Category Archives: Best Practices

image_pdfimage_print

The Network at Work!

On Thursday, June 14, the Western MA Network to End Homelessness convened its second annual Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers.  Congratulations to all for a tremendous success!

Over 200 people attended from across all four Western counties; 60 organizations from every sector of our community shared information and resources available to assist in preventing and ending homelessness.  8 workshops were offered (twice!), facilitated in partnership by over 20 Network partners, on topics ranging from the opioid epidemic to EA/HomeBASE to domestic violence, youth homelessness and more.

Western MA state legislators turned out to support our efforts: Special thanks to Representative Aaron Vega, Representative Jose Tosado, Representative Michael Finn and Representative Solomon Goldstein-Rose.  Senators were meeting in Boston that day but we had the honor of welcoming legislative aides from the offices of Senator Adam Hinds, Senator Carlos Gonzalez and Senator Donald Humason.

A huge thank you to Holyoke Community College and so many of its staff for their extraordinary support around this day. They made it possible!

The shared commitment and energy among the hundreds in the room was palpable (and fear not, we already know how we will create more room to move next year!) .  The determination to connect, to learn, to maximize every opportunity to prevent and end homelessness among the people of Western Massachusetts brought our entire community that much closer to our goal. Buoyed by comradeship and knowledge, we will continue the work!

left to right, Rep. Tosado, Rep. Goldstein-Rose and Rep. Vega

                 

 

Invitation to US Interagency Council on Homelessness Listening Session in Boston on December 6

An invitation from the US Council on Homelessness:

You are invited to attend a

LISTENING SESSION FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS ON
THE FEDERAL STRATEGIC PLAN TO PREVENT AND END HOMELESSNESS

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2017
10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
At the offices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Federal Building
First Floor Auditorium
10 Causeway Street, Boston, MA 02222

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is currently gathering comments from stakeholders throughout the country as it prepares to revise and strengthen the Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness. As part of that process, USICH staff will be holding a listening session in Boston on December 6, 2017.

This session seeks input from people who have experienced homelessness, service providers, advocates, and government officials willing to share their recommendations. The meeting is an important opportunity to ensure that our regional voices are heard as the updated plan is developed.

The current Federal Strategic Plan, Opening Doors, has helped drive significant national progress. But there is much more work ahead. You can review a summary of the goals, objectives, and strategies within the current plan in this Participation Guide.

The listening session will be led by Robert Pulster, USICH Regional Director.  The meeting is sponsored by the Region 1 Federal Regional Interagency Council on Homelessness and will include representatives from other federal agencies.

HUD will host the meeting at its offices at 10 Causeway Street in Boston on Wednesday, December 6th, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Participants are asked to RSVP by December 1st by emailing Josephine Hauer, Program Specialist for Strategic Initiatives at HHS, Administration of Children and Families: at josephine.hauer@acf.hhs.gov

Please note that you must pass through building security, so please plan accordingly.

If you are unable to attend the listening session but wish to provide feedback, USICH is soliciting input until Dec. 31. Comments can be filed on the USICH website at https://www.usich.gov/strengthening-the-plan.

 

Thank you and we hope to see you there.

 

Paul Jacobsen

Chair, Region 1 Interagency Council on Homelessness

Amherst Affordable Housing Forum: 10/25, 7 pm

 

Working the Amherst Housing Puzzle: A Community Problem Solving Forum 

Dear All,

We invite you to participate in next Wednesday’s Amherst Housing Forum (October 25).  We have new data and new ideas to share with the community.  We expect to engage in interesting and valuable conversations about what we can do to address our local housing problems.

During the past 10-15 years, Amherst has lost an estimated 800 households with children under 18, according to US Census data.  Significant numbers of homeless individuals are served each year by local service providers, but rarely placed in housing.  Barriers to developing new affordable housing in Amherst for both individuals and families often appear insurmountable.  What can we do?

These are the issues to be addressed by this Forum.  We are bringing together persons from both within and outside Amherst to lend their knowledge and experience to these issues.  But most importantly we are convening the community to discuss and develop ideas about what we can do to make changes.

This is a collaboration of the Amherst League of Women Voters, the Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Valley Community Development Corporation, and the Unitarian-Universality Society of Amherst. It is set for Wednesday, October 25, 7 P.M. in the Social Hall of the Unitarian Universalist Society, 121 N. Pleasant St, Amherst.

The sponsors wish to encourage the broadest possible participation in this Forum.  This invitation was also sent to other individuals and organizations in Amherst.  However, we probably did not include everyone we should have.  So please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested, even if that results in some duplication.  Also, a flyer about the event is attached for posting.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

John Hornik, Chair, Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

Rebecca Fricke, President, Amherst League of Women Voters

Joanne Campbell, Executive Director, Valley Community Development Corporation

 

P.S.  Looking for more detail?

Our plan is to organize the forum into three parts:

(1) An introduction and presentation of what the Trust and the Town are doing to address issues of both affordable housing and homelessness in the past year.

(2) This will be followed by a panel presentation on the development of a small, studio apartment building in Amherst to serve the needs of persons who have very low incomes or are homeless.

(3) The final segment will break the larger group into five smaller groups to discuss actions that could be taken to further address these problems.  They are as follows:

  1. Studio Apartments: Continued discussion.
  2. Encouraging and Supporting Development: How can Amherst best leverage available resources to maximize affordable housing? What are the barriers to affordable housing: What changes are needed?
  3. Preventing homelessness: outreach counselors – small investment for significant returns; useful models, effective strategies
  4. Finding homes: recruiting landlords; caseworkers to assist individuals and families in getting housed; useful models, effective strategies
  5. Changing the Amherst housing market: Developing Town and University policies to assure greater access to housing.

Homes for Families Releases Two Papers on Family Homelessness

Homes for Families is pleased to release our final two papers as part of our three year research project funded by the Oak Foundation.  Click here for more background information and links to the previous two papers.   
Our research took place from 2014 to 2017, a period of restructuring and launching of new initiatives to reduce the reliance on motels. These two papers are intended to highlight the experiences of families and offer recommendations for the next areas of focus in the ongoing efforts to address family homelessness in the Commonwealth. 

Family Experiences of Homelessness in Massachusetts: The Case for Family Centered Care highlights key data from a survey we administered to families in the Emergency Assistance (EA) program. Click here for a summary of the data.

Evidence Based Stabilization: A Solution to Reduce Family Homelessness in Massachusetts reviews national research about systemic and programmatic responses to family homelessness. The paper concludes by recommending an assessment and evidence based stabilization model be implemented across the Commonwealth. 

We look forward to hearing your reactions and ideas.  Please read more about this project on our blog and stay engaged in our efforts to end homelessness in Massachusetts. 

Western MA Health Equity Summit – 11/18, UMass Amherst

 

SPONSORED BY UMASS AMHERST SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SCIENCES
& WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH EQUITY NETWORK

Dear Colleagues,

I’m excited to announce the 2ND Western Massachusetts Health Equity Summit will take place on FridayNovember 18, 20169-3pm. The Summit will bring together practitioners and community leaders from across our four counties. We’ll work, learn, and take important steps toward greater health equity in Western MA.

Hear from  the 10-member Coalition of Western MA Hospitals/Insurer regarding their 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and the Berkshire County Health Initiative.

Participate in networking and collaboration opportunities.

Hear about Data, Stories & Best Practices from communities in our 4 counties working on health equity issues.

Keynote: Rep. Aaron Vega (Holyoke)

To register: http://wmhes.umass.edu/ for more information. Low or no-cost transportation available.

If you have questions, please contact the UMass Amherst Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences: at (413)-545-2529, email: risa@schoolph.umass.edu.

We look forward to seeing you there!

New England Summit on Ending Youth Homelessness: November 18, Boston

Save the Date!

The New England Federal Regional Interagency Council on Homelessness in partnership with the Liberty Mutual Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust invites you to attend:

A New England Summit on Ending Youth Homelessness
November 18, 2016 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Liberty Mutual Headquarters
175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Featured speakers include
Rafael Lopez, Commissioner
Administration on Children, Youth, and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and other national and state leaders working to end homelessness by 2020 

Make connections with federal, state, and local partners, community leaders, and other stakeholders committed to ending youth homelessness, and gain knowledge on policy, programs, and resources targeted towards ending youth homelessness.

Seating is limited. Registration information is forthcoming.

The New England Federal Regional Interagency Council on Homelessness is supported by:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ● U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ● Social Security Administration ● U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Education ● U.S. Department of Agriculture

For more information, please contact: josephine.hauer@acf.hhs.gov