Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
September 4, 2014
In attendance: Deb Aloisi, Friends of the Homeless, Karen Dean, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Samantha Lambert, Friends of the Homeless, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services; Sara Lopes, Friends of the Homeless, Betsaide Maldonado, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Claudia Phillips, Mercy/Health Care for the Homeless, Lizzie Malave, City of Springfield, Tom Ray, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Joe Schroeter, Samaritan Inn, Rebekah Wilder, Craigs Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless,
Continuing Discussion of Coordinated Assessment/VI-SPDAT tool:
Gerry reported back about last month’s meeting in Northampton where it was decided to recommend to the Hampden County CoC Board of Directors that they require all CoC funded programs to utilize the VI-SPDAT tool. She wanted to review and affirm that decision again since attendees vary between Northampton and Springfield meetings. Gerry clarified that this vote would be an adoption of the basic principle; that policies and procedures would still need to be developed around actual implementation.
Jay Levy underscored the importance of the process and capacity for an override of a VI-SPDAT score due to various limitations, e.g., interviewing people who are not verbal and not able to sit through the survey, thereby scoring without many answers. He also noted the challenge of having staff and support services currently in existence for people living in shelter or on the streets which may have them score lower (and therefore not be eligible for permanent supportive housing) but without those services would not be able to maintain housing, i.e., in fact should be eligible for PSH.
Gerry noted that these issues will be addressed in the procedural guidelines to be developed, as well as issues around how to incorporate the survey results into HMIS; guidelines around confidentiality, process for how referrals happen and grievance procedures.
Bill Miller noted that the CoC funds a wide range of housing at different levels for different resources, and asked whether all funded programs will be required to use this tool regardless of funding levels and types.
Gerry explained HUD’s increasing emphasis on use of this kind of screening tool and anticipates it will see an absolute requirement for EVERY CoC program to assess and prioritize PSH under the Housing First model with the use of a universal tool. In short: yes, regardless of level or type of funding, every CoC program that provides PSH will be required to use this tool. But where there are particular programmatic needs or barriers, the development of policies and procedures will address them. model.