Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
November 20, 2015
In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc, Donna Bryant, Springfield Partners, Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Tony Forzgalia, Veterans Inc., Mike Hagmaier, SoldierOn, Scott Haskell, Turner House, Gerry McCafferty, Springfield Housing, Wilfredo Melendez, Holyoke Veterans Services, Lizzy Ortiz, Springfield Housing, Katherine Persons, Veterans Inc, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Katelyn Sweetser-Owens, VA, Sue White, VAMC, Sabrina Willard, Springfield Partners
Hampden County Report
The CoC is running reports every 2 weeks in HMIS to track homeless veterans who are in the system. Currently there are 2 veterans in individual shelter, 1 veteran family in shelter, two veterans on the street, one of whom has been contacted by outreach staff. The Springfield Police Dept. collaboration continues to be useful.
On the agenda is developing similar police/service provider outreach collaborations in other large cities in Hampden County, e.g., Holyoke and Westfield. Gerry will do a larger HMIS check that includes family shelters across the county and is in conversation with Jim Mahoney of Holyoke Veterans Services to build outreach and data on Holyoke veteran population (without an individual shelter, there will clearly be very few).
While the county is at “functional zero” – housing veterans at a rate greater than the number who are homeless – Gerry is not interested in declaring the “end of veteran homelessness” while actively working to house homeless veterans. The upcoming PIT count in January may be well-timed to announce mission accomplished, but that will remain to be seen.
Three County Report
The 3 County CoC has retained a consultant from TAC (Technical Assistance Collaborative) to help develop strategies on ending veteran homelessness in the 3 County region. They will devise this plan over the coming month and implement between January and June.