Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Jeff Phillips has sent a letter to US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson requesting that the county take over the administration of the Guilford County Continuum of Care (CoC).

“As Chairman to the Board of the Guilford County Commissioners, which oversees the County’s Health and Human Services functions,” Phillips wrote to Carson, “I hope to be able to open a dialogue with you regarding the status of Guilford County Continuum of Care (CoC) program administration and facilitation.”

The Continuum of Care coordinates area programs meant to prevent homelessness and to aid those residents who currently experience it. Its work includes studying the situation locally, developing strategies to combat homelessness and helping the area agencies addressing the problem do so with a coordinated response.

Phillips said it recently came to the county’s attention that the City of Greensboro is interested in withdrawing from the Guilford CoC in order to pursue “an independent city-specific CoC initiative focusing on the residents of the City of Greensboro.”

“This announcement certainly comes as a shock to the County and the more than 50 partnering agencies that form the Guilford CoC,” Phillips wrote, “and is contrary to the collaborative nature that a CoC represents and is expected of by HUD. Amongst the many concerns with this announcement, are the impact it will have on some of our most fragile residents through the addition of changes to an already complex system: reducing access to services; division of resources; and diversity in standards of care.”

Phillips has been a long-time outspoken advocate of programs for the homeless and the need to address the issue in the community – and that work proceeds by many years his election to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 2012

Phillips informed Carson in the letter that Guilford County has had a great deal of experience over the years coordinating existing services effectively, and, as one example of that, he pointed to the success of the Guilford County Family Justice Center.

“Our county partners, with vested interests in reducing homelessness in a strategic, evidence- based and sustainable fashion, decided many years ago that coming together to serve our community was in everyone’s best interest in order that we could more efficiently collaborate on resources, training and best practice care service models with a no wrong door concept; which has certainly proven more vital than boundary lines and has a proven track record of success,” he added.

Phillips wrote the county’s goal, and the goal of the existing COD, is to prevent falling into a “siloed” mindset and practice when offering these services.