Continuum of Care

The City of New Bedford coordinates a comprehensive response to homelessness through its Continuum of Care network. A Continuum of Care (CoC) is a community’s plan to organize and deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency. The CoC’s plan includes action steps to end homelessness and prevent a return to homelessness.

The New Bedford Continuum is rooted in the City’s Homeless Service Provider’s Network (HSPN), a collective of over 70 organizations, agencies and individuals committed to working together in addressing both episodic and chronic homelessness. Their mission is:

“The Homeless Service Provider Network Mission is to advocate on behalf of homeless individuals by enlisting the cooperation of homeless providers, to improve the accessibility of existing public resources, to maintain statistical data on the homeless population, and to provide supportive services and empowerment strategies to allow these individuals to be integrated into the community through a compassionate Continuum of Care. The HSPN is committed to the concept that each person is entitled to live in dignity”.

The City of New Bedford and the HSPN work together to produce reports and analysis of the homeless population in New Bedford and to develop services and resources for the homeless to find the assistance they need. This group also spearheads a collaborative effort to maintain and develop a comprehensive planning process around the issues of homelessness, to include:


  • Point in Time Count: The City and the HSPN undertake a Homeless Point-in-Time Count each January to determine the nature and extent of homelessness in New Bedford. Surveys are conducted of all sheltered and unsheltered homeless and an annual report is produced and provided to the community.


  • Street Sheet: The Street Sheet, is a comprehensive compilation of all local service providers contact numbers, and websites to direct individuals and families to critical services. The Street Sheet is available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.


  • Continuum of Care Housing Inventory: The City and the HSPN maintain an updated inventory of emergency, transitional, and permanent supportive housing beds for homeless families and individuals. These Housing Inventory charts are a valuable tool for tracking resources and needs along the continuum.


  • 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness: The City of New Bedford and the HSPN work to produce the 10 Year Plan to Eliminate Homelessness, a document that articulates the City’s formal strategy for assisting homeless individuals and families – both chronic and episodically homeless move from the streets and shelters to economic independence and self-sufficiency.

Emergency Solutions Grant

The City of New Bedford receives an allocation of Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds each year. This money is a federal entitlement that provides limited assistance to non-profits for emergency shelter, homeless prevention, street outreach, rapid rehousing, HMIS, and administration for those who are homeless and for those who are on the brink of homelessness.

The ESG program provides funding to:

  • Engage homeless individuals and families living on the street;
  • Improve the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families;
  • Help operate these shelters;
  • Provide essential services to shelter residents;
  • Rapidly re-house homeless individuals and families; and
  • Prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless.

HUD Continuum of Care Funding

The City of New Bedford competes annually for the Continuum of Care Program funding by responding to a SuperNOFA (Notice of Funding Availability). The City of New Bedford is the administrative entity responsible for projects overseen by nonprofit sponsors under regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The HSPN and the City have collaborated successfully since 1996 in applying for and receiving Stuart B. McKinney Grant funding to address homeless needs in New Bedford. The City was awarded $1.9 million dollars in funding under the Continuum of Care Program in 2013 for 9 programs offering transitional and permanent housing.