
The Continuum of Care is comprised of several volunteer committees and networking/task groups which have various roles and responsibilities. These committees/groups include:
Board of Directors: The Board of Directors will convene on a quarterly basis and more as needed. The Board of Directors functions as a committee that incorporates individuals who are affiliated with mainstream benefits and other community resources engaged in an effort to end homelessness in Milwaukee County. The intention is to be able be able to address larger system challenges. The Board of Directors makes decisions based upon recommendations from the CoC Meeting Bodies and Lead Agencies. The Lead Agency co-facilitates this meeting with the Executive Committee.
CoC Full Body: The CoC Full Body is the larger membership body. The Lead Agency facilitates this meeting. The meetings are typically every 4th Thursday of the month and are utilized to engage with housing providers outside of the Provider Advisory Committee members. This body also meets to learn more about other resources available in the community and to stay informed on current topics that affect efforts to end homelessness in Milwaukee.
Provider Advisory Committee: The Provider Advisory Committee (PAC) is comprised of homeless service providers; specifically those receiving Federal ESG, State ETH, CDBG, and CoC grantees. When an organization receives financial award from any of the three grants (Federal ESG, State ETH, CDBG and HUD CoC) they are then placed onto the Provider Advisory Committee. The workgroup convenes to facilitate service delivery among providers, provide input to the Board of Directors, address funding and service delivery issues, and help in the resolution of service delivery issues that may arise at the local, state or federal levels. The meeting is conducted on a consent agenda where members (both those who sit on the PAC and those who are part of the Full Body) can submit agenda topics to the Lead Agency. The Lead Agency is the facilitator of the meeting. The meeting is open to the public and entire CoC to attend, however only members of the PAC are able to vote (see Appendix 2). If the committee member is unable to attend, they may appoint one person as a substitute but must notify the Lead Agency via email. This is particularly important when the committee needs to vote. The individual who is substituting for the named committee member will be able to cast a vote in the absence of the named committee member with approval from the Lead Agency. The NOFA/System Improvement Team workgroup falls under the PAC and meets on a biweekly basis.
- NOFA/System Improvement Team: The workgroup is responsible for overseeing the project selection processes; specifically, public announcement of the funding opportunity, solicitation of letters of interest, development of the application format and scoring instrument, oral presentations, application scoring, project ranking, and bonus project selection. Review process includes examination of applicant(s) organizational capability, housing project specifications, supportive services, participant recruitment, and budget. Extent of housing emphasis, services provided to chronically homeless, as well as families, are also assessed. Committee recommendation is provided to the Board of Directors for review and approval. With the assistance of the HMIS lead agency, this committee will be charged with CoC data quality assessments, APR reviews, creating scoring matrixes such as the NOFA Scoring and Ranking tool, and analyzing the CoC’s system measurements. The group will report information and findings to the Provider Advisory Committee and other committees when requested. The requests shall be recorded via meeting minutes.
Coordinated Entry Leadership Committee: This leadership advisory committee is responsible for the compliance, grievances, funding and overall function of the Continuum’s Coordinated Entry system. The leadership advisory committee handles the annual revisions of the Continuum of Care’s Coordinated Entry Manual and the Provider MOU. All revisions are presented and voted upon at the Provider Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors. However, if needed, the Coordinated Entry Leadership Committee has the right to implement or add language to the manual without the approval of the Provider Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors at any time to reflect the system changes. Once this has been done, the Lead Agency shall notify the identified bodies via email. If there is discussion, the change will then be voted upon. The leadership advisory has seven seats, they are as follows:
- Lead Agency of Coordinated Entry, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County: Krystina Kohler
- Lead Agency of Coordinated Entry (System Operations), IMPACT, Inc.: Emily Kenney
- Lead Agency of Continuum of Care, The City Of Milwaukee—Community Development Grant Administration: Rafael Acevedo
- Lead Agency of HMIS, Institute for Community Alliances: Nancy Esteves
- Provider Advisory Committee, an appointed member: Andi Elliot
- Shelter and Transitional Housing Task Force, an appointed member: Donna Rongholt-Migan
- Milwaukee County Housing Division: Eric Collins-Dyke
Terms will be for 3 years and can be renewed; each seat is a standing seat and all individuals who take on the seat must be present for voting; no person sitting in for the dedicated seat shall be allowed to vote.
HMIS Workgroup: The workgroup addresses system usage, including discussions on data entry issues, workflow best practices, troubleshooting and data quality techniques, and training needs. The work group will also provide data related technical assistance, reports, and other needed support to the CoC, the Board of Directors and its workgroups/task forces.
Income/Employment Committee: This committee will address the immediate need of income resources of the Continuum of Care and assist in long-term homelessness reduction. The committee will also work to immediately connect clients to soft skill training opportunities, income from employment, income from ongoing benefits, and will assist in monitoring other areas such as other mainstream or noncash benefits.
Housing First Coalition: This coalition will address changing the system from a “service first” to a “housing first” system. The coalition will work to address moving system to having low-barriers in its programming, including homeless prevention, street outreach, emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe haven and permanent supportive housing. The coalition works with local landlords to advocate for housing opportunities as well as other initiatives to house individuals. The coalition engages the CoC in advocacy efforts for increasing access to resources that support the CoC’s Housing First Model. The mission of the Housing First Coalition is: ending homelessness through effective, sound policies and practices that promote the Housing First paradigm. The Housing First Coalition supports Housing First through community meetings, trainings, and education about Housing First at the policy and practice levels within the state and local governments and within individual agencies.
Outreach Committee: This committee will be under the leadership of Milwaukee County Housing Division, with their Housing First and Street Outreach program. This committee works as a tool of coordination between all street outreach organizations with the goal of providing housing and services to those living in a place not meant for human habitation, along with advocacy in relation to local homeless issues and community building.
Point In Time (active July & January): The PIT workgroup actively plans for the next Point in Time Survey, scheduled semi-annually on the last Wednesday of January and July. The workgroup is continually tasked with improving the Point In Time surveys, and developing and improving strategies of approach for highest success during the count. The workgroup’s processes are inclusive of collaborating with local jurisdictions within the Milwaukee CoC, based on the HUD Point In Time Methodology Guide in reference to the 14 Standards. To date, the workgroup has conducted a thorough review of the 2015 Point in Time survey instrument which resulted in several critical modifications to more accurately assess disability status, assessed the adequacy of the 2015 coverage and outreach strategy to identify specific ways to enhance future Point In Time counts, and developed a preliminary volunteer interviewer recruitment and training plan.
Project Homeless Connect: Annually, the CoC will adhere to provide free services for those experiencing homelessness through an event entitled, “Project Homeless Connect.” A committee will be convened every year based on the direction of the Lead Agency. The committee works to plan and implement the event.
Chronic Homeless Initiative Committee: The Chronic Homeless Initiative aims to identify those who fit the chronic homeless definition in Milwaukee County and find resources to permanently house them. It includes stakeholders from providers in the CoC, and leadership from the Housing Division, Institute for Community Alliances, and IMPACT, Inc. This committee is tasked with the goal of ending chronic homelessness in Milwaukee County. The Initiative currently meets monthly. The Initiative reports to the Full Body.
Veterans Initiative Committee: The Veteran’s Initiative aims to identify those veterans experiencing homelessness in Milwaukee County and find resources to permanently house them. It includes stakeholders from providers in the CoC, Veteran’s groups, and leadership from Institute for Community Alliances. This committee is tasked with the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in Milwaukee County. The Initiative currently meets monthly. The Initiative reports to the Full Body.
Coordinated Entry Shelter Managers Committee: One side effect of Coordinated Entry (CE) is that providers stopped needing to communicate as much because all client coordination is handled through CE. The Shelter Managers group meets monthly to always continue the conversation between shelter providers. There is no set agenda, but the group gathers to discuss timely issues and give each other updates. All shelter managers within Coordinated Entry are able to participate. This Committee reports to Coordinated Entry Leadership.
Unmet Needs Committee: The Unmet Needs group includes people from both the CoC and the Behavioral Health System who are interested in collaborating to break down silos between the two groups, identify unmet needs in service delivery, and identify potential solutions to resolve unmet needs. The group meets monthly. The Committee reports to the Full Body.
Community Engagement and Outreach Workgroup: The purpose of the CEO Workgroup is to engage members of the Milwaukee community in order to educate them on the multiple facets of homelessness as it affects the greater community. The workgroup will do this by planning and organizing events to bring people together for networking, training, and resource development as we work toward the CoC’s ultimate goal of ending homelessness. The Workgroup is open to anyone from the CoC. The Workgroup reports to the Full Body.
The above mentioned groups are considered “standing” committees. The Lead Agency can establish ad-hoc workgroups/committees as needed, and for as long as needed. The Lead Agency staffs and supports meetings.
*New committees may form periodically. Please contact Claire Shanahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414) 286-8199 to obtain current information about committees or propose creating a new CoC sub-committee.*
Affiliated Continuum Committees:
Shelter and Transitional Housing Task Force: The Shelter and Transitional Housing Task Force (formerly the Shelter Task Force) is a self-constituting group that provides advocacy, planning, service coordination, public education and resource development for emergency shelter and transitional housing issues on behalf of its members and clients. The membership of the Shelter and Transitional Housing Task Force (STTF) shall be directors or their designee of Milwaukee based non-profit emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and other related providers who offer significant services to the homeless. Task Force goals include:
- Foster active collaboration among community partners;
- Educate the public on the causes and consequences of poverty, homelessness and the public safety net;
- Advocate on the federal, state and local level to ensure adequate and effective safety net services;
- Develop white papers around homeless related issues
- Partner with the Milwaukee Community on developing local solutions and improving service delivery systems, and
- Fight for low-income and homeless families, youth, victims of domestic violence and single adults.
The Task Force functions as the planning and coordination entity for Milwaukee’s shelter and transitional housing system. In that capacity, STTF acts as an affiliate of the full CoC to study, evaluate, and recommend solutions to immediate and longer term system front door issues including: planning related to inter-county public mental health service delivery, implementation of a coordinated entry system for housing services, and program development related to joint funding applications for ESG, EFSP, SSSG, and other local and state funding.