Homelessness is a multifaceted problem that stems from a lack of social protection and the failure of many systems. Homelessness cannot be solved by individual people or agencies alone. Rather, ending homelessness requires collective community action. In Chicago, the Continuum of Care (CoC) leads our efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The work of the CoC is governed by a charter and an elected Board of Directors.
In 2019, the Continuum of Care adopted the Implementation Structure (IS), formerly known as the Action Agenda, to enact the strategic vision of the CoC. The IS of the CoC refers to the organization of the community’s work and goals. The IS aligns the work of the CoC with clearly established objectives and actions needed to prevent and end homelessness. It fosters collaboration and communication while allowing the Continuum to make targeted decisions and receive collective feedback. The work of the IS is currently led by All Chicago and includes efforts from Community Lead Agencies, Lines of Actions, Affinity Groups, and People with Lived Experience.
The work of the CoC IS is managed by two lead project managers from All Chicago. This includes the work of the community’s Lead Agencies, the Coc’s strategic initiatives reflected in the Lines of Action, and the stakeholder partnerships reflected in Affinity Groups. The entire CoC IS is guided by the leadership of People with Lived Experience.
On March 19, 2021, All Chicago held a webinar to introduce the 2021 Implementation Structure to the community. The webinar breaks down the system goals, priority areas, and opportunities to join the work of the CoC IS.
Collaboration throughout the CoC Implementation Structure (CoC IS) requires a shared understanding of roles, responsibilities, and the decision-making process. To help us create this shared understanding, All Chicago held a series of Community Conversations in 2021:
Recordings can be accessed by clicking on the links above. All Chicago summarized key points from these conversations as well as opportunities for how the CoC IS can implement these ideas.
All Chicago’s CoC IS Lead Project Managers and the Lines of Action Project Managers will work on the implementation opportunities identified in 2022.
Lines of Action
A Line of Action (LOA) is organized to advance the CoC’s strategic direction and address priority areas. LOAs centralize and coordinate collective work to solve complex problems. Broad community input and leadership is essential to the success of LOAs. Each LOA is managed by a Leadership Team. The current Lines of Action are listed below, learn more about each LOA in the Community Guide.
Affinity Groups typically form around shared investment in a specific population or the shared work of similar systems and organizations. Affinity Groups work together to address the needs and responsibilities of the CoC and help identify burgeoning concerns in the community. Affinity Groups work in partnership with the CoC to accomplish the system goals of preventing and ending homelessness in Chicago. They are staffed by community members and stakeholders, with a designated All Chicago staff liaison to answer questions and ensure the visibility of the group.
People with Lived Experience
People with lived experience help direct and drive the work of the CoC IS. They meet through the Lived Experience Commission (LEC) and Youth Action Board (YAB), and play integral roles throughout the continuum. Both the LEC and YAB have established decision making structures and membership responsibilities. They have representatives who serve on the CoC Board. They are also
supported in their work by All Chicago staff.
Lead Agency Work
Lead Agencies carry out duties on behalf of the CoC to support Chicago’s relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Their work is governed by (MOU) with the CoC Board of Directors. Lead agencies are selected by the CoC to push for progress in preventing and ending homelessness and are accountable to the System Operations and Performance Committee (SOPC) of the CoC Board.