CHAPA’s 2019 Housing Day at the State House

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CHAPA invites you:

Please join CHAPA for our 4th Housing Day at the State House on Monday, March 11th, 2019 at the MA State House Great Hall, 9:30-1:30 pm. This is an important opportunity for housing advocates to come together to meet with legislators to promote the policies and resources that will help every family in Massachusetts have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home!

At Housing Day, we will advocate for legislation and programs to produce and preserve affordable housing. Our priorities for Housing Day 2019 include CHAPA’s FY2020 Budget Priorities and CHAPA’s 2019-2020 Legislative Agenda.

A speaking program will begin at 9:30 a.m. (breakfast will be provided) when we will hear from legislators and housing leaders. This will be followed by meetings with legislators between 11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. (lunch provided for those staying for meetings) that CHAPA can help arrange for attendees or these meetings can be coordinated independently.

Registration is required to coordinate meetings with legislators. Please register here.

If you have any questions, or if your organization would like to be a cosponsor, please contact Eric Shupin at eshupin@chapa.org.

If you would like to carpool from the Western region, contact Pamela Schwartz at pschwartz@westernmasshousingfirst.org and she will assist with connecting people.

Opioid crisis in small and rural communities forum – April 11

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The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum invites you to save the date:

Join us on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at the UMass Amherst Campus Center for a forum entitled, “Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Small and Rural Communities in Western Massachusetts.”

This forum will focus on the numerous ways in which the opioid crisis has impacted Western Massachusetts, with particular attention paid to the social and economic consequences on employers and small and rural communities. Unique challenges and innovative solutions will be highlighted. A detailed agenda and email invitation will be distributed shortly.

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Amherst Room (10th Floor), Campus Center, 1 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003

Career Services Resources Fair a big success!

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Congratulations and thanks to the 18 resource providers and over 40 provider participants who joined together on Friday, February 15 to share and learn about resources to help create stable housing through stable employment.

Click here for the hand-out summarizing resources shared at the Fair and contact information.

Special thanks to Representative Aaron Vega of Holyoke for being there and his steadfast support of our Network’s mission.

And thanks to MassHire Holyoke for their generous hosting of this event.

We look forward to sharing in this opportunity again as part of our larger annual Homelessness Resources Fair that will take place on Monday, June 10, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, Holyoke Community College (more to come but please feel free to save the date now!).c

3 County CoC Director Job Posting

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While the Network does not generally post job descriptions, we are posting this one since it is so integral to the work the Network does.:

Community Action Pioneer Valley is the new Collaborative Applicant for the Three County Continuum of Care. Please see the job posting and go to their website www.communityaction.us and view their employment tab for salary range and directions to apply.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 2/13/19

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In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Gerry McCafferty, Hampden County CoC, Magnus Monroe, Davis Foundation, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kelsey Wessels, DIAL/SELF


EOHHS Youth Grant Updates3 County update:Focusing right now on needs assessment and winter sheltering.  Meeting with ServiceNet to discuss potential accommodations for youth in their shelter (while moving towards a youth only shelter).  Looking at a “youth protocol” for shelters based on a protocol developed by Father Bill’s shelter on the South Shore. On the assessment, will likely retain a consultant to assist with the project; currently gathering information. 


Hampden County Update:

  • Gandara (sub-grantee) has housed 4 people with long-term RRH assistance. Gandara is working on the youth shelter space but in the meanwhile is also working with Friends of the Homeless on the same youth protocol issue. Gerry is facilitating this conversation.  Above all the priority is to ensure youth who enter the adult shelter are quickly connected to youth specific services. Gerry will send to Pamela Father Bill’s protocol and she will send it out to the committee.  (Note post meeting: the link is here.)
  • CHD is close to hiring prevention and outreach person.
  • Retained consultant to do 3 things:  (1) needs assessment; (2) help with youth engagement and creation of a youth action board and (3) to improve chances of getting federal Youth Homelessness Demonstration project grant (3rd chance happening this Spring).  Hired Matt Aronson consulting (used to work at HUD, created YHD program). Currently cataloguing all services and collecting all contacts for needs assessment. Gerry sent out initial draft documents to the committee, requesting input. 
  • Consultants will be in town March 1 and March 8.  Kick-off meeting on March 1, 9 -10:30 am – Union Station, Springfield, 2nd floor
  • Hopeful that this planning and assessment process will provide for greater outreach opportunities when the state youth count occurs in May. 

Data reporting for both CoCs: Because this state grant requires some data that is not required by HMIS, e.g., LGBTQ status, 3 county and Hampden are working with Green River consulting firm to create an intake within the system which will collect all the required data. Currently being tested, will roll out completely soon.


Monthly data report for this committee:  We agreed it would be useful to get summary data on the grants on the:

# of youth referred
# of youth engaged
# of youth housed 

Also it would be useful to put these grant outcomes in the context of all youth housing work, i.e., “how many youth were housed this month?”


Hampden County Foster Care/Homelessness Project:Foster Care Intervention Project
Through the Hampden CoC’s work with the national Built for Zero campaign, it got connected to a nationwide study on the relationship between foster care and youth homelessness. A consulting firm, along with a graduate program in NYC, funded by a private family foundation (The Larson Family Foundation), focuses on “human-centered” designs of social programs. They interviewed a number of communities and selected two nationwide: Springfield/Hampden County and Phoenix, AZ.  We won the lottery! 

They will be doing a deep investigation on the journey from foster care to homelessness; will design interventions based on what they learn from our community, informed by data, will help implement pilot projects in response and study their impact, and eventually roll out these recommended practices nationwide.

There was an initial meeting last week where they explained the project as a whole. First step is “journey mapping” – pulling in the expertise from service providers and youth directly, on what happens in the journey from foster care to homelessness.  First session in Springfield is on March 1, 11 am – 1:30 pm.  Gerry will send out additional info to shelter and youth providers to invite participation.  This will be a 2 year timeline for the whole project, including summer piloting and initial evaluation, then determining interventions and implementing the following year and evaluating.  

Gerry has been in touch with Linn Torto of Mass ICHH who is connecting Gerry with the DCF and DYS Assistant Secretaries.  Will also reach out to DMH. 

OrgCode training report-out:  Lisa, Emily, Sharon and Pamela spoke with Erin Wixsten after the “awesome shelter” training to discuss youth specific strategies.  Click here for the notes.
Family RFI Response:  Youth providers were involved in providing their input to the Family RFI. Click here for the final submission which included young parent recommendations.


DCF Training – May 23, 10 am: We established our working group: Lisa, Jean, Gerry, Emily – Pamela will coordinate a meeting in a couple of weeks and touch base with Elorie Stevens at DCF to confirm plans. 


HUD PIT count Update:The count took place on and around Jan. 30. Emily reported on an outreach event at ROCA where 20 youth were engaged and completed surveys.  The data is being sent to Gerry now (unclear how many were actually homeless).


While it is too soon to have youth-specific results on the count, Gerry reported that 19 unsheltered individuals were identified in Holyoke; in all of Hampden County the unsheltered count was approx. 40, so Holyoke constituted half.  The high Holyoke count is most likely a reflection of the strengthening network within Holyoke – across the police dept., Tapestry, Eliot and other agencies. It’s a paradoxical reflection of progress to actually identify more of the population that is out there.


In 3 county, Pamela was able to relay Jay’s report of 28 total unsheltered individuals counted. 


Career Services Resource Fair: coming up Friday, Feb. 1, 10 am – 12 noon, MassHire Holyoke, 850 High Street, Holyoke

Save the date: 3rd annual Housing and Homelessness Resource Fair for all providers: Monday, June 10, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, HCC.

Next meeting dates: 
March 20, 10:30 – 12 noon, TBD
April 17, 9:30 am, HCC, KC 302
May 8, 9:30 am, TBD
June 5, 9:30 am, HCC, KC 303

Family RFI Response Submitted!

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The Western MA Network to End Homelessness is pleased to report its submission to DHCD’s Family Homelessness System Request for Information (RFI). Please see the Network response here.

By way of context, copied below is the Network’s “background information” for this response:
The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness is the collaborative vehicle for preventing and ending homelessness in the four counties of Western Massachusetts with a Housing First approach. This RFI response is an outgrowth of a series of meetings through the Network’s Family Services Committee, a committee comprised of over 100 members, including a broad cross-section of all housing and shelter providers, and partners in health care, substance addiction and mental health, domestic violence, child care, education, and workforce development, as well as state agency representatives from DHCD, DPH, DCF and DMH. This Committee selected a targeted number of questions that it felt would best reflect the region’s proposed vision to ending family homelessness. The Network’s Family Services Committee seeks DHCD’s adoption of its recommendations, and looks forward to continuing the work in partnership with each other and DHCD to prevent and end homelessness in Western Massachusetts and the Commonwealth as a whole.

Congratulations to all for the excellent work and the amazing partnership!

MCH Legislative Advocacy Day: Feb. 28

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The Mass. Coalition for the Homeless invites you to:

Please register today for Legislative Action Day 2019, taking place at the Massachusetts State House on Thursday, February 28th. Look forward to hearing from inspiring speakers, learning how to advocate with legislators, and meeting with your state legislators and legislative staff to talk about issues and policy recommendations to address homelessness in Massachusetts.


This year’s event will be hosted by State Representative Jim O’Day in the Great Hall (second floor). Registration and light breakfast will begin at 9 a.m., and the formal agenda will run from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. In the afternoon, participants will meet with legislative offices. Just indicate on your registration form if you need help setting up meetings with your legislators, and we will work to set up appointments for you.


Registration is quick, easy, and free: Register now.
If you would like to be an event-day volunteer, please sign up here.
If you are interested in being a speaker and sharing your personal testimony at the event, or helping the Coalition identify speakers, please contact Kelly.


Thank you, and we hope you can join us!  

Kelly TurleyAssociate Director
kelly@mahomeless.org