Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
November 3, 2016
In attendance: Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, Steve Connor, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Jennifer Genovese, MBHP, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Terry Maxey, SMOC/Open Door, Scott McAllister, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Nework REACH, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services,Pamela Schwartz, Network, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless
Hampden County CoC Update:
REACH meetings are happening bi-monthly to do housing matches with the by-name list. The centralized intake system of HomeLink is underway (troubleshooting some challenges with technology). The use of the VI-SPDAT is being supplemented with a more in-depth look when needed, e.g., use of the secondary screening tool of the AZ Matrix. Flexibility to ensure most appropriate findings is part of the process.
Bill Miller reported on a conference he attended last week on the VI-SPDAT and related issues and affirmed this ongoing process of assessing and coordinating entry into housing. He noted that Hampden County is comparatively ahead of the curve in its system development; that our collaboration is exceptional. He also noted that the number of guests at Friends of the Homeless is lower on an annual basis (although still full daily). The by-name list, while not the single answer to ending homelessness, is proving to be a helpful tool. He also noted Gerry’s blog post on the VI-SPDAT – that while it is a helpful tool, it is only that in the context of a holistic approach, it is not the be-all-end-all to ending homelessness.
Joe Schroeter of Eliot Services noted that the ultimate challenge is finding housing for these individuals; that there is a lack of affordable housing available. Various ideas were thrown out, including contacting or presenting at meetings of the MA Landlords Association, reaching out to faith based communities, honor landlords who have been real partners in this effort, prospect of more project based vouchers through Springfield Housing Authority. It was also noted that Springfield currently has a disproportionate amount of affordable housing relative to surrounding communities and we need to persuade other cities and towns to participate in this effort.
It was agreed that we could follow-up as a sub-group to focus on this issue in more depth. Pamela will put a call out to plan a meeting on this topic (it was suggested to include John Fisher of HAP in the outreach).
Three County CoC Update:
Jay Levy reported that the AZ Matrix tool is continuing to be piloted, primarily by ServiceNet and Soldier On. Also outreach has occurred with Craig’s Doors. The feedback is positive so far but they will be looking for a more official review process shortly.
Jade Lovett reported on Craig’s Doors Seasonal Emergency Shelter opened 2 nights ago. Capacity is 22 beds. 16 men, 6 women. The women’s beds have been full the first two nights (overflow to Northampton cot shelter).
There is an ongoing conversation with the Town about increasing capacity to 34 beds. This is especially pressing in light of the fact that the Easthampton overflow site for the Northampton cot shelter is not available this year due to transportation challenges (none is available from Northampton cot shelter; formerly provided by Soldier On by volunteers but due to shift in population housed at SoldierOn, this capacity no longer exists). Dave Christopolis is writing s support letter to the Town for this expansion on behalf of the Three County CoC.
Jade noted that Craig’s Doors funding for FY17 is still unsecured due to its earmark being held until the Governor releases his decisions on 9C cuts. This is consistent with all earmarks statewide (including the Network’s funding).
Northampton cot shelter also opened on 11/1. Still has capacity (6 beds under).
Note on Friends of the Homeless capacity: shelter is full. Taylor Street seasonal shelter opened but that has had no discernible impact on FOH capacity (same).
Critical Response Team Update:
Dave M shared that the CRT meets through the REACH meetings, tackling hard-to-house/serve individuals who may require “out of the box,” cross-agency problem solving. Please here and here for forms related to CRT submission and assistance.
Dave noted the police/provider convening in Hampden County that has been very helpful in addressing some of the harder-to-serve individuals, bringing in veterans services, mental health, health care and housing providers to trouble shoot resolutions.
Collective Impact Conference Update:
Pamela presented a summary of lessons learned from the Collective Impact Conference in mid-October. Please click here for the attached Powerpoint for more information. The group agreed to discuss the principles of collective impact at our next meeting and how they relate to the individual services committee, specifically what brings people to the table, and how best the Network can support partners’ goals.
Next meeting: Thursday, Dec. 8, 9:30-11 am, Northampton Senior Center (note: not meeting on usual 1st Thursday due to conflict).