Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 6/2/16

Individual Services Meeting
June 2, 2016

 In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Allison Brown, Amherst Community Connection, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Wendy Coco, Commonwealth Care, Jen Glover, Lifepath/FCHCC, Allie Haber, Network, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connection, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Jade Lovett, Craigs Doors, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gleidy Maria, Catholic Charities, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center

Seasonal shelter reports and updates:

Cot Shelter, Northampton (Nov 1 to April 30):
Total sheltered: 207 individuals, 158 men, 49 women
60% ages 26-40
17% ages 41-55
15% ages 56-70
8% ages 18-25

Geographic breakdown:
Northampton – 24%
Springfield – 23%
Holyoke – 10%
other Hampden – 9%
Greenfield – 4%
Amherst and Easthampton – 3%
Other Hampshire – 4%
Out of area – 7%

On the last day of shelter (4/30), there were 10 individuals, 2 went to Grove Street Shelter, remainder went outside or are unknown

Craig’s Doors, Amherst (Nov 1 to April 30):
Total sheltered: 214; 170 men; 44 women
average 10 women per night
Majority of guests ages 35-44
20 people over 55
14 people under 25
Race: 56% White; 18% Latino; 14% African American
On average, every night:
52% struggled with mental health issues
35% struggled with substance use issues
26% struggled with both
Trends: increasing population of aging guests; greater influx of guests from Springfield/Holyoke area
Jade offered to obtain a more detailed breakdown of town of origin for Craig’s Doors.

Friends of the Homeless, Springfield:
Bill Miller reported via email that for the month of May the shelter averaged 160 people per night. Highest May ever. Unclear why .

There was some discussion about if/how the Network should approach Holyoke and other Hampden County communities regarding their local shelter needs. Outreach has occurred by Northampton to Holyoke but without results so far. The complexity of this challenge was named – the tension with Housing First , more pressure on lower-income communities . We will continue to discuss.

Barton’s Crossing cot shelter, Pittsfield:
Erin Forbush: will provide exact data but could estimate now that roughly 150 individuals were sheltered during the season. 17 people were sheltered when the season ended; some went on wait list for permanent shelter bed; others decided to camp.

Amherst shelter/town/business relations:
We discussed recent local media that has drawn attention to the spike in police involvement with individuals residing at Craig’s Doors.   Meetings are underway with the Amherst Police Department and shelter staff to problem-solve. Training of police officers to avoid de-escalation is also underway. Amherst police captain is very amenable to problem-solving. Craig’s Doors is engaging in public education campaign around the complexity of the population – that homelessness is a symptom of larger problems. The fact that the altercations involve almost exclusively “out of town” guests adds to the challenge. Many expressed the concern over maintaining a behaviorally based shelter (as opposed to creating a barrier of no substance use); that coordination, communication and education are key.   The Network will participate where possible and useful, e.g, attend meetings and/or write a letter to the editor.

Continue reading

Individual Services Minutes – May 5, 2016

Individual Services Meeting
May 5, 2016

In attendance: Troy Brin, Veterans Inc., Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, Steve Connors, Veterans Services, Clare Deucher, SOAR, Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Tony Koniezhny, Clubhouse, Michael LaMothe, public speaker (former consumer), Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gleidy Maria, Catholic Charities Terry Maxey, SMOC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Patty McDonald, SMOC, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Evelyn Rivera, Eliot Homeless, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Eliot CHS, Jennifer Schmitt, Craig’s Doors, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

FY17 State Budget Update:

The House Budget was voted upon last week with mixed results. The Network’s priority to increase the shelter bed rate to $30/night did not make it in. The Senate budget will be released in the next couple of weeks and we will continue to advocate for its inclusion.

Additionally, the newly created Consortiums (for coordinated entry and prevention funds) was not funded. And the youth housing/services component was funded at $1 million instead of the necessary $2 million. Advocacy will continue in the Senate budget.

EOHHS Consortium and Youth Programs Update:

Gerry reported that these newly funded programs are up and running in Hampden County. Catholic Charities is focused on funding individuals with rental assistance and arrears, etc. HAP is focused primarily on funding families.

The Hampden County youth program is being run by the Gandara Center. They will provide up to a full year of housing subsidy and will also provide emergency housing through host homes (a la short-term foster care).

These programs are budgeted through the end of this fiscal year but it is expected to continue into next year as well.

Three County (via Community Action) is currently finalizing its contract with EOHHS.

CoC funding awards:

HUD announced its Tier 2 funding awards and our entire region fared very well (especially relative to the rest of the State and the nation’s CoC’s). Only 5% of all CoCs across the country received bonus funds and Hampden County was one of them. Congratulations to all! The new Hampden County CoC bonus projects include rapid rehousing money for youth (via Gandara’s SHINE program, allowing continuity of programming from the state youth funding) and longer-term rapid-re-housing (assistance up to 2 years) via Catholic Charities.

HUD registration for next year’s CoC round is already starting.

Homelink Update:

This is an online system that Hampden County is adopting to connect chronically homeless and unsheltered individuals and veterans to Permanent Supportive Housing. Training is underway and it will be incorporated as part of the Hampden County REACH meetings. Signing of Memorandum of Understanding, in conjunction with Release of Information, is underway and will allow providers to discuss each individual to ensure best housing match while protecting confidentiality.

Zero 2016 campaign:

The Zero 2016 campaign has offered to come into Hampden County to do an action camp for 1.5 days to focus on improving the system to make re-housing efforts more successful more quickly. Stay tuned for more details.

Jerry Ray retiring: party at Sam’s Tavern on May 5

Gerry invited everyone to celebrate Jerry Ray’s retirement (and his 22 years of extraordinary contributions to the effort of ending homelessness) at Sam’s Tavern on May 5 (tonight!), 5-7 pm. MHSA is also honoring him on May 12 in Boston. Please join us in thanking Jerry!

Youth Count and Survey:

The statewide youth count and survey (for 18-24 unaccompanied youth, including parents) is taking place right now, from 5/2-5/15; please contact Gandara Center for Hampden and Dial/SELF for 3 County to obtain surveys.

Three County Update:

The veterans committee is continuing to work on its by-name list.
The CoC is receiving some great support from TAC (Technical Assistance Collaborative)to help develop its governance structure and systems.

The group is preparing to launch the pilot of its vulnerability assessment tool (May 13), based on AZ Matrix tool. Will assess results and also continue to work out the individualized input (within a group context) regarding an assessment score. They are also exploring how to integrate the tool into HMIS data collection, although this is very complicated to do.

Special Presentation: Clare Deucher, SOAR Project ( SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery)

Clare is working under a one year SAMHSA grant (ends Sept. 30) to promote use of SOAR. Go to the SOAR blog post here  for detailed information on the program.

The goal is to integrate SOAR practice into agencies. Clare is looking for liaisons to get trained on a “team” who in turn can provide consultation to other team members. It would be ideal to find a local leader for SOAR here in Western MA, and one in particular targeted to serve veterans. Please contact Clare at

Next meeting 6/2, 9:30 -11, Northampton (Northampton Senior Center)

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 4/14/16

Individual Services Meeting Minutes
April 14, 2016

In attendance: Jane Braaen, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections , Michael LaMothe, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, David Modzelewski, Network, Terry Maxey, Open Door, Jennifer Schmitt, Craig’s Doors, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’sDoors

Special Presentation on SNAP policy changes impact Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents( (ABAWDs): We enjoyed a presentation by Jayna Mistry of UMass on the policy changes impacting ABAWDs’ access to SNAP. Please  click here for the powerpoint presentation. Thank you to Jayna, her colleague Shannon, and Lauren Arms-Ledwith of DTA for this learning opportunity.

Three County Update:
Jay Levy reported that there has been good progress in the implementation of the veterans by-name list to facilitate housing matches for homeless veterans. For non-veterans, progress is underway in the development of a vulnerability assessment tool to be used across the sub-region, specifically the use of the AZ Matrix Tool. The REACH meetings will be used to share results from the assessments and prioritize housing resources. Right now, Andrea is looking into linkages between HMIS and this tool to see if unduplicated data entry is possible. We agreed that it will be interesting to compare the use of the VI-SPDAT in Hampden County with the AZ Matrix tool in the 3 county area. Jay described the AZ tool as a more trauma informed care approach to engagement; also quicker and easier to use.

Hampden County Update:

  • Still focused on Homelink implementation. At next week’s REACH meeting we will have a first early use of it as we review who is on the by-name list.
  • Also moving forward on implementation of EOHHS grant–programs to start in the next two weeks
  • We are getting TA from Zero 2016 related to using our By-Name List to better understand inflow/outflow and how many PSH units/placements we need
  • Police/BHN street outreach is still happening regularly (twice a week) which has given us a much deeper understanding of our unsheltered population
  • Youth Count coming up 5/2-5/15 – would like to solicit volunteers to help with outreach since population includes 18-24 year olds and crosses over with general shelter population

Continue reading

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/3/16

Individual Services Committee
March 3, 2016

In attendance: Gwen Burke, Friends of the Homeless, Matt Castleman, Open Pantry, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville, SCARF, Todd Koniezhny, HRU/Lighthouse, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Tom Ray, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network

2016 Point in Time Count Results – Five Year Trends

Click here for Hampden County

Click here for Three County

We discussed the basically constant rate of individual homelessness over the last 5 years (last year’s individual PIT count was artificially low because of the extreme cold weather on the night of the count).   We analyzed that the priority has been on reducing chronic homelessness, which the region is doing, but that the rate of short-term individual homelessness is still high due to underlying factors of poverty and other economic, education and employment issues. We need to keep pushing for more comprehensive assistance to individuals in order to prevent homelessness and to prevent more people from becoming chronically homeless. This need is the basis for our legislative advocacy to increase the bed rate for emergency shelters, which is essential to provide the support system necessary to begin to meet the challenges.

Hampden County Coordinated Entry Update

Gerry reported via email:

  • Expectation that we will transition to combined single wait list as of April 1, 2016 – still figuring out technology that supports this, perhaps use of HomeLink and a Housing Navigator
  • All PSH providers must make sure that anyone on their wait list is on the by-name list
  • Meeting for CoC PSH providers to discuss/work out final details: March 8, 3 pm.

Some providers needed confirmation of that meeting date. Pamela will contact Gerry to provide that reminder.

Continue reading