Family Services Meeting Minutes – 8/7/18

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
August 7, 2018
 
In attendance: Melissa Blissett, Square One, Joel Cox, NEFWC, Hillary Cronin, VA, Christine Cullen, Holyoke Chicopee Family Community Program, 
Jennifer Gonzalez, Holyoke Public Schools, Jessica Jacobs, TPP, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Theresa Nicholson, CHD, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Shuman, WomanShelter, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter, Janna Tetrault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools
 
State EA Data Review (click here)
Follow-up questions for DHCD:
  • Do the number of applicants listed in Pittsfield and Greenfield include phone applications?
  • Can we get families entering shelter excluding transfers?
  • Can we get diversion numbers (at the front door)?
  • Is there tracking of returns to shelter post end of HomeBASE benefit?
Pamela will follow-up with Andrew and Donna in advance of the next meeting.
FY19 State budget
Family homelessness related highlights include:
  • RAFT funded at $20m (including at least $3m for individuals)
  • HomeBASE benefit increased from $8,000 to $10,000
  • Elimination of family cap (so families are not penalized if they have another child while receiving benefits)
  • Youth homelessness was funded at $3.3m – will be used to develop a youth homelessness program in 10 regions across the state – Western MA is counted as 2 regions with Hampden County and Three County.
  • Tenancy Preservation Project funded at $1.3m (up from $500,000); the bulk of the increase will go to serve new housing court expansion in other parts of the state
  • The Network received its earmark of $125,000.  The Steering Committee will be meeting at the end of August to discuss budget planning.
Update on Puerto Rico evacuees
Way Finders is administering the METAR program (MA Evacuee Temporary Assistance Reserve Program) and has hired a team of housing case managers and a program case manager.  The program provides up to $8,000 for families and $4,000 for individuals. Thus far they have assessed 109 households (103 are living in hotels) and 22 families have been housed thus far.  Way Finders has walk-in hours, Tues.,Wed. and Thurs, 9 am – 1 pm.
Springfield Public Schools has 650 student evacuees.
Holyoke Public Schools has 250 registered student evacuees.
Hampden County CoC Update (from Gerry McCafferty via email):
  • Springfield-Hampden CoC is moving into coordinated entry for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for families.  Way Finders and NEFWC have been trained on electronic system, CHD and VOC will be trained soon.
  • CoC competition applications due by 8/8/18, 4 pm.  The RFP is available: Springfield-Hampden CoC Competition RFP FY18
  • CoC has just released RFP looking for local partners to apply for Mass Homeless Youth Program.  Note that target population are all youth 18-24, including parenting youth. Responses are due 8/29/18 and the CoC will hold a bidders’ conference on 8/17, 18, 10 am, Springfield Municipal Operations Center, 70 Tapley St. Springfield. Go to: 19-025 Homeless Youth Services and 19-025 Addendum No. 1
DHCD Procurement Meeting Debrief: On July 26, DHCD (Jane Banks and Donna Nadeau) convened a meeting of Western MA EA shelter providers to begin the conversation around the upcoming re-procurement process (not due out until next year). The consensus was that it was a good start; for some newcomers to the system, it was a good way to learn more about our current systems.  There was emphasis on the need for greater and more in-depth continuity of service – ensuring families are in the right program model that best meets kids’ and parents’ needs, especially related to mental health.  The group discussed the particularly complex challenges facing larger families.
It was noted that this was the first meeting and there will be opportunity for further discussion and planning together.  Pamela offered the Network as a resource in facilitating further regional conversations.
Announcement: Holyoke and Chicopee Family and Community Program (662 High Street, Holyoke) is offering a nurturing place program for infants and toddlers  – meets weekly on Tuesdays.  Call 413-536-0363 for more information.
Meeting schedule: all at Holyoke Public Library
Sept. 18 – 1-2:30 pm
Oct. 9, 1-2:30 pm
Nov. 13, 1-2:30 pm
Dec. 11, 1-2:30 pm

Legislature Overrides Vetoes and Finalizes FY19 Budget

Please see the message below from Eric Shupin of CHAPA:

Last week, the Legislature finalized the FY2019 state budget and overrode the Governor’s veto of the foreclosure prevention and housing counseling program (7006-0011). The House and Senate both voted to restore $500,000 to the program and re-insert language allowing grants to be made to support housing counseling programs.

Together, we helped to secure increased investments for 12 of our Building Blocks budget priorities – for an overview of our priorities in the final budget, click here. We also achieved important programmatic changes that will help make these resources more effective.

Again, thank you for your advocacy throughout the entire budget process. Thank you for every meeting, email, phone call, and hearing!

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association    ·    18 Tremont Street, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-742-0820    ·    http://www.chapa.org

To unsubscribe from future mailings please click here.

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 8/1/18

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
August 1, 2018
In attendance: Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Janice Humason, Friend of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Sabrina McGill, Soldier On, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, VA, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH
Built for Zero Update:  Please click here for the latest numbers on veterans (19 homeless veterans as of the end of June).  Last month 3 veterans were housed.  Making progress!
VHA-Ineligible vouchers.  Many of the homeless veterans on the by-name list are VHA ineligible. We are waiting on HUD’s approval of the MOU signed by the Northampton Housing Authority and ServiceNet that would allow for the use of HUD VASH vouchers for VHA ineligible veterans. Hampden County is hoping to house 8 or 9 veterans with these vouchers.  Gerry and Steve Connor are trying hard to move along the process and we are hoping for release of the vouchers very soon.
FY19 State Budget Update:  The final budget was signed a week ago. There were many positive outcomes for homelessness and housing, including an increase in funding for RAFT ($20 million statewide!) and the availability of this resource to individuals (at least $3 million).  Another exciting development is the increase in funding for youth homelessness, $3.5 million statewide, a massive increase relative to last year’s $675,000.  Please go to the Western MA Network blog – http://westernmasshousingfirst.org – to get more detailed budget updates (and please subscribe to it if you haven’t already!).
Network training calendar for FY19: Pamela shared the update on the Network’s plan to schedule targeted trainings for the year, drawing on the enthusiastic interest demonstrated at the Resource Fair.  The Network Steering Committee received the committees’ feedback and agreed to support a series of topical trainings throughout the year, culminating in the Resource Fair in June. Based on the level of interest at the fair, the Network will aim to schedule the workshops “Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers” and “Homelessness and the Opioid Epidemic” in the early part of this year.  Please stay tuned for an email inviting your additional input.
Next meeting date: Wednesday, September 5, 2 pm-2:30 pm, FOH.

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 7/24/18

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes 
July 24, 2018
 

In Attendance:  Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Olivia Bernstein, Mental Health Association, Lynn Conway, PDPR/BSAS, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical, John Fisher, Way Finders, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Marvin Gonzalez, Eliot CHS, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Hershelle Keaves, BHN, Todd Konlezhny, Lighthouse, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Hospital, John Paglier, Mercy Hospital, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Friends of the Homeless, Kathy West, Eliot CHS, Lynn White, Viaiblity, Kimberly Wiggins, BHN Mission West, Chris Zabik, DMH

Built for Zero Update (see attachment Chronic Report July 2018):
Gerry reviewed the Chronic Report with the group, noting that Hampden County just housed 10 people this past month, the highest since last December.  More than 20 individuals are in line to be housed imminently.
Total number of chronically homeless individuals is now at 84.   The data indicates that overall in-flow has exceeded out-flow but this is also a function of the by-name list becoming a more accurate representation of the number of CH homeless individuals in the county, e.g., added in the individuals at Annie’s Houses and Safe Havens. The number of housing placements over the months has varied widely, e.g., 2 in June, 10 in July.
The last Built for Zero conference in Detroit was productive. The Hampden County group decided on 3 things to focus on in the next 3 month period:
1. shortening the speed of referral within the system to husing
2. producing a list of landlords who house people with sex offense histories
3. housing VHA ineligible veterans with HUD VASH vouchers (just waiting on HUD approval to begin that process)
Shelter Inventory List:(see attachment)
The group reviewed the list and noted that the Samaratin Inn (on attachment as Greater Westfield Committee for Homeless) is constantly under-capacity.  The group agreed it would be useful to meet with Donna Nadeau to discuss this.  Pamela will include Gerry, Janice Humason, Sarah Hills and Lizzy Ortiz in an outreach email with Donna Nadeau on this topic.
FY19 State Budget Update:
Pamela reviewed the Conference Committee’s FY19 budget that was recently released and is now subject to the Governor’s review. Housing and homelessness programs did very well overall, including an increase in RAFT funding and the inclusion of funding for individuals in the RAFT program and $3.3 million in funding for youth services.
Note: since this meeting the FY19 budget has been finalized.  The funding outlined above stayed intact. For more information, please go to the Network blog – http://westernmasshousingfirst.org (and please subscribe to the blog where budget updates and other information are regularly posted!).
Network Training Workplan for FY19
Pamela reported on the Network Steering Committee’s decision per committee feedback to support the scheduling of targeted trainings over the course of the coming year, culminating in the Resource Fair in June.  Pamela sought this committee’s feedback on which of the trainings offered at the Resource Fair would be most useful to offer again with more time (and more opportunity to attend since there would be no other trainings offered alongside it).  Based on informal discussion and feedback, the group expressed interest in this order:
  • overcoming tenant screening barriers
  • homelessness and the opioid epidemic
  • domestic violence resources (NOTE: Gerry has arranged a training for the CoC on September 10 – will provide more details to the group shortly)
  • youth services
  • EA and HomeBASE for families
The group also expressed interest in focusing on landlord resources (how to locate landlords!), especially pertaining to housing people with sex offense histories.
Pamela encouraged people to contact her with any additional thoughts and she will provide another opportunity via a targeted email on this topic.
Next meeting date: Tuesday Aug 28, 1 pm, FOH.