Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Back from the National Jobs Summit!

Our Secure Jobs team is pleased to report a successful trip to the October 16 national summit  in Washington, DC on jobs programs for homeless job seekers.

As one of 11 communities from across the country invited to share their experiences in this work, we listened and learned about other models and brainstormed federal policy changes to make these models even more successful.  We enjoyed the audience of HUD Secretary Julian Castro and Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez who heard our recommendations at the end of the day and committed to continuing the collaboration.

Each community produced a display poster capturing its work.  Below is a photo of ours with our team (from left to right, David Gadaire, Executive Director, CareerPoint, Pamela Schwartz, Network Director,  Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs Program Director of Corporation for Public Management, Lynne Wallace, Chief Operating Office, HAPHousing and Phyllis White, Director of Programs, Franklin Hampshire Career Center).

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We look forward to continuing this important work together!

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 10/14/14

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
October 14, 2014

In attendance: Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Melissa Brown, YWCA, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Cris Carl, ServiceNet, Claudia Catalano, DPH, Susan Colwell, DCF, Pat Duffy, Rep. Vega’s office, Harry Duchesne, New England Farm Workers Council, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Rose Evans, DHCD, John Fister, HAPHousing, Julia Guazzo, CFCE, Eryka Haase, Tenancy Preservation Proejct, Flo Haves, EEC, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Faith Lafayette, DPH – FOR Families, Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs (CPM), Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA DV Unit, Ses Lopez, CareerPoint/SJC, Ashley Mann, New Lease, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Janet Mock, Square One, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint/SJC, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Halie Nicolosi, Harvard Catalyst, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Tom Pilcik, New Lease, Dorothy Pink, Valley Opportunity Council/WIC, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Liza Rios, YWCA,  Hilda Santa, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Rachel Trant, DCF, Holyoke State Representative Aaron Vega, Janette Vigo, HAPHousing, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Abigail Williams, Harvard Catalyst, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Alicia Zoeller, Holyoke Community Development

Pamela welcomed special guests Representative Aaron Vegan, Rose Evans, DHCD Associate Director of Division of Housing Stabilization and Abigail Williams of Harvard Catalyst.

General update from Rose Evans, DHCD Associate Director of Division of Housing Stabilization:

Rose noted FY2014 highlights: 1,000 new households with MRVP subsidies; expansion of state investment in Secure Jobs statewide by $1.5 million; funding for 3,000 units of Permanent Supportive Housing through Housing Stabilization Trust Fund; increase of Household Assistance from $4K to $6K (continuing initiative into FY 2015). The Commonwealth reached a milestone of producing over 20,000 units since 2007.

Regarding shelter capacity: The Commonwealth expanded capacity in FY14, ending the year with an increase of over 700 beds. This effort continues into FY15 as the demand for shelter increases. Shelter capacity will increase by an additional 800 beds in FY15 with 200-300 in Western Mass.

The shelter system has not been “resized” since 2009. An increase in shelter beds is the most appropriate course in view of the continued demand and the desire to decrease reliance on motels and provide more comprehensive services to families.

The FY15 budget includes an increase in Household Assistance upon exiting shelter from $6K to $8K. This has enhanced families’ capacity to become rehoused.

Rose noted the New Lease program. Tom Pilchik, the director, shared that thus far it has moved 65 families out of shelter into apartments. Very exciting initiative.

Rose also noted that DHCD has started case management services at selected hotels (where there are high numbers of families or in remote locations).   DHCD also hired for a new staff position, Felisha Bennett, to oversee operations and to supervise 3 transitional specialists (Juanita Diaz In the Western Mass office).

Rose also noted the FY15 change in MRVP language so that MRVPs are now blind to EA eligibility. Families living in motels and shelter will not have a priority. DHCD is moving to a statewide wait list for MRVPs. This will take time to implement but the process is underway. Meanwhile, housing authorities have released frozen MRVPs and regional housing authorities have been issued new MRVP’s.

Rose provided a breakdown of the 450 families currently living in motels in Western Mass:
242 from Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin Counties
10 Greenfield
39 Holyoke
133 Springfield
22 Chicopee
Other 50% not from W. Mass. DHCD is working very hard to relocate families back to their communities of origin but they have faced the additional challenge of several “extended stay” hotels in Boston area discontinuing business with the Commonwealth. This has resulted in the loss of 233 shelter beds.

Gerry McCafferty posed the question of whether DHCD is considering use of a screening tool (similar to VI-SPDAT that is being implemented for homeless individuals) to prioritize housing resources?

Rose offered that DHCD can get to certain indicators through HUD assessments; can “drill down” based on certain critiera. She will look into that. Continue reading

Secure Jobs Hits the Road To Washington, D.C.

Today, our Secure Jobs team heads to Washington, D.C. to present our employment program for homeless job seekers to a national audience. Congratulations to the entire Network for making this success possible.

The Springfield Republican covered our journey today.  Click here here to read all about it (or see below).

And special thanks to fellow team travelers:  Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs Program Director of Corporation for Public Management, David Gadaire, Executive Director of CareerPoint, Lynne Wallace, Chief Operating Officer of HAPHousing and Phyllis White, Director of Programs of Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

We look forward to bringing back more insight and inspiration for our continued efforts!

From today’s Springfield Republican:

Area advocates for the homeless invited to share success of ‘Secure Jobs’ program at national summit

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in May of 2013, Pamela Schwartz, Director for the Western Ma Network to End Homelessness spoke about the newly launched Secure Jobs program (File photo / The Republican)
Peter Goonan | pgoonan@repub.comBy Peter Goonan | pgoonan@repub.com
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on October 14, 2014 at 1:10 PM, updated October 14, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Springfield – Area advocates for the homeless have been invited
to a national summit on Thursday to discuss the success

A team of area officials involved in Secure Jobs was invited to join the “Opening Doors Summit” at the U.S. Department of Labor, said Pamela Schwartz, director of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.

“We are thrilled to bring our success to Washington, D.C., and share to share it with federal and community partners,” said Lisa Lapierre, program director for Secure Jobs, within a prepared press release. ”We look forward to bringing back new ideas to help create new employment opportunities for the homes population in Western Mass.”

Secure Jobs is a workforce development program serving homeless families and individuals in the region.

In the first year of Secure Jobs, launched in 2013 and initially called Secure Jobs Connect, nearly 100 parents in homeless families entered employment, according to Lapierre. The program involves both private and public funds.

One year after its launch, 84 percent of the participants have remained in their employment and 95 percent have maintained stable housing, Lapierre said.

The Secure Jobs program is designed to integrate training, community service, work experience, child care, and transportation needs, officials said.

Thursday’s summit is sponsored by the Butler Family Fund, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The Western Mass. Secure Jobs program is one of 11 such programs in the country.

The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness was the convener of the Secure Jobs Advisory Council, which coordinates the workforce development efforts, Schwartz said.

The Secure Jobs program is a joint project of the nonprofit organizations Corporation for Public Management and HAPHousing.

Several officials from participating agencies plan to attend the summit.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 10/8/14

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
October 8, 2014

In attendance: Pamela Cook, Gandara Center, SHINE program; Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF; Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools program, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, SHINE program; Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center, SHINE program

Youth Count Report Discussion:

MA Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth recently released its report on the first Youth Count. Click here to obtain a copy of the report.  Both Hampden County and Three County CoCs did a great job with this initial round of surveying. We gave an extra nod to Hampden County for collecting close to the highest number of surveys in the state!

The report acknowledged, and we validated, that the number of youth surveyed and found homeless by HUD or state definitions, is an under-count of the population.   It can be very difficult to access this population and this first effort is a great building block for increasing that access and to demonstrating the needs of this population. Probably the greatest success was the building of an infrastructure that allows us to increase the quality and quantity of data for the next round.

We discussed how we are eager to get back from DHCD the CoC-specific data so we can analyze it more closely on a local level (the state report offered aggregated results).

Lizzy Ortiz shared that she attended HUD’s webinar on youth count and what she learned only underscored how well we did in our count (i.e., we already did much of what they suggested).

Lizzy noted that HUD made clear that from a federal perspective, there are no barriers to involving schools in the count and survey. We all acknowledged that addressing this barrier on a state level is critical to obtaining a more accurate and meaningful count. We will continue to discuss this with Sarah Slautterback of DESE and Liz Rogers of ICHH.

Planning for 2015 Youth Count:

We assume the count will take place between the week of 1/26-1/30 (subject to confirmation).

Hampden County:
Lizzy reached out to Catholic Charities for MSW intern who will support the count. She intends to expand their outreach to include the Springfield/Holyoke/Chicopee police departments; and the juvenile court system; probation department. We discussed the SHINE program as a potential resource for youth ambassadors, but acknowledged the challenge of transportation (a car is needed to deposit and collect surveys at various locations, etc.).

Three County: Lisa Goldsmith will connect with Dave Christopolis and Rebecca Muller around planning.

Brainstormed timeline for Youth Count:

Lizzy will send “master list” of survey participants to Pamela who will send to Lisa, Kim, Rebecca, Sarah (Kline) and Dave so all can review and brainstorm expansion

1st week of November: first contact via phone calls and emails o previous survey participants and potential new participants

1st week of December: provide the count plan, e.g., how it’s being conducted, the use of ambassadors, the incentives, etc.

Organize outreach events during count week (Hampden County only) first week of January – set location, sponsors, etc.

Next meeting: look at 11/18, following Holyoke liaison meeting (11 am). Pamela will follow-up with Jordana to confirm.