Author Archives: Pamela Schwartz

CHAPA FY19 Budget Priorities for Affordable Housing and Homelessness Prevention

On March 16, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means held a public hearing on the FY19 state budget.

CHAPA attended and provided testimony in support of its priorities.  Below are links to their testimony and a summary of their priorities which provide an excellent overview of the affordable housing crisis in MA and what our state government can do to address it.  Please see the links below to learn more.

Thank you to CHAPA for their critical advocacy on these issues.  Let’s do what we can to support it!

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 3/14/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 3/14/18

In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Rebecca Guimond, STCC, Jayson LaBombard-Morse, HCC student, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Gandara, Juan Rivera, DCF, Jean Rogers, DYS, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Hampden County Point in Time Count Findings for Youth:

Gerry reported on the findings for youth – ages 18-24 – from the annual HUD Point in Time count conducted on Jan 31:

  • Total homeless youth 118, 90% were parenting youth in the family shelter system, 28 were neither parenting or with parents – 26 in shelter, 2 unsheltered (a couple living in an abandoned building)
  • Of the 118, 81% are female, 70% latina, 17% black, 3% non-hispanic white
  • Of the 26 non parenting youth: 61% female, 71% latina, 11% black, 11% non-hispanic white
  • Since 2015, the youth count numbers have steadily decreased, both among parenting youth and unaccompanied youth.  Parenting youth since 2015 have decreased each year from 243 to 111 to 106 to 90.  Unaccompanied youth have decreased since 2015 from 45 to 44 to 35 to 28.  However, it was noted that outreach during the count this year was less extensive than the previous year so the decline in numbers may only be a reflection of that lessened outreach.

A brief discussion of these numbers: the high percentage of latino/a homeless youth was noted – this is significantly higher than the percentage in the community (as opposed to African American percentage which is more consistent).   Also striking is the gap between the number of women and men (women so much higher).  We will further discuss.

The full PIT count is complete but for the final accounting of those who are living in FEMA sponsored motels as a result of the Puerto Rico natural disaster.  The total number in Hampden County is 1,047 or 393 households.

Youth by-name list and case conferencing: Gerry is convening the first youth-only by-name list meeting next Tuesday.  Youth providers will be meeting at Friends of the Homeless (since FOH is where the greatest number of unaccompanied homeless youth reside).  29 youth have been in and out of FOH over recent months.  They are in the process of being assessed with the youth VI-SPDAT. After the key providers and systems get established, they will invite other agency providers, eg., DMH, DCF, DYS to broaden the web of housing assistance and support.  This is an exciting development!

HUD Youth Grant: Gerry reported that the youth grant is due in one month. The engagement of a Youth Advisory Board is an important component. Rebecca reported that the new DMH funded Access Center Grant – an on-site drop-in center on Taylor Street – is a resource for engaging and meeting with youth.  Jean also reported that she has young people who would like to get involved. Rebecca, Jean and Emily will continue to discuss this Board development.

 Network 2nd Annual Resource fair: Pamela reported on the planning thus far with the planning team.  It is taking place on Thursday, June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 am at HCC.  We brainstormed the workshops and the desire to have longer than 30 minutes this year for each topic (Pamela will bring that back to the planning group).  The group agreed it would do a youth services workshop.  Pamela will reach out to Lisa, Jean, Emily, Ann and Rebecca to schedule a workshop planning all.

State Youth Count: coming up end of April/early May.  We agreed we needed to bring in the public school liaisons to help plan for outreach.  Pamela will do outreach to get them to our next meeting where we will feature planning for the count.

Network Evaluation Check-In: Pamela updated the group on the Network evaluation findings and the various committee mergers that are happening across Veterans and Individual Committee meetings (merging with CoC meetings).  There was general agreement that this youth meeting continues to serve an important function as is; that if anything our focus should be on additional outreach or targeted outreach depending on our agenda items.  Pamela will start with the school liaisons.

Next meeting date: Monday, April 2, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, HCC Frost Building Room 309

NEW Network Individual and Veterans Services Meeting Structure

Following the Network evaluation process of the last few months, the Network, in collaboration with the Hampden County and Three County CoC’s, has decided to merge its Individual Services and Veterans Committee meetings with the ongoing CoC meetings in each sub-region. As a result, the next meetings will be as follows:

Individual Services

Hampden County
Tuesday, March 27
1:00 – 1:30 pm (the first part of the by-name list meeting that will end at 2:30 pm)
Friends of the Homeless
755 Worthington Street, Springfield
Three County
Monday, April 9
2:00 – 2:30 pm (the last part of the REACH meeting that starts at 1 pm)
DMH/Haskell Building, 2nd floor conference room
1 Prince Street (Village Hill Drive), Northampton
The Network agenda will include items such as state budget and policy updates, emergency shelter needs and other regional issues that arise.
Veterans Services
With input from the Three County CoC and Hampden County CoC Veterans by-name list meetings, it was decided that the goal of regional exchange could be most efficiently accomplished by adding Network business to the monthly Hampden County CoC Veterans meeting.  There is already overlap between the two CoCs at this meeting so Three County CoC decided it was sufficient to have this Network addition to just the Hampden County meeting (as opposed to the 3 County veterans meeting as well).
This meeting will take place on the first Wednesday of the month, from 2:00-2:30 pm, with the remainder of the by-name list meeting to follow from 2:30-3:30 pm.
The Committee will meet next on:
Wednesday, April 4
2:00 – 2:30 pm
Friends of the Homeless
755 Worthington Street, Springfield
The Network agenda will include items such as state budget and policy updates, Statewide Veterans Commission updates, and other regional items.
Network partners also understand this more limited meeting time suggests that special meetings will be called when there are specific topics to address. Above all, this Network collaboration is continually an evolving process that will be adapted based on what best serves the goal of productive work towards  ending homelessness in Western Massachusetts.