Author Archives: Pamela Schwartz

Action Alert: Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families

Please join the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless and other partners to advocate for passage of the  Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families.  You can find the factsheet here.

The Hearing in support of this bill will take place on:

Monday, November 13
3-5 pm
State House, Hearing Room 1-A

Please reach out to your Senator and Representative to urge their support of Senate Bill 1906 (sponsor Senator Harriette Chandler) and House Bill 2737 (sponsor Representative Kay Khan). You can find your legislator by going here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

The Network’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee is a strong supporter of this bill.

Please convey your support!

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 11/2/17

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 11/2/17
 
In attendance: Grechar Aquino, FOH, Jesus Arce, Springfield Office of Housing, Sarah Hills, Eliot-CHS , Janice Humason, FOH, Nichole King-Bodiford, FOH, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS, Terry Maxey, Open Door, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, FOH, Christina Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Delphine Wray, FOH
Hampden County CoC Update (Gerry McCafferty): The shift to the new coordinated entry system (replacing HomeLink) is underway.  It combines the by-name list with HMIS info to allow for more complete information and history on the people being served.  The next step is a training on Nov. 15 to inform people about how to “refer in” to the system.  The group conducted a brainstorm of groups to reach out to, e.g., Providence Hospital, Noble Hospital, New North Citizens Council, Holyoke and Chicopee Police Departments, etc. Also upcoming is building out the system so it allows for making links to available housing, which will enable housing matches outside of and in between case conferencing meetings.  This should be up and running in the next few weeks.
They are housing roughly 10 people/month in recent months, up from average of 4-6.  This is a function of the Build for Zero strategy work, which includes putting in place systems to free up housing units and connect people to them as quickly as possible. Fantastic progress!
Based on street outreach, it is now understood that people living on the street go to Craig’s Doors in Amherst once their shelter opens (11/1).  Gerry will be reaching out to staff there to help bring them into the Hampden coordinated entry system to make it more possible to house these individuals before the shelter closes in May. This underscores the importance of cross-county coordination.
Three County CoC Update (Jay Levy): The seasonal shelters – interfaith cot and Craig’s Doors – is opening today.  The region is moving forward with coordinated entry, the 1-800 number is getting ready to launch; waiting on DHCD’s incorporation of the assessment tool into HMIS; the veterans committee is going strong.
Feedback on ICHH training question: ICHH asked for feedback from Network members regarding training needs for frontline staff working with all populations.  Specifically, the question is whether staff who may be focused on clinical concerns can miss tenancy-related issues which could de-stabilize an individual or family and lead to eviction/homelessness, e.g. failed unit inspections, missing deadlines for subsidy recertification paperwork, not reporting changes in income or family composition, problems with neighbors, etc.  Is this kind of training Network members would like to see?
Discussion:  The consensus is YES, this would be a useful training.  Housing stability can be tough to tackle when dealing with clinical issues.  Gerry will follow-up directly with Dave to get more info about what may be possible and will report back.
Network future discussion: Pamela informed the group of the Network Leadership  Council’s decision made at a meeting on 10/25: in view of the Network’s funding situation (likely not funded this fiscal year), the next 2 months will be utilized to retain committee feedback and professional facilitation to sort out the continuity of the Network without staffing.  The interim LC steering committee is meeting on 11/20 to discuss next steps more completely.  This committee meeting is the first opportunity to provide direct input on what is most useful (which will be relayed to the LC).  Comments included:
  • very useful to get big-picture info (not client specific) around the work that is being done; very helpful and informative
  • very important to have the opportunity for both CoC’s to come together and exchange info,
  • challenging to deal with meeting overload in general; would be good to examine: what are we doing, what is the goal, what needs to happen to get us there
  • Possible suggestions for reconfiguration included: inserting brief big picture updates at the start of case conferencing meetings (but it was noted that that would not allow for CoC’s to come together); meet bi-monthly or quarterly as a regional committee meeting, rotating facilitation duties; switch off between veterans and individuals so that still one monthly meeting
We will meet next (and continue this discussion) on:
Thursday, December 7
9:30 am – 11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 10/27/17

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – October 27, 2017

In attendance: Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sue Moorman, HUD-VASH, Katherine Persons, Veterans, Inc., Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweester-Owens, HUD-VASH, Allie Wilson-Pierce, HUD-VASH 

Our discussion this meeting focused on the debrief from the Network’s Leadership Council meeting on 10/25 in which it was decided that due to the funding situation (the Network has not yet been funded this year and it is unlikely it will be), the LC will use this opportunity to review Network functions and determine (with the help of a facilitator) how best to sustain the important value of the Network.
The group discussion reached consensus on the following:
  • the Network veteran meetings are very valuable for ensuring communication up and down the 91 corridor and for providing opportunities for innovative collaboration (e.g., the implementation of new systems to identify veterans in Hampden County Corrections flowed from these meetings). Everyone in attendance felt very committed to continuing to meet (and attributed this meeting’s low attendance to known conflicts, noting high level of attendance in preceding meetings)
  • Meeting every 2 months, alternating between Springfield and Northampton would be sufficient to accomplish their goals
  • Rotating the coordination of scheduling and reminder notice/agenda creation could be accomplished by committee members
  • At our next meeting we will discuss assigning “volunteer” facilitation roles and schedule meetings for 2018
  • Pamela will relay this discussion to the Network’s interim steering Committee which is meeting on Nov. 20 to discuss next steps for Network planning.
  • Confirmed next meeting date (previously scheduled) for Friday, Dec. 1, 9:15 am, MHA