On Feb. 14, the Network’s Family Services Committee convened a Family Homelessness Retreat. We had 33 people in the room, including DHCD Undersecretary Rose Evans, Fireman Foundation Special Initiatives Director Sue Beaton and representatives from other state agencies and providers across housing, health care, education, and more from each of our four counties.
It was a great day of learning and brainstorming and prioritizing. You can read the details of our discussion in the meeting minutes here.
Hampden County CoC Administrator and City of Springfield Housing Director Gerry McCafferty produced an impressive map of our family homelessness system for our review and discussion. You can find it – along with Hampden County data that informed our discussion – here. If you have comments or feedback, please email Gerry directly at GMcCafferty@springfieldcityhall.com.
Finally, for your convenience, below is the immediate priority decided upon at the meeting:
What can we do within the next 4 months?
The group agreed to focus its energies on convening a regional “surge event” that offered both information sharing around resources and relationship building across the region. The group agreed that this was a critical starting point to making broader system change: knowing all the resources that currently exist to serve families in housing crisis, who the people and agencies are that are offering them and how best to access them. The 33 people in the room identified gaps of knowledge among each other and decided well-planned information sharing within this community for themselves and others in the provider realm was the best place to start. There was unanimous (and hand-raised!) agreement to commit time and energy to a successful event.
We agreed to continue the planning for this event at our next family services meeting on March 14, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, at Center for Human Development, 51 Capital Drive, West Springfield.
We look forward to seeing many of you there!