Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting – 7/5/16

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
July 5, 2016

In attendance: Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Dave Gadaire, CareerPoint, Allie Haber, Network, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Maegan Pedemonit, HAPHousing, George Ryan, Hampden County REB, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Maricelli Serrano, BerkshireWorks, Representative Aaron Vega, Pamela Wojtkowski, BerkshireWorks

Celebrating Secure Jobs Success:

In FY16, the program placed 120 heads of households into jobs, well over double the contract goal of 54 (and the best in the State!). The program also experienced a 93% retention rate. Click here for the progress report. FANTASTIC WORK. We celebrated with cake and a toast to the extraordinary effort with extraordinary results!

In terms of data analysis, Brandeis University will be retained by the Fireman Foundation for the first 6 months of this new fiscal year to finalize a data report.

Rep. Vega inquired about the data reflecting the relationship between these job placements and housing stability. The group agreed that this is a vital indicator of the program’s success. Ashley said Brandeis will be looking at this statewide; also HAP has just established its own database to be able to better track this data (among other indicators) internally. We should see reports from this database in the coming months.

FY17 State Budget Update:

We reviewed the final result of this year’s state budget that funded Secure Jobs statewide at $800,000. This is less than half of what is necessary to keep the program whole. Each program will experience significant cuts although the exact amount is unclear based on the number of programs that are able to continue under the current funding. Fortunately, HAP is able to allocate funds internally to keep their staff in place. The current unknown is the amount of flexible funds that will be available (which everyone acknowledged are critical to the program’s success). Also, HAP will no longer be sub-contracting with CareerPoint as a partner in the program.

Bud and Dave at CareerPoint pointed out that while the new WIOA law notes that attention should be given to several targeted groups, including homeless job-seekers, there are no special funds allocated for those services.  As always, homeless individuals will be welcome to access resources, workshops and other services provided by CareerPoint and the other career centers, but to be enrolled in WIOA, homeless participants must meet a number of eligibility requirements and must compete with other job seekers who  want to access very limited training funds or intensive career counseling services. At CareerPoint, homeless participants  will be provided as much support as is possible, but unfortunately they cannot receive the in-depth SJ services provided during the past several years.

Ashley also shared that HAP is pursuing SNAP matching dollars to support the program. They just submitted an application and are waiting to hear back.

Lisa of Franklin/Hampshire Career Center noted the value of serving families in Franklin/Hampshire County and asked HAP to consider that possibility again. We agreed that from a Network perspective the cross-regional support has tremendous value; we also noted that the issue is outcomes in the face of reduced funding for the program as a whole. HAP and FHCC will keep talking.

Ken of Berkshire Works noted that they are in the middle of conversations with HAP about HAP’s continued support of the Berkshire program. Berkshire Works has just hired Maricella Serrano to serve as the Secure Jobs staff person and Pamela Wojtkowski is in the process of training her.

Next meeting: Tuesday, September 6, 11 am – 12:15 pm, HCC, Frost Building 309.

Systems Performance Measures!

Finally our regional homeless service systems are being required to report upon system-wide outcomes: Who is staying too long in shelter, and why? Who becomes homeless again, even after living in a stable housing situation? Who is entering the CoC system for the first time? Most importantly: how can we use this information to guide our practices and improve our outcomes in order to end homelessness once and for all?

We’ll be working with you all over the next few months to figure this out. We’ll rely upon your knowledge and insight to craft our understanding and define our goals. We’ll need your feedback in order to devise ongoing reporting processes and monitoring forms. We’ll seek input from those who are most impacted – and pay them for their time – since insider knowledge will advance our work by leaps and bounds. We’ll recruit skilled consultants to help.

Please email us with your ideas and creative comments! Meanwhile, please review the system-level outcomes that we are required to report upon, and let us know how they advance our goals and how they fall short. Your feedback is important: We want & need to do this right.

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 6/24/16

Veterans Committee Meeting
June 24, 2016

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Allie Haber, Network, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc., Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, VA, Sabrina Willard, Springfield Partners Inc., DonYbarra, Springfield Partners

Action Camp Summary

The group discussed the Hampden County CoC’s Action Camp through the Zero 2016 campaign to address veteran and chronic homelessness. The Camp took place over 2 days, from 6/20-6/21, and it was a huge step towards developing a very concrete work plan. Areas of focus included:

  • Completing VI-SPDATs for 50 chronically homeless people and 10 veterans
  • Outreach: identifying gaps and making a plan to close them
  • Case Conferencing: how to structure REACH and other meetings (rotating complex cases with general housing match meetings)
  • Housing Navigators: how to sort out the assignment process and organizational buy-in (Gerry is meeting with executive directors)

The Hampden County CoC is implementing the tool Homelink to assist with tracking individuals on a by-name list and providing coordinated entry – tracking assessments, collecting documents and following their path from homelessness to housing through a housing navigator.

We discussed the specific challenges of serving veterans through this system. In view of the relatively small number, we agreed that providers would determine which meetings to attend on a case-by-case basis (when a veteran was involved). We agreed that the focus would be on veterans on the street or in shelter (as opposed to doubled-up).

Three County Coc:

The 3 County Coc met just yesterday to review their by-name list.   Meetings of providers are happening bi-weekly and substantial progress is being made.

VA Privacy Guidance on Authority to Make Disclosures:  We discussed the most recent notice from the VA regarding the capacity to discuss individual cases with community partners in the context of solving housing crises.  Please click here for the guidance.

Next meeting:
Friday, September 23
9 am – 10:30 am
Northampton Senior Center
67 Conz Street, Northampton

We will discuss at this meeting whether we move to a quarterly schedule to check-in on policy matters and overall regional progress; that now that CoC’s are developing their by-name lists, most of the work is taking place on a sub-regional level. We want to make sure we are not duplicating meeting time and effort. This evolution is a reflection of great progress in each CoC. Congratulations to all for the great work.

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 6/14/16

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
June 14, 2016

In attendance: Steven Acevedo, NEFWC, Jane Banks, CHD, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Hillary Cronin, VA, Jose Cruz, CHD, Juan Cruz, NEFWC, Yahaira Diaz, VOC, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Jessica Garces, CHD, Allie Haber, Network, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman House, Betty Miller, Valley Opportunity Council, Ita Mullarkey, DHCD, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Stephen Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Marisol Quinone, VOC, Jessica Quintana, WomanShelter, Liza Rios, YWCA, Josean Roldan, NEFWC, Eimy Santiago, VOC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Twjana Williams, DHCD, Linda Vega, VOC, Luz Vega, WomanShelter, Lyia Vega, CHD, Janette Vigo, HAP, Lauren Voyer, HAP, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools, Erica Zayas, VOC

 Congratulations to Western MA Partners!

We devoted this meeting primarily to a celebration of the significant progress made this year in ending family homelessness in Western Massachusetts and statewide. Click here and here for data from DHCD (thanks to Deputy Undersecretary Rose Evans) that captures that progress: in Western MA, family homelessness in motels dropped 84% since last year (from 127 to 20 families today). We also welcomed from DHCD Ita Mullarky, Associate Director of the Division of Housing Stabilization, who shared more impact information resulting from this year’s innovations, including targeted funds for hard-to-house families and focus on the diversion effort at the front door. A year ago, the diversion rate hovered around 5-6%; by this year’s end, the diversion rate is 25% (and even higher in Western MA). She applauded the diversion and re-housing effort in Western MA, and in particular the thoughtful, skilled approach to understanding and meeting each family’s housing needs.

Ita shared that last year the state was contracting with 49 motels statewide; that number is down to 22 now and DHCD is looking to end all motels over this next year. Ita also noted that 100% of families entering the EA system in Springfield are staying in Springfield and that statewide 80% of families are placed within 20 miles of their community of origin. This is also a significant advance from last year.

Ita shared that DHCD is looking at implementing a pilot project in Brockton and Boston to focus on additional targeting of prevention resources. It will provide an opportunity to track the effectiveness of strategic interventions around prevention.

We also took time to hear personal stories of providers’ experiences working with families and what it meant to support them on their path to housing. Thanks to all who shared and inspired!

A special thanks to Jane Banks and Center for Human Development for their incredibly generous hosting, including a celebratory cake for all!here

FY17 State Budget Update:

Pamela provided an update on the FY17 state budget process: the budget is currently in Conference Committee with differences being hammered out between the House and Senate budgets. Relevant updates include:

  • Both budgets include the expansion of HomeBASE to include families living in domestic violence shelters, which means it will be included in the final budget. This is a huge victory! And our collaborative effort between DV and homelessness providers contributed to the success.
  • Secure Jobs is funded at 3x higher in the Senate budget ($1.5 million vs. $500,000). The group noted the remarkable success of the Western MA Secure Jobs program (more than doubled its FY16 goal of job placements!) and how important continued funding is to maintain this success. Advocate for the Senate provision!
  • The Local Consortiums are funded at $1 million in the Senate and not funded in the House. We need to advocate for the Senate version!
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth funding received $2 million in the Senate and $1 million in the House.

To learn more, go to the blog post at: http://westernmasshousingfirst.org/2016/06/alert-conference-committee-action-on-network-priorities/

 

Please contact your legislators and urge them to advocate with the Conference Committee for the Network priorities. To find your legislator go to: malegislature.gov

 

Next meeting date:

Due to summer vacation schedules (in particular Pamela’s), we will not be meeting in July. We will meet next on: Tuesday, August 9, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, CHD, 51 Capitol Drive, West Springfield