Since the late 90’s, Central Oregonians have gathered to coordinate services and discuss solutions to the complex social issues facing those living in poverty. These stakeholders included nonprofit homeless assistance providers, victim service providers, members of faith-based organizations, city and county staff, emergency services personnel, law enforcement, parole/ probation officers, business owners, advocates, the public housing authority, educators, social service providers, mental health and healthcare professionals, affordable housing developers, people with lived experience, and others who care about our unhoused neighbors. By 2005, this group of concerned providers was meeting informally as the Central Oregon Homeless Leadership Coalition and completing the annual Point in Time Count.
On May 20, 2009, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was signed into federal law. Subsequent amendments to the Hearth Act required that communities nationwide organize into a Continuums of Care (CoC) for a designated geographic area in order to apply for and receive federal funding. The CoC program provides funding for housing and supportive services, homelessness prevention, system planning and data management. This model encourages communities to take a collective impact approach to end homelessness. In 2011, HLC formalized in accordance with Hearth Act requirements and applied for continuum of care status.