Author Archives: Pamela Schwartz

Action Alert: Sign petition and call to provide Mass IDs to people experiencing homelessness

ACTION ALERT from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless:

Please help us push the Massachusetts House of Representatives to ease access to Mass IDs for people experiencing homelessness by signing and sharing our latest call to action to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez. The one-minute online action asks them to strongly support passage of Senate Bill 2568, An Act to provide identification to homeless youth and families. The legislation would eliminate the $25 fee and reduce verification barriers to accessing Massachusetts identification cards by people experiencing homelessness.
The bill unanimously was passed by the Senate on June 28th and was assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means on July 2nd. The Legislature is scheduled to end formal sessions on July 31st, so your swift action is vital. (The House version of the bill, House Bill 2737, also is awaiting action by the House Ways and Means.)
Why is passing this bill important? Obtaining a state identification card is a critical first step for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to accomplish typical life tasks and access opportunities. ID is required for a broad range of life activities, such as:
·        Applying for jobs
·        Enrolling in education programs
·        Getting a library card
·        Picking up a package from the post office
·        Opening financial accounts
·        Entering certain government buildings
·        Accessing services
·        Interacting with law enforcement
The bill calls on the Registry of Motor Vehicles to waive the $25 fee for Mass IDs for applicants who are experiencing homelessness, and to accept alternative verifications of Massachusetts residency from state agencies and social service agencies.
Special thanks to the lead legislative sponsors, Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester and Representative Kay Khan of Newton.
To read more about the #EveryoneNeedsID campaign, please go to www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/access-to-mass-id-cards.
As the Conference Committee budget also has not been released yet, our budget action from earlier this week still is active. See below for more details or click here.
Thank you for your collaboration.
With gratitude,
Kelly
Kelly Turley
Associate Director

MCH Conference Committee Call-In Day of Action TODAY!

Please see action alert from Mass Coalition for the Homeless:

Please participate in our Conference Committee call-in day action. We are looking to generate as many calls as possible to the lead budget negotiators, Representative Jeff Sánchez and Senator Karen Spilka. The official call-in day will be today, Monday, June 25th.
When you call, please ask the Chairs to ensure that the Coalition’s Conference Committee priorities on housing and services for youth/young adults experiencing homelessnessEmergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program, Emergency Assistance (places not meant for human habitation language and application access), Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, and the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program are reflected in their compromise budget.
Representative Jeff Sánchez: 617-722-2990
Senator Karen Spilka: 617-722-1640
To read more about the Coalition’s Conference Committee budget priorities, please follow the links above and click here.
After your call, please email us to let us know you called and to share any feedback.
Thank you!

Workshop PowerPoints from 2018 Homelessness Resource Fair

On June 14, the Western MA Network to End Homelessness sponsored its 2nd annual Homelessness Resource Fair for providers.  The Springfield Republican gave it some nice coverage which you can read here!

The Fair included 8 workshops on various homelessness-related topics.  Many of the over 200 Fair attendees requested the PowerPoint presentations that were offered, which you can now find below.

DHCD HomeBASE Training
DHCD Emergency Assistance Training
Homelessness and Addiction (Opioid Epidemic)
Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers
Individual Chronic Homelessness
Youth/Young Adult Homelessness
Domestic Violence and Homelessness
Career Services

Special thanks to all the workshop presenters who made these presentations possible: Alvina Brevard and Amy Mullen, DHCD; Mollie Sullivan, Geraldine Kennedy and Hollie Garvey, Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless, Jane Edmonstone, Community Legal Aid, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet and Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless,/CSO, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Emily English, Gandara Center, Ann Lentini, Domus Inc, Jenny Davila, Center for Human Development, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, Pamela Wojtkowski, BerkshireWorks, Maegan Pedemonti, Way Finders.

We look forward to providing more these trainings over the course of the coming year, culminating in our 3rd annual Resource Fair (with more space!) next June.  Please stay tuned!

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18
 
In attendance:  Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, Holyoke Community College, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
Homelessness Resource Fair Debrief:
Summary of comments and brainstorm: In the big picture, a success – such an amazing turn-out with great energy. In the smaller picture, it was too many people (a good problem!) to accomplish the most of what we want to accomplish (true resource sharing, a chance to dialogue and get to all the tables, a chance to get trained on sub-topics).
Our brainstorm landed us on the consensus recommendation that we should separate out the actual resource fair and tabling from the trainings.  Have the resource fair be JUST that – 2 hours of visiting tables and having conversation – and then have discrete trainings throughout the year on the range of topics offered at the fair.  This way, people are not being forced to choose among competing topics AND we can afford to give each topic the time it deserves based on the content and complexity (as opposed to based on fitting in the flow of other workshops).  Pamela will take this suggestion to the other committees and report back.
New youth housing units in Northampton:  
DIAL/SELF is managing these units.  For the pre-application form click here and for the brochure click here.

MANY learning collaborative:
MANY is the Mid-Atlantic Network for Youth – a national trade organization for runaway/homeless youth.  It is sponsoring a series of best practices phone/web meetings starting this Wed.  Our Committee members are able to participate (thanks to DIAL/SELF for leveraging their membership!).  The first call is this Wed.  We will stay posted.

Update on State Plan to End Homelessness: The report has been issued; the Commission is now focused on hiring an executive director.
FY19 State Budget update:  The budget is now in Conference Committee.  The Senate budget proposed funding at $3.3 million, the highest by far (House at $1m, Gov. at $2m).  We are calling our legislators and will keep everyone posted.
Evaluation of FY18 and Western MA youth homelessness: The group agreed that it would be useful to review this past year around both outcomes and the factors influencing those outcomes, e.g., the funding loss and the consequence to young adults’ engagement with services.  The groups will also review the basic indicators of:
# housed
# on wait list
length of stay
returns to homelessness
We will exchange reports and discuss at our next meeting.
Gander’s Youth Impact Center at 41 Taylor Street in Springfield:  Fantastic opening; fantastic resource for young people.  Everyone should visit!
 
Next meeting date:
August 8 9 am – 10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC