Homeless help for Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Erie and Niagara Counties
The Erie County Commission on Homelessness was created in 1992 by the Erie County Legislature to find ways to reduce homelessness in Erie County. By 2000, the Commission had departed from its government roots and incorporated as The Homeless Alliance of Western New York (HAWNY) in 2005 to act as the Continuum of Care (CoC) for Erie County. In 2013 HAWNY merged with the Niagara County CoC and it is now the Continuum of Care Lead for Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Erie and Niagara Counties (NY-508). We are also the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead for these communities and Cattaraugus County.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness. It is funded through an annual competition sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the McKinney-Vento Act.
In 2002, the Homeless Alliance of WNY was awarded a major federal grant to implement a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) known locally as the Buffalo Area Services Network (BAS-Net). The system enables homeless housing providers to enter client data electronically—streamlining the client intake process; improving awareness of client needs; increasing organizational reporting capacity; and making community-wide data readily available.