Individual Services Meeting
July 6, 2018
In attendance: Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Terry Maxey, SMOC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/CoC (by phone), Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Bianca Roberson, Open Door, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craigs Doors
Youth Initiative update:
Gerry provided the background: Hampden County CoC applied to HUD last year for funding for a special initiative to end youth homelessness. The CoC did not get funded but it scored high enough to be eligible to receive HUD Technical Assistance now to start a planning process to apply for funding in the next round. The funds will serve youth ages 18-24 at risk or experiencing homelessness.
The first kick-off session will take place at the next unaccompanied homeless youth committee meeting on:
Wed., July 12
9:30 am – 11 am
Springfield Municipal Building
70 Tapley Street, Springfield
All are welcome and please spread the word!
Built for Zero Learning Session:
Gerry reported that the second session is Sept 5-6 in Chicago. The first session was in Washington, DC in April where the group produced a 4 month timeline to reduce chronic homelessness through increased housing placements and system change to make placement quicker and easier. In June, 8 chronically homeless individuals were housed, one of the highest numbers ever and the numbers are looking very promising for July and August. We will have a more complete report at our next meeting.
6 people attended DC’s session, representatives from Friends of the Homeless, Mental Health association, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services and Health Care for the Homeless. There may be space for one or two more people in September but funding is unclear.
mostly people at the last session possibly a person or two more if a person really wants to come – key issue is whether there is funding
Discussion of committee meeting value and content going forward:
Pamela updated the group on a conversation she and Gerry had several weeks prior regarding checking in with the larger group on how our committee meetings were going. We thought this would be useful as we start the new fiscal year. People shared the following feedback about the meetings:
- they are a great way to get a broader view of what’s happening across the region, e.g., what’s happening with the youth initiative.
- they are a great way to share across the two CoC’s; to see what’s working and what’s not and to have an opportunity to share
- they are an important opportunity to hear what’s happening at shelters across the region
There was unanimity around these values.
Gerry raised the desire to use these meetings to discuss the progress around the Built for Zero initiative but was concerned that it would be too Hampden County focused for the group as a whole. The group discussed this and decided that it would be valuable to all across the region to learn from this effort. It was decided to structure to the meetings so that when they occurred in Hampden County, the agenda would have as its primary focus this Hampden County effort; and conversely when the meetings were in the Three County region (Northampton), the agenda would focus on Three County efforts. However, at both meetings, the agenda would always include shelter and any related updates for the entire region.
Northampton: Katie reported that the cot shelter is closed for the season; the resource center is very busy, roughly 25 people coming in the mornings (afternoons are by appointment only); Grove Street shelter is over-full right now.
Craig’s Doors (Amherst): Rachel reported that they just opened a new Resource Center. It is open Mon, Tues, Thurs, 8 am – 3 pm, Wed., 10 am – 3 pm, located next to the church in a re-purposed trailer. Congratulations on this development!
Friends of the Homeless: Janice reported that capacity averaged about 152 people in June. Last summer too there was not a significant decrease in shelter demand.
All shelter providers noted an up-tick in demand for shelter among women. The group noted that it could be useful to track and discuss this issue and possible responses.
Next meeting dates:
Thursday, August 4, 9:30-11, Northampton Senior Center
Thursday, Sept. 14, 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless (note: usual first Thursday in Sept. is delayed by a week due to Learning Session in Chicago)