Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/5/17

Individual Services Committee Meeting
January 5, 2017

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors

Point in Time Count Initial Debrief:
It’s too early for official findings, but we discussed the following:
Hampden County:

  • All shelters at capacity (Friends of the Homeless, Taylor St, Samaritan Inn)
  • 15-20 unsheltered individuals in Springfield – small increase
  • Eliot Services reported larger than usual unsheltered population in Holyoke/Chicopee but waiting for final numbers
  • Gandara Center held 2 events to reach out to homeless youth, one at STCC, another at Dunbar

3 County County:

  • Grove St and Cot shelter full
  • Craig’s Doors not full (oddly so, one unusual night surrounded by all-full nights)

Data Discussion:

The group reviewed templates of monthly and single night counts completed by Friends of the Homeless, Craig’s Doors and ServiceNet’s Interfaith Winter Shelter (Samaratin Inn was unable to provide due to resource limitations; Donna Nadeau of DHCD will reach out to encourage their participation). The group agreed to use the monthly template with the following modifications:

  • Add data point on number “new” to homelessness and number “returning”
  • Add data on number of women and couples who are turned away (breaking down total number which is currently provided)

We agreed we would continue to meet on the first Thursday of the month and plan to review the data from 2 months prior, e.g., for the March meeting we will look at January data. That leaves sufficient time for compilation and distribution.

Pamela will follow-up with Katie regarding the creation of a template to include all data points.

The group also discussed the issue of reaching out to Holyoke to discuss its shelter needs. Donna pointed out that the system is likely to be re-procured in FY19 (along with the family shelter system) and now is the time to lay the groundwork for a regional response when that arises.

Peg raised the issue of responding to the need for a woman’s shelter in the upper Pioneer Valley as well. We will discuss further at the next meeting.

Update on Hampden County Landlord Outreach meeting

Pamela reported out on the initial Landlord Outreach meeting that took place on Wed. 1/25 (attending: Margaret Curran, Mass. Discrimination Project, John Fisher, HAP, Charlie Knight, Rainville/former consumer, Joe Schroeter, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network). At that meeting, two primary agendas were identified: (1) to better understand the definition of “supportive” as it relates to Permanent Supportive Housing as it relates to encouraging landlords to rent to chronically homeless individuals and (2) to create a “PR strategy” for small private landlords renting to formerly homeless tenants. It was agreed that Pamela would facilitate the convening of a next meeting that would also include Friends of the Homeless, Hampden County CoC (Gerry McCafferty) and Jay Levy of Eliot Services.

FY18 budget priorities:

The group agreed to recommend priorities similar to FY17, including:

  • Increase in line-item for individual emergency shelters to $4 million (per statewide Coalition for Homeless Individuals) – this is instead of a specific bed rate increase but more of a focus on an overall increase in the line-item (question raised about how this would impact bed rate – Pamela will follow-up)
  • RAFT increase to include individuals ($13 m)
  • Tenancy Preservation Program funded at $1 million (increased from current $500,000)

 

Next meeting date:
Thursday, March 2
10:30 am – 12 noon, Friends of the Homeless

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