CARES is a not-for-profit agency founded in 1990. CARES’ mission is to work in partnership with persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and other disabilities in order to identify and address the needs of and improve the quality of life for those who are the most vulnerable in our communities. CARES achieves this by helping communities assess the unmet needs of their exposed populations and aids the communities in creating and coordinating the resources necessary to address those needs.
Since it’s inception, CARES has been instrumental in helping New York State counties develop innovative programs to reduce their rates of homelessness.
What is homelessness?
Homelessness affects all populations within our communities–singles, families, veterans, disabled, elderly, victims of domestic violence, and people suffering from chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS. In a one night study in January of 2012, New York State alone accounted for almost 70,000 homeless. Of those identified, approximately 56, 700 (81%) were in New York City, while the other 19% were spread across New York State.
Continuum of Care
In an effort to end homelessness in the United States, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) instituted the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program in 2012. This program combined three homeless assistance programs that previously existed: the Supportive Housing program, the Shelter Plus Care program, and the Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program. According to HUD, the new program was established to provide grants to nonprofit providers and State and local governments to quickly re-house homeless individuals and families to minimize trauma and dislocation, promote access to and effective utilization of mainstream programs, and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Since 2004, CARES has served as the Lead Staff for community-based homelessness programs in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Schenectady Counties. In this role, CARES has been instrumental in helping communities create partnerships between organizations and individuals, identifying unmet needs, developing community resources to meet those needs, promoting a coordinated community response, and providing support and technical assistance to other providers.
Beginning in 2012, CARES was selected by the community to act as the Collaborative Applicant for the CoC grants from HUD. In this role, CARES coordinates diverse groups of stakeholders and manages a number of complicated processes, including assessing need for housing and services, assessing the size and scope of the problem, assessing performance in meeting community and national goals, and the actual submission of the competitive grant application.