Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Springfield/Hampden County Funding Opportunities for Homeless Service Providers

There are several open funding opportunities for Springfield-Hampden County providers, as described below.

Opportunities Related to the EOHHS RFR

The Springfield-Hampden County Continuum of Care, through its fiscal agency the City of Springfield, has released two Requests for Proposals, seeking organizations to carry out homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing activities. The CoC’s funding of these activities is contingent on the CoC being awarded funds in response to its application to the Commonwealth’s recent RFR. The CoC RFPs were released Feb. 8, 2016, and responses are due back to the City of Springfield Office of Procurement March 4, 2016 by 2 pm.

  1. Administration of Flexible Funds for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing  The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to administer flexible funds for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. The agencies will serve as a pass-through for these funds, and there is no funding available for staff. Agencies will receive 5% of funds awarded for administrative costs related to administration of the program, Agencies must have a plan to cover/provide intake for the flexible funds in Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield and Springfield, as well as for victims of domestic violence–this can be done through partnerships with other agencies that will serve as Intake Agencies.
  2. Homeless Youth Initiative The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to operate housing stabilization, homelessness diversion and rapid rehousing for youth aged 18-24. The specific activities the CoC seeks are: employment of a Youth Stabilization Specialist; administration of flexible funds to prevent youth homelessness; operation of a Kinship Care program; employment of a Youth Rehousing Specialist, and operation of a rapid rehousing program for youth.

Springfield Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The City of Springfield has released a Request for Proposals seeking providers to operate activities under the federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. Eligible activities include homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, outreach services and operating support for existing emergency shelter. ESG funds are provided to the City to serve Springfield residents. This RFP was released February 1, 2016 and responses are due back to the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, on March 1, 2016 by noon. The RFP may be picked up in the City of Springfield Office of Housing, or may be obtained by email by a request to Gerry McCafferty.


Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/4/16

Individual Services Meeting
February 4, 2016

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office/DOC Office of Re-Entry, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veteran Services, Ezzell Floranina, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Emily Koplar, Catholic Charities, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, former consumer/Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Dave McClosky, Open Pantry, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU

Point in Time Count Update (preliminary results from 1/27 count)
Unsheltered count (thanks to Jay Levy for these preliminary numbers):

Three County:
Leverett: 1 (chronic); Amherst, 6 (4 chronic); Hadley, 3 (chronic), Northampton, 5 (3 chronic); Greenfield, 9 (3 chronic),

Hampden County:
Holyoke, 12 (5 chronic); Chicopee 3 (chronic); Westfield, 4 (1 chronic); West Springfield, 3 (1 chronic), Southwick, 0

Gerry also added Springfield number: 13, including 1 under 18

Total unsheltered count is 35 – similar numbers to 2012-2014 (2015 down b/c count occurred when bitterly cold)

Sheltered count decreased relative to last year.
Total count for Hampden County: 277 people

Not seeing much of a difference from previous years – between 266 and 277 since 2012

But it was notable that almost no shelter was full, i.e., there is the capacity to shelter the unsheltered. Also the numbers in transitional housing are down.

On veterans: last year 38 veterans, this year down to 21, a testimony to the outreach work going on.   No unsheltered veterans were identified in Hampden County; one in Three County.

Chronically homeless numbers are going down, another reflection of the successful work in housing some of the hardest-to-house quicker.

The number of unsheltered homeless people in Holyoke (12) suggest the need to consider a Permanent Supportive Housing project in Holyoke. More to discuss.

Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, on elder homelessness:

FCHC is changing name to Life Path as of March 1.

Jen has been the supportive housing coordinator for 9 years. Provides support services to all residents of PSH (a total of 100 units) through a partnership with Greenfield Housing Authority. She works with tenants to meet emergency needs (through various funding pools) and to maximize public benefits and to do whatever it takes to prevent homelessness. In 9 years, there has only been one eviction.

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Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 1/7/16

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
January 7, 2015

In attendance: Jesus Arca, City of Springfield, Matt Castleman, SMOC, Steve Connor, Northampton Veterans Services, Jessica Daly, Amherst Community Connections, Chad Fuller, Craigs Doors, Tina Giarla, MA Coalition for the Homeless, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Margaret Jordan, Human Resources Unlimited, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Todd Koniezhny, Human Resources Unlimited, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Sara Lopes, Friends of the Homeless, Jim Mahoney, Holyoke Veterans Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Yesenia Mendez, Friends of the Homeless, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, David Modzelewski, Network REACH, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Tom Ray, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Ramon Solivan, Friends of the Homeless, Antonia Stewart, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craigs Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

 New Definition of Chronic Homelessness: HUD released new final rule on the definition of chronic homelessness effective as of 1/15/16. Central change: repeat homelessness must add up to a period of 12 months (over 4 or more times over a 3 year period). HUD is offering a webinar on 1/13, 1-2:30 pm. Go here to register:

Point in Time Count: Plans are underway across both CoCs for 1/27/16 PIT. Shelters and transitional housing will be pulled directly from HMIS. Dave Havens of MHA is organizing the street count in Springfield; Jay Levy of Eliot Services is organizing in 3 County. For shelters who do not participate in HMIS, volunteers will be going there directly to count, e.g., Rescue Mission in Springfield.

By Name List:

Hampden County: creation of list of chronically homeless people or people on the streets has been in process since last Sept. The CoC is working in collaboration with police and emergency rooms and outreach workers to help identify those on the streets. Outreach to Chicopee, Holyoke and Westfield is underway. Behavioral Health Network and Police Dept. are working together to identify people on street who need intervention (most recently resulted in 4 people being brought inside to BHN on a very cold day). Very exciting new outreach effort.

Three County: working towards creating a by-name list as part of its TA with Technical Assistance Collaborative. Meeting with TAC for first time on 1/14.

NEW State (EOHHS) RFR to establish consortiums to address homelessness

This RFR was just released on 12/28, responses due on 2/2. There will be 3-5 awards statewide (a total of $900,000) to support some combination of coordinated entry work and use of flexible funds to support diversion/prevention efforts at the front door. There is also a youth component that can only be sought in conjunction with the main application that can serve 18-24 year olds in a continuum of services/housing (the expenditure of the $2 million allocated to youth services in the FY16 budget).

Hampden County CoC will meet to discuss this on Monday 1/11, 2:30 pm at 70 Tapley Street, Springfield. Three County CoC will meet to discuss this on Tuesday 1/12, 1:30 pm at 287 Main Street, Chesterfield (Hilltown CDC) or on the phone.

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Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 12/3/15

Individual Services Committee Meeting
December 3, 2015

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Matt Castleman, SMOC, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Donna Duval, Westfield Next Step, Chris Gelonese, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept., Tina Giarla, MA Coalition for the Homeless, Jennifer Glover, Franklin County Home Care, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Todd Koniezhny, HRU/The Lighthouse, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network REACH, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Liza Rios, YWCA, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, Westfield Next Step

Network Trainings Review
Pamela reviewed proposals from T3, which provides trainings on critical time intervention, motivational interviewing and trauma informed care. Group consensus: move forward and schedule!

Hampden County Chronically Homeless By-Name List Update
Gerry provided an update on the development of this list. Through the Hampden County REACH meeting input and HMIS, Gerry has created a template for a by-name list (first name and initial) that includes VI-SPDAT score and other relevant information (e.g., location, referral source). Currently there are between 50 and 60 names on this list, 15-20 are lacking VI-SPDAT scores for various reasons.   But those who are unable to complete assessment have received a “score” via a provider who knows the person. This list also starts to clarify who needs to be approached via the Critical Response Team (i.e., more complex cases). Eventually, a report will be run monthly to update who qualifies as “chronic” (and as a result needs a VI-SPDAT).   The list will continue to be refined, but this is a very exciting development for targeting resources for chronically homeless individuals and gaining a deeper understanding of the most vulnerable people in our community.

Re: Three County CoC: this effort will be brought to the next Hampshire/Franklin REACH meeting on 12/14 at 1 pm (DMH Haskell). ServiceNet experimented with the VI-SPDAT but did not find it ranked individuals true to their need (too low). Gerry pointed out that a revised VI-SPDAT has been issued that may do better, and will send it along to the committee.

MRVPs for chronically homeless individuals
DHCD has issued an RFI for MRVPs for chronically homeless individuals (CoCs or agencies within the CoC may apply). An applicant needs to commit to providing support services that will accompany the subsidy. Responses are due 12/9. 110 targeted MRVPs will be apportioned statewide.   ServiceNet may be interested – Pamela will send along RFI link ASAP.

Workplan Development Update

In working with veterans committee, Gerry drafted an initial workplan template. She framed the big picture questions that should drive the planning process: what do we know now? What do we wish to know that we don’t know? What are the gaps? What are the resources we need to fill those gaps? Who are we reaching and who do we need to reach?   E.g., outreach to housing authorities, a new HUD priority, where have a few relationships with housing authorities in our region but need to develop more or police departments…how do we structure our outreach and our goals in relation to it.

At our January meeting, we will bring a draft template for review and discussion.

Tina Giarla, MA Coalition for the Homeless

Tina visited our committee to share the MA Coalition for the Homeless’ legislative campaign to expand RAFT to include homeless individuals (including homeless youth and elders). It would change the eligibility criteria to define households as including all individuals and proposes to increase funding to 18.5m (from $12.5m) to make it possible. Click here to see a factsheet on the campaign.

The Coalition is seeking support from statewide and regional groups (thus far has support from Mass Senior Council, SMOC, MBHP and others). This committee’s response was very enthusiastic. Pamela will bring it along with other proposals for consideration to our January meeting where we will make our recommendations for FY17 budget priorities to the Network Leadership Council. The Committee expressed its interest in continuing conversations with the Coalition to collaborate in the advocacy process as much as possible.

Next meeting: January 7 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless, Springfield
Agenda items:
Point in Time Count
Workplan Update
Legislative priority discussion