HAWNY started as the Erie County Commission on Homelessness, 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 in 2005 to act as the lead agency for the Erie County CoC. In 2013, the Erie County CoC merged with the Niagara County CoC. On April 1, 2015, the larger CoC merged with the Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties CoC. HAWNY is now the Continuum of Care Lead for Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Erie, Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties (NY-508). We are also the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead for these communities.
The Continuum of Care (CoC) program is designed to promote community-wide 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.
HMIS is known locally as (BAS-Net). The system enables homelessness alleviation providers to enter client data into a centralized database. This streamlines the client intake process, facilitates prioritization for permanent supportive housing, increases organizational reporting capacity, and makes community-wide aggregate data readily available.