Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/2/17

Individual Services Meeting
March 2, 2017

In attendance: Gechar, Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, Margaret Curran, Mass Fair Housing, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville/SCARF, Madeline LaSanta, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept. – AISS, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Terry Maxe, SMOC/Open Door, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Tania Olmo, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.,, Pre-release Ludlow, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors

Hampden County Point in Time Count Update (via Gerry McCafferty email):

For individuals, this year’s PIT count identified 269 persons in emergency shelter, plus 54 unsheltered persons. This is an increase from 2016, when there were 244 persons in emergency shelter and 34 unsheltered persons.

Shelters with higher numbers in 2017: FOH, Taylor, Samaritan, Womanshelter–all of which were at capacity. Each one was up by a fairly small number, but the accumulated increase was 25 people.

The unsheltered count was up by 20 people. This was driven by higher street counts in Chicopee (up from 3 to 8) and Holyoke (up from 12 to 16). In Springfield, the unsheltered count went from 12 to 23–a few more found by outreach, but also different types of people found at the Youth “come-and-be-counted” events, which identified several individuals living in cars, where they would be unlikely to be found during a regular street count.

A few notes–

  • The increase seems to be consistent with what I am hearing statewide, about increasing numbers of individuals.
  • At least one factor that seems to be driving increases is opiate addiction.
  • However, one factor that I think contributes in Springfield is that we have significantly slowed the rate that we are moving long-term/chronic into housing. There are a number of contributing factors to this, and I think that we will have higher-than-average numbers moving into housing in the next six months. But while this will relieve some pressure on the shelter system, the underlying factors leading to widespread increases are worrisome.

Data is still in DRAFT form, as there is still some clean-up and checking going on. I will have a full report in the next month or so.

Also, Gerry provided the hand-out (click here) that compared the Hampden County by-name list with the PIT count.

Analysis and discussion of increase in numbers included the following:

  • More volunteers counting, plus police involvement, i.e., higher numbers are a function of better identification, not necessarily a function of a higher rate of homelessness
  • Opioid addiction
  • Relatively warmer weather

Jay noted that increases in the PIT were seen all over the state, e.g., in Worcester the number of unsheltered people rose to 96, including a higher number of women, young people and elders. Jen shared her observation of higher number of individuals experiencing drug or alcohol use.

Review of data templates:

The group reviewed data submitted by FOH, Craig’s Doors, Samaratin Inn and ServiceNet (Grove St and cot shelter in Northampton; Wells Street in Greenfield).

Discussion:

There was general agreement that this data could be useful but we needed greater clarity around how to actually use it – how to package it (not in 5 different data templates from 5 different shelters) and how to analyze it. Donna Nadeau of DHCD was explicit that this data would be very useful to her in better understanding and advocating for her region.

The group agreed that the goal for this data would be to help answer the questions of : who are we serving, what do we need, where are the gaps and how do we fill them?

It was also noted that the number of Holyoke shelter residents across all shelters was significant and revealed a gap in Holyoke providing its own emergency shelter to its residents. The new statewide procurement process that is likely slated for FY19 may be an opportunity to address this gap.

It was also noted that it would be useful to get Pittsfield shelter information as well.

Pamela agreed to follow-up with Gerry and others to get more clarity around how to best use this data and will be back in touch with the shelter providers. Stay tuned on whether it makes sense to produce this data for next month’s meeting.

It was also raised whether this committee should sponsor an “individual services retreat” similar to that which was held for the family services committee. The group can revisit this idea as well at its next meeting.

Built for Zero Team Learning Session:
Bill relayed information from Gerry regarding this Built for Zero team learning session being offered by Community Solutions on 4/25-4/26 in Washington, DC. The Hampden County CoC can send a couple of people and receive stipends to help do so. You can learn more here:  https://springfieldhampdencoc.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/invite-built-for-zero-team-learning-session-april-25-26-wash-dc

Network Funding Update: Due to the current Network funding situation, the Hampden County CoC is funding our Network committee meetings, and therefore is required to hold the meetings in Hampden County until further notice.

Next meeting date: Thursday, 4/13, 1-2:30, Friends of the Homeless (note not that usual 2nd Thursday due to the conflict with the Fair Housing Conference).

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 2/24/17

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Connor, Hampshire Veterans Services, Chris Lizotte, West Springfield Veterans Services, Jim Mahoney, Holyoke Veterans Services, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Sue Moorman, HUD-VASH, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc., Farah Rodriguez, HAPHousing, Rick Sabellico, Soldier On, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, HUD-VASH, Sabrina Willard, Soldier On, France Wolfe, HAPHousing

Hampden County 2017 Point in Time Count

Gerry provided this summary by email:

The Hampden County PIT Count identified a total of 19 homeless veterans, as follows:

  • 2 unsheltered
  • 10 in emergency shelter – this includes 1 family headed by a veteran
  • 7 in transitional housing (BiLingual Veterans – 53 Maple Court)

The two unsheltered veterans were 1 in Holyoke and 1 in Chicopee. These are both new to us and not on our by-name list. They were identified by Eliot, which is doing follow-up with them.

We identified 1 chronically homeless veteran–it is the Family head of household, who has been in shelter for over 2 years. She is not VASH-eligible.

The 19 counted this year is a reduction from the 2016 count, where we identified 25 veterans.

Group discussion:

  • There was some confusion about why the chronically homeless family is not finding another resource for housing support, e.g., SSVF.
  • Jim Mahoney would like to find out more about the unsheltered veteran in Holyoke.
  • There was general interest in finding out which veterans among all of those identified were not VHA eligible. Sue Moorman raised the concern of the rising number of veterans who are in need of assistance who are not VHA eligible while there is a large pool of HUD VASH vouchers not being used (anecdotally at last meeting, Sue said roughly one-third of veterans being seen were not VHA-eligible). We agreed we would devote more time to this topic at our next meeting. Is there some advocacy we can do with VA/HUD?   We need to turn VA eligible vouchers into non-VA eligible vouchers.
  • At the same time, there was confusion around the number of referrals in relation to the number of unused vouchers. Kate pointed out the slow-down in the Springfield office due to lack of staffing – case manager being hired now. There are veterans in the pool who are lacking case managers and therefore not moving as quickly as they would otherwise. Improvement on this is in process.
  • It was also noted that Soldier On’s opening up of 88 beds is having a positive impact in housing veterans.
  • Pamela will invite Mike Hagmaier of Soldier On to a meeting with committee members to discuss the issue of referrals/non-VHA eligible veterans.

Hampden County Sheriff Roundtable Planning Effort:

Steve Connor obtained a letter from the DVS Commissioner supporting the roundtable effort that he will provide to Dan Boyea to present to the Sheriff.

As to the sample MOU Dan is looking for, Steve has not been able to reach Carl at the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office. Pamela will reach out as well.

Veterans NOFA

Steve raised the question of the NOFA and how discussions are happening around the state around funding requests for different bed types (there are 5 options). The group agreed it wanted to have more dialogue locally around the types and number of beds for which funding is being sought. Pamela will reach out to Sue White, Mike Hagmaier, Sara Polidore, and Jim Seney to invite them to a meeting to discuss this. This is time sensitive because the application is due at the end of March!

Network update:

Due to current funding arrangement – Hampden County CoC paying for Network meetings in this phase of limited Network funding – the veterans committee will meet exclusively in Hampden County (at MHA) until further notice. 3County participants are always welcome and encouraged to attend!

Announcements:

  • Veterans Inc has opened a clinical stabilization services in Shrewsbury for post detox. Length of stay between 10 and 21 days.
  • VOC has 10 SRO rooms currently available in Chapin Mansion – must be sober for 6 months.

Next meeting date: (we meet regularly on 4th Friday of the month): March 24 9:15- 10:30 am, Mental Health Association, 995 Worthington Street, Springfield

Family Homelessness Retreat – 2/14/17

On Feb. 14, the Network’s Family Services Committee convened a Family Homelessness Retreat.     We had 33 people in the room, including DHCD Undersecretary Rose Evans, Fireman Foundation Special Initiatives Director Sue Beaton and representatives from other state agencies and providers across housing, health care, education, and more from each of our four counties.

It was a great day of learning and brainstorming and prioritizing.  You can read the details of our discussion in the meeting minutes here.

Hampden County CoC Administrator and City of Springfield Housing Director Gerry McCafferty produced an impressive map of our family homelessness system for our review and discussion. You can find it – along with Hampden County data that informed our discussion – here.  If you have comments or feedback, please email Gerry directly at GMcCafferty@springfieldcityhall.com.

Finally, for your convenience, below is the immediate priority decided upon at the meeting:

What can we do within the next 4 months?

The group agreed to focus its energies on convening a regional “surge event” that offered both information sharing around resources and relationship building across the region.  The group agreed that this was a critical starting point to making broader system change: knowing all the resources that currently exist to serve families in housing crisis, who the people and agencies are that are offering them and how best to access them.  The 33 people in the room identified gaps of knowledge among each other and decided well-planned information sharing within this community for themselves and others in the provider realm was the best place to start.  There was unanimous (and hand-raised!) agreement to commit time and energy to a successful event.

We agreed to continue the planning for this event at our next family services meeting on March 14, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, at  Center for Human Development, 51 Capital Drive, West Springfield.

We look forward to seeing many of you there!