Allegheny County Continuum of Care


The Allegheny County Continuum of Care (CoC) is the wide array of housing options and services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, including: shelter, housing and supportive services*; outreach, engagement and assessment; and prevention strategies. The CoC also refers to the diverse group of individuals who comprise the community-based, homeless-assistance, program-planning network supporting Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, the City of McKeesport and the Municipality of Penn Hills. 

The Allegheny County CoC relies on the Homeless Advisory Board (HAB) to act on its behalf. Utilizing the expertise of its members, the HAB is responsible for planning, coordinating and operating a system within Allegheny County that meets the needs of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Members of the HAB represent individuals who are homeless/formerly homeless, service agencies, planning and advocacy bodies, and funders.

Four standing committees support the work of the HAB to supply advisory guidance and carry out its responsibilities. Ad hoc committees are convened to carry out special initiatives that can best be accomplished by focused efforts. Each HAB committee has two co-chairs, one representing the CoC-at-large (appointed by the HAB Executive Committee) and one HAB member. Co-chairs are responsible for setting the direction and agenda for the committee in accordance with HAB priorities and ensuring the correct membership mix is available for committee work.

The Allegheny County CoC Governance Charter(PDF, 499KB) summarizes the responsibilities and authorities for operation and governance of the Allegheny County CoC under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act (HEARTH Act).


Membership in the Allegheny County CoC is open to any individual interested in contributing to and productively shaping the delivery of homeless services. Continuum of Care members must annually attend at least one recognized meeting of the CoC (which includes CoC meetings or HAB committee meetings) and provide basic contact information.

Any member of the CoC can serve on a HAB committee. Every HAB committee has one co-chair who is a CoC member.

Each November, the HAB invites CoC members to join the HAB. Interested individuals may complete a nomination form for themselves or another person. Nominations are first screened by the HAB Executive Committee and the slate of proposed members is then voted on by the full HAB at the subsequent January meeting.

To become a CoC member, please contact Hilary Scherer at 412-350-4938.

Community Strategic Planning Process

The Continuum of Care underwent a community planning process to create a strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness in Allegheny County. An overview of the process is summarized in Preventing and Ending Homelessness - Community Strategic Planning Process(PDF, 110KB). Principles guiding the plan are included in the Guiding Principles: Allegheny County Plan to Prevent & End Homelessness(PDF, 356KB).

Community involvement was essential to creating the strategic plan, from a kick-off event in August 2016 through a series of focus groups, site visits, interviews and planning sessions held in late 2016 and 2017.

Using the input and information gathered over the past several months, the consultants, Housing Innovations, produced the plan below. The HAB voted to accept the plan on July 25, 2017.


Allegheny County Analytics: Homelessness
A range of research and analysis has been done related to homelessness in Allegheny County.

Homeless Services Plans

DHS supports the Allegheny County CoC as the Infrastructure Organization (IO) by taking on day-to-day and operational responsibilities. In addition, DHS is committed to serving the needs of those experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness across the department’s multiple program offices.
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*Homeless Housing Programs

  • Rapid Rehousing
    This program helps people move from homelessness to permanent housing in the community through housing search assistance, rental assistance, and service coordination.
  • Transitional and Bridge Housing
    These programs help individuals and families with housing for up to 24 months.  Each program offers additional services to help participants become more independent. Occupancy fees are based on a sliding scale.
  • PennFree Bridge Housing
    This program helps individuals and families who are homeless and for whom alcohol and/or drug addiction were/are factors in their ability to maintain housing.
  • Supportive Housing
    This program is available for individuals with disabilities, for families with a family member with a disability, and individuals who would otherwise be living on the street (chronic street homeless). Residents may remain as long as necessary. Each program offers additional services to help participants become more independent. Occupancy fees are based on a sliding scale.