Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Hampden County Individual Services Minutes – 5/22/18

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/22/18
 
In attendance: Gechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Olivia Bernstein, Mental Health Association, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot Services, Janice Humason, FOH, Nichole King, FOH, Todd Koniezhny, Jenifer Lucca, Samaritan Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Digno Ortiz, FOH, John Pagliar, Mercy Medical, Herschelle Reeves, BHN, Keith Rhone, FOH, Denise Rivera, FOH, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Kimberly Wiggins, BHN
 
 
Data Review:  We reviewed the Hampden County data produced as part of the Built for Zero campaign (click here ) that shows the in-flow vs. the out-flow and number of housing placements.  The group discussed the possible reasons for the increased in-flow in recent months, which included(1) the result of “word getting out” that entering the system leads to being housed – a consequence of “success” – so that people who have been chronically homeless are more willing to show up; and (2) better and more thorough outreach flowing from greater collaboration and community awareness.  The general sense was that the increased numbers were not a reflection of new people entering the region but a system better identifying who is there.
On the HMIS shelter data (click here), it was agreed that looking at this data monthly is useful in order to take stock as a group of the demand and any trends (while also recognizing that for FOH staff alone it is not so useful since it is largely their data).  It would be more useful if we could also look at it in relation to Hampshire County’s two shelters – Pamela will reach out to ServiceNet and Craig’s Doors (when in season) and continue to incorporate their shelter numbers in the review.
Gerry will adjust the spreadsheet so that we can see actual months (and probably show only 3-6 months as opposed to the whole year).
We agreed it would be most useful to look at the shelter numbers in relation to the housing numbers, i.e., are people coming into shelter being housed.
Resource Fair: Pamela reported that the Resource Fair has over 150 people registered to attend with 40 organizations tabling. People’s expressed interest in the workshop on housing chronically homeless individuals is high!  Please register if you haven’t already by going here: Registration Form
 
FY19 Budget Update: Pamela distributed information on the Senate budget amendments which are being debated this week.  Click here for CHAPA’s priority amendments.  Call/email your senator to ask for his/her support (on the Senate side, senators can sign-on to amendments up until the vote.  Find her your legislator here. If you are in Senator Rosenberg’s district, the other Western MA legislators have generously committed to representing your interests.  Call Senator Lesser, Senator Hinds or Senator Welch to request their co-sponsorship.
Additionally, Network priorities also include ABE/ESOL funding – Amendment #176 to increase funding from $31 to $33 million – and Secure Jobs funding – Amendment #525 to increase funding from $650,000 to $1 million. Senator Welch is already a co-sponsor for both Amendments (call to thank!) and the others should be contact to request their co-sponsorship.Next meeting date: Tuesday, June 26, 1 pm, Friends of the Homeless, 755 Worthington Street.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Present: Rosemary Fielder, HCC; Peter Cofoni, DCF; Kristine Rodriguez, Gandara Impact Center; Emily English, Gandara; Ann Lentini, Domus; Jean Rogers, CHD; Juan Rivera, DYS; Haley Woods, HCC student; Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, HCC student; Jenny Davila, CHD; Andrea Baker, STCC; Rebecca Guinard, STCC; Rebecca Muller, Grantswork; Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/Self; Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield

Youth Count
The Youth Count ended Sunday, May 13.  Surveys are still being collected and entered. Rosemary noted that the HCC event went very well because it was held in conjunction with a larger event–they collected a large number of surveys. In contrast, the turnout at STCC was low–possibly due to the two events being too close to finals. One idea was to try to coordinate timing with a larger event next year. Lisa reported that the 3-County count went well

The 2017 Youth Count Study has been released. The group noted that the results were not surprising. Both Jean and Lisa pointed to the comments as being very interesting and urged others to look at them.

Resource Fair
Youth agencies confirmed their workshop readiness and the plan to describe the process for young people to connect with services.  We are all going to bring agency handouts, youth help cards, a PYD handout, etc. and offer these resources at the workshop. The agencies will work together to produce a one pager summarizing all contact information. It was suggested to arrange the tables by population type (as was done last year).

Gandara Impact Center
Gandara’s Impact Center, at 41 Taylor St., Springfield, is a drop-in center for youth 16-21. The Center had a soft opening April 16, and is having a Grand Opening this Friday, May 18, 10 am – 2 pm. The center uses a peer model to link youth to resources in the community. The center has a kitchen, washer/dryer, computers, as well as flexible services and education/workshops.

HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) Application
The Springfield-Hampden County CoC submitted our application for this initiative in April. We won’t expect to find out until July or August.

MANY Learning Collaborative
The national organization MANY is offering a Learning Collaborative to CoCs on Coordinated Entry for youth. Both CoCs are interested in participating, possibly together. We are reaching out to MANY.

Wisconsin HopeLab
The results from the Wisconsin HopeLab survey of Massachusetts college students is out. This includes reporting at the state level, as well as for individual schools. Because it is so new, HCC and GCC reports are not yet available, but STCC indicated that they can share their report.

Point Source Conference
Lisa reported on the Point Source conference on youth homelessness, which she recently attended in New York. She said it was very good, lots of good information. Sessions were taped and will be posted online– click here for the link to the resources.

State Budget
Lisa reported on the state budget for youth homelessness. The Governor put this in his budget at $2 million, the Senate put it in at $3.3 million, and the House at $1 million. So, there’s optimism that there will be funding this year. Linn has mentioned wanting to get the RFP out before June so that they can move quickly to make awards, but it’s not out yet.

HCC Students
Haley Woods and Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, students at HCC, talked about the project they are working on to assist HCC students who are homeless. Rodrigo described his lived experience with housing instability, noting that he when he was coach-surfing, he didn’t think of himself as homeless, because he always had somewhere to stay. He is working on creation of tiny homes for community college students. At the same time, Haley is working on creation of a landlord network. Their common vision is that a student could live in a tiny home while they work through credit repair, benefits maximization, housing transition, etc. with the Thrive Center, and move on to an apartment found through the landlord network when they are ready. The students got feedback and ideas from the group about who else they should be talking to.

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/14/18

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/11/18
(Thanks to Jay Levy for facilitating and note-taking in Pamela’s absence)

Shelter Updates:

  • ServiceNet: Grove Shelter is full; they are now down to only one person couching it, as opposed to 3 people due to the overflow from the COT shelter closing down for the season. Several folks were placed in housing from the COT shelter leaving about 7 people that remained homeless and potentially unsheltered in the Northampton area.
  • Friends of the Homeless: April averaged 154 clients per night.  Female numbers were unusually high.  In May, numbers dropped significantly for both women and men.

Homelessness Resource Fair, Thurs., June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Please be sure to register if attending – either by going to this Registration Form or emailing Pamela at pschwartz77@gmail.com. Note that the interest in the workshop on chronically homeless individuals is as high as any other interest – people want to understand coordinated entry and how to serve this population!

FY19 Budget Updates:

  • The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its budget last Thursday.  The MA Coalition for the Homeless summarized the provisions that impact individuals:
    • Increased funding for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults from $675,000 in FY’18 to $3.3 million in FY’19
    • Increased Residential Assistance for Families in Transition funding from $15 million in FY’18 to $18.5 million in FY’19, and allowing households without children to access up to $3 million
    • For ABE/ESOL funding (a priority of the Career Services Committee : increased funding for $31 million but this is lower than the House budget and not up to the $34.5 million ABE Coalition ask).  Urging Senators to support Senator Eldridge’s amendment for increased funding to $34.5 million.

    Budget debate will happen next week (5/21) so now is the time to contact Senators to urge their support of these provisions.

  • Next meeting date: Monday, June 11, DMH Haskell Building, 1-2:30 pm (Network meeting 2-2:30 pm)

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/8/18

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
May 8, 2018
 
In attendance:  Shelly Benoit, BHN, Joel Cox, PFC/NEFWC, Hillary Cronin, VA HUD VASH, Fran LeMay, ServiceNet (Greenfield Family Inn), Yeisie Matea, DCF, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Steve Plummer Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, MHA/TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Tonya Sparks, Womanshelter, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Melissa White, VOCpartnership of affordable housing owners and homeless shelters – started 2012-2013 – private multi-family units – DHCD 

DHCD Data Review:  We reviewed the monthly report provided by DHCD (thanks to Andrew and Donna) and we determined the following questions that Donna will  follow-up with Andrew to discuss (thank you, Donna!):
  • Is it possible to get the number entering and exiting shelter without the internal shelter transfers included (since with them, the number tells us nothing)
  • The number of families with DV history has stayed constant at 42 for the past 4 months.  What does that tell us about the data entry?
Homelessness Resource Fair Planning
 
The Resource Fair is taking place on June 14, 9:30-12:30, HCC, Kittredge Center.  We have received registration forms from 101 people so far.  We have 8 workshops planned and have the opportunity to repeat 4 of them.  We agreed with the other committee input so far to repeat: how the EA system works; career services; overcoming tenant screening barriers and the opioid epidemic’s intersection with homelessness.
Anyone interested in attending the Resource Fair or having table space can simply be advised to email me at pschwartz77@gmail.com (it’s not critical to complete the registration form).  Most important is to have names of who is attending and organizations who want to have table space.
New Lease for Homeless Families – presentation by Tom Plihcik, executive director
contact info: tplihcik@newleasehousing.org, 857-233-5821
Special thanks to Tom for making the trip from Eastern MA to share an overview of New Lease and its work in Western MA.  Below are some highlights from his talk and the discussion:
  • New Lease is a non-profit organization that came into existence as a pilot project, initially through the inspiration and funding of affordable housing development owners seeking a better system for ensuring stable tenancies and fewer vacancies.  It is now funded by a combination of state dollars through DHCD, owners’ contributions and other traditional fundraising efforts.It is housed at CHAPA offices in Boston with a staff of 3.
  • New Lease offers affordable housing owners a way to utilize preferences (as approved by HUD) – in this instance a homelessness preference as defined by EA – to fill vacancies.  It partners with EA shelters to create a waiting list so tenants are at the ready, pre-qualified, paper work complete, and ready to move in when a vacancy occurs.  Owners decide how many units to allocate to this preference – could be every one, could be every other, or ever 5 – completely up to the owner.  It is also possible to implement other preferences, e.g, elderly, veterans – as allowed by HUD – which New Lease can help facilitate as well.
  • New Lease now works within 50 buildings across the state – 9 larger affordable housing owners – and partners with 16 shelter providers. Biggest regions are Boston and Springfield.
  • In Western MA, New Lease has 8 properties in Springfield, Palmer, Greenfield and Pittsfield. Working to get one in Holyoke.  Tom will send us a more detailed list of buildings in our region.
  • They have been housing people since 2013. 98% retention rate. The success also fuels the challenge of gaining more units (with such high retention, moving families in requires adding more units).
  • The program also offers a “mitigation process” for families who are rejected from tenancies due to credit or landlord histories.  New Lease creates housing success for one-third of the families who first time “fail” in their applications (98% success rate). They work with the longest shelter stayers to get them housed.
  • New Lease works with the shelter stabilization workers over the 12 months but then continues to provide support as needed.  They have created a flexible fund to deal with tenancy crises, e.g., rent arrearages.  They have just hired a staff person devoted to stabilization services.
  • If we have any contacts with affordable housing owners, please relay to Tom. Always looking for new relationships to build.  This effort is all about partnerships!
Update on Resources for PR Evacuees: Catholic Charities has received additional housing funds targeted to house PR evacuees.  It has housed 94 families thus far and another 100 families in process.  Please contact Kathryn Buckley-Brawner at k.brawner@diospringfield.org or 413-433-1007 for additional information.
Next meeting date: We agreed to meet the week following the Resource Fair to debrief (as opposed to our usual 2nd Tuesday which would put us 2 days before the Resource Fair).  We will meet next on: Tues., June 19, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, Location TBD.