State and Federal Officials Join the Network’s Leadership Council

At the Network’s quarterly Leadership Council meeting yesterday, where over 40 leaders gathered from across Western Massachusetts, we had the pleasure of hosting special guests: DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein, DHCD Associate Director of the Division of Housing Stabilization Rose Evans, MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness Executive Director Liz Rogers and US Interagency Council on Homelessness Regional Representative Bob Pulster.

It was a rich discussion about the intersection of federal and state policies impacting homelessness in Western MA (stay tuned for more detailed minutes) and how we can continue to move forward with our innovative and collaborative responses.

For now, thank you to our state and federal leaders for their tremendous commitment and partnership.  And thanks to our fantastic Network Leadership Council for making the partnership possible.

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Secure Jobs Connect Advisory Committee Minutes – 10/22/14

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes
October 21, 2014

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Debbie Bellucci, STCC, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Harry Duchesne, NEFWC, Joanne Glier, DTA, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Lisa Lapierre, CPM Secure Jobs, Ses Lopez, SJC/CareerPoint, Darlene Morse, SJC/CareerPoint, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, FCRHRA, Rep. Aaron Vega, Holyoke

National Summit Report

Pamela, Phyllis and Lisa reported out on their trip (with Lynne Wallace and Dave Gadaire as part of the team as well) to Washington, DC on 10/16 to participate in the national summit on jobs programs for homeless job seekers. The event, co-sponsored by the Butler Family Fund, Dept. of Labor, HUD, and US Interagency Council on Homelessness, included 11 selected communities from across the country. We continued to feel very proud of our program in the company of others!  The day was hard-working and intended to give very concrete recommendations to federal agencies on how to break through federal policy barriers and better serve this population. Labor Secretary Perez and HUD Secretary Castro both attended to hear those recommendations. A Western Mass.’s recommendation was selected to be heard by the Secretaries: to address the loss of the precipitous loss of the safety net – the immediate reduction in cash assistance and SNAP benefits and increase of parent child care fees – when heads of household are just beginning to work and become stable, thereby threatening their housing stability altogether. Lisa shared the problem and recommendation directly to the Secretaries, as well as offered the 5 minute “speed round” talk about our program to the audience of several hundred. Lisa did a fantastic job and we all congratulated her for her excellent representation of our program.

Next steps: The US ICHH will be in touch to follow-up about continuing collaboration and exchange of ideas.

On the state level, Lisa spoke with Sue Beaton who offered to support our effort to better understand the nature of these policy barriers around the safety net loss, specifically what is federally or state driven and what is regulatory or legislatively determined. There has been some confusion about that from the state and federal agencies and we know we need to invest time and resources into gaining our own understanding.

We agreed we would establish a sub-committee to flesh out the list of issues and barriers to research. Lisa, Pamela, Robin Sherman and Jane Banks (volunteered in absentia) will meet to develop this further.

We also agreed to revisit the notion of inviting the DEEC Commissioner out to speak with our region about the prevailing child care barriers. Pamela and Lisa will follow-up with Sue Beaton to discuss this further.

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Presentation: Harm Reduction and Housing First

At the Networks’ October 16 Housing First training, we were fortunate to have Dr. Wayne Centrone, from the Center for Social Innovation and the t3 Institute, give a presentation on Harm Reduction and Housing First.

Harm Reduction and Housing First

Click here to view the slides from Dr. Centrone’s presentation (note, this is a large file; please be patient while waiting for download).