Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/4/16

Individual Services Meeting
February 4, 2016

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office/DOC Office of Re-Entry, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veteran Services, Ezzell Floranina, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Emily Koplar, Catholic Charities, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, former consumer/Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Dave McClosky, Open Pantry, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU

Point in Time Count Update (preliminary results from 1/27 count)
Unsheltered count (thanks to Jay Levy for these preliminary numbers):

Three County:
Leverett: 1 (chronic); Amherst, 6 (4 chronic); Hadley, 3 (chronic), Northampton, 5 (3 chronic); Greenfield, 9 (3 chronic),

Hampden County:
Holyoke, 12 (5 chronic); Chicopee 3 (chronic); Westfield, 4 (1 chronic); West Springfield, 3 (1 chronic), Southwick, 0

Gerry also added Springfield number: 13, including 1 under 18

Total unsheltered count is 35 – similar numbers to 2012-2014 (2015 down b/c count occurred when bitterly cold)

Sheltered count decreased relative to last year.
Total count for Hampden County: 277 people

Not seeing much of a difference from previous years – between 266 and 277 since 2012

But it was notable that almost no shelter was full, i.e., there is the capacity to shelter the unsheltered. Also the numbers in transitional housing are down.

On veterans: last year 38 veterans, this year down to 21, a testimony to the outreach work going on.   No unsheltered veterans were identified in Hampden County; one in Three County.

Chronically homeless numbers are going down, another reflection of the successful work in housing some of the hardest-to-house quicker.

The number of unsheltered homeless people in Holyoke (12) suggest the need to consider a Permanent Supportive Housing project in Holyoke. More to discuss.

Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, on elder homelessness:

FCHC is changing name to Life Path as of March 1.

Jen has been the supportive housing coordinator for 9 years. Provides support services to all residents of PSH (a total of 100 units) through a partnership with Greenfield Housing Authority. She works with tenants to meet emergency needs (through various funding pools) and to maximize public benefits and to do whatever it takes to prevent homelessness. In 9 years, there has only been one eviction.

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Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes – 2/2/16

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
February 2, 2016

In attendance: Debbie Bellucci, STCC, Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Sean Hemingway, Center for Human Development, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Madeline Martinez, HAPHousing, Johnny Miranda, HAPHousing, Bill Mulholland, Berkshire Community College, Maegan Pedemonti, HAPHousing, Jeremiah Riordon, Greenfield Community College, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network 

Progress Report review: Secure Jobs continues to place 4-6 people a month into jobs. We will clearly exceed our placement goals for FY16. Fantastic work! Click here for the Jan. progress report.

BerkshireWorks has retained a new Secure Jobs staff person – Janine Desgres – who comes with great experience and is a great addition to the program. Pamela Wotjkowski has moved into a new job developer position that will assist with Secure Jobs as well.

Governor Baker’s FY17 budget proposal: The Governor released his FY17 budget last week. It funded Secure Jobs at $750,000, which is level-funded relative to last year but the program’s sustainability relied on an additional $750,000 from the Fireman Foundation that is unlikely this year. Rep. Vega asked to get clarity from the Fireman Foundation about that, and if it is the case, suggested the Foundation write a letter making clear its expectation that the State will step in to sustain the program (pilot project demonstrated success; time for State to take it on). Pamela will discuss this with Sue Beaton of the Fireman Foundation.

Pamela reminded everyone of the March 4 Legislative Gathering at the Kittredge Center at HCC where we will have an opportunity to demonstrate the success of Secure Jobs to our area legislators. We have about 15 legislators confirmed to attend thus far.

HUD TA update: Pamela provided an update on a conversation that took place several weeks ago between John Rio, our TA consultant from Advocates for Human Potential (AHP), and Ashley and Gerry McCafferty, the Hampden County CoC coordinator. During that call we brainstormed possible workshops over a 1.5 day period which included: sustainability of Secure Jobs (how to leverage other resources to keep the program going); workforce development within Permanent Supportive Housing programs (integrate HUD requirements of CoCs as well) and one other that Pamela could not recall at the time (but based on follow-up communication with John was workforce development for homeless youth).

Advisory committee members also discussed the value of looking at retention and upward mobility, i.e., how can we support newly employed/housed people in their pursuit to increase their income and upward mobility.

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Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 1/20/16

Leadership Council Meeting
January 20, 2016

In Attendance: Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Dave Christopolis, Three County CoC/Hilltown CDC, Patricia Crosby, Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Sylvia deHaas-Philips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless, David Gadaire, CareerPoint, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Brad Gordon, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Clare Higgins, Community Action, Mike Hagmaier, Soldier On, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Ann Lentini, Domus Incorporated, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Dave Modzelewski, Network REACH, Fran Pheeny, Franklin County Housing Redevelopment Authority, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Seney, VA Medical Center, Stephen Seplman, YWCA, Eric Shupin, CHAPA, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing,

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes of 9/17/15:
Motion to approve: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Dave Modzelewski
Discussion: Pamela will correct a couple of attendee omission and spelling errors.
All in favor: unanimous
Opposed: none
Abstentions: none

Network Budget Update:
Sylvia deHaas-Philips distributed an updated budget (click here), which has not changed much since the last meeting. Everything is on track.

Network Survey:
Click here for compilation of Network results. Pamela summarized findings with group. Comments included:

Can we find out how many respondents were from each sub-region? Gerry suggested that this is possible with an upgrade of the Survey Monkey tool. Pamela will investigate.

We discussed the break down between good/excellent and moderate to excellent, all agreeing that there is a meaningful difference between “moderate” and “good/excellent.” With the current survey compilation, you can extract “moderate” by subtracting the total of good/excellent from the total “moderate-excellent” number.

EOHHS RFR update:
Pamela provided an update on MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ RFR to create a consortium to respond to people facing acute housing crisis. It was released on 12/29, bidders’ conference was 1/15 and proposals are due 2/2. A total of $900,000 is available statewide, which will fund 3-5 grants. Applicants must create a coordinated entry systems – “no wrong door” – and the grant will include flexible funds for prevention, diversion and rapid rehousing. The funds are intended to intervene further “upstream” in the prevention effort. Up to 25% of funds may pay for coordination of the system. Applicants may also apply for funding for unaccompanied homeless youth (ages 18-24); a total of $2 million is available statewide with up to 5 grants, including rural, urban and suburban. Qualified applicants include the Network, CoC’s, regional housing authorities, CAP agencies.

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting – 1/13/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
January 13, 2016

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Pam Cook, Gandara Center, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Alicia Stacy, YWCA, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center

Reviewed Point in Time Count youth outreach sheet:

Thanks to Andrea Miller for collating tips and creating outreach sheet (click here).

One edit: change bullet of “have other resources to hand out if the youth wants them, regardless of whether they participate in the count” to ”Distribute information on local resources.” Pamela will relay to Andrea.

Discussion of EHSS RFR:
EHHS has released an RFR (due 2/2) that will utilize the $2 million allocated for the youth services and housing in the FY16 budget. The RFR allows for up to 5 grants and requires that urban, rural and suburban regions are funded. An application must be paired with the larger coordinated entry application (3-5 grants, allocating $900,000 statewide) for the region.

The group discussed the issue of whether the Network would apply as the lead agency (via its fiscal sponsor United Way of Pioneer Valley) or whether 2 CoC’s would apply separately. The coordinated entry issue suggests CoC specific applications since the coordinated entry systems are being built separately as a result of the distinct populations and large geography across the sub-regions. Since the youth application must mirror the coordinated entry application for the geographic region, we may be compelled to do two separate applications for the youth piece. However, the CoC’s with Network support can collaborate on the applications to ensure a coordinated approach across the region.

A bidders’ conference on 1/15 will help answer a lot of questions about the best direction. United Way and CoC’s will be represented there.

We want to make sure we use the Network role and reputation in support of whatever we do. We want to make sure that we incorporate the regional flow of youth across the entire region in each application (assuming there are 2) and build systems that talk to teach other.

Community Action of Franklin/Hampshire and the Quabbin has expressed interest in being the lead applicant in the Three County CoC. They will be investigating further as well.

The RFR seeks focus on reaching the at-risk population further “upstream” – prevention and diversion. We need to identify the gaps and how we close them.

Other brainstorm ideas:

  • Consider funding a youth coordinator who serves as the designated liaison to resources and information and who has access to the flexible funds.
  • Explore more strategies about how to re-connect youth 18 and older with their families.
  • Explore more about the host home model and mentoring programs.
  • Connect more with (and possibly help build) Berkshire based youth programs, e.g., Reconnect Center in Pittsfield.
  • Integrate street outreach and coordinated assessment across each county (Dial/SELF now has funding to do street outreach in Hampshire)
  • Frame our “no wrong door” approach to triage case management across the region while at the same time developing expertise and centralized knowledge that agencies can draw on
  • Develop standard assessment tools and basis for distributing resources
  • Develop and utilize “natural” youth supports (as opposed to a volunteer inserting him/herself suddenly in a young person’s life); need to draw on and nurture pre-existing relationships

We will continue this conversation via email following the bidders’ conference this Friday.

Network FY17 Budget Priorities:

Pamela summarized the Network process for determining its FY17 budget priorities, which includes each committee making recommendations for Leadership Council consideration. The Leadership Council will review and vote at its next meeting on 1/20. These priorities will define the Network advocacy for the FY17 budget cycle.

Support funding for youth housing and related support services for $4 million. This priority is shared by MA Coalition for the Homeless and is a “repeat ask” from last fiscal year (which resulted in $2 million in funding). The Committee recognizes that the need continues and would like to see the full funding needed to meet the need.

Support Home and Healthy for Good for $3.8 million, a program that provides permanent supportive housing for the chronically homeless, including a program for LGBTQ unaccompanied homeless youths, one of which is funded in Franklin County through Dial/SELF.   This priority is shared by CHAPA and MA Coalition for the Homeless.

Unanimous support for both legislative priorities.

Next meeting: Wed., Feb. 10, 9:30 am – 11 am, location to be determined (Gandara Center is not available then; will check with Northampton Senior Center).