Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 2/27/15

Veterans Committee
February 27, 2015

In attendance: Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Scott Haskell, Turners House, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Matt Simmonds, Simtech Consulting, Dominick Sondrini, Soldier On, Kerry Spitzer, MIT grad student, Sabrina Willard, Springfield Partners SSVF

Update on Hampden County Zero 2016:

Gerry McCafferty provided a hand-out summarizing the homeless veteran counts in Hampden County for 2014 and 2015 (click here). She also displayed Zero 2016’s fill-in-the-blank poster to track monthly counts of homeless veterans, how many housed, how far to goal of ending homelessness.  here .

We agreed that we need to better integrate the Zero 2016 campaign and the Network Opening Doors Plan (in process to localize the federal Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness) with our veterans committee work. Towards that end, we agreed that for our next meeting (on 4/3), we will conduct broader outreach to the Springfield and Hampden County CoC area in general to ensure good representation from all veterans services and housing groups. Pamela will follow-up with Gerry, Sue, Dave, Ben and Sabrina to ensure the invitation list is as complete as it should be.

In terms of reaching veterans, it was noted that there is both the challenge of outreach – identifying homeless veterans – and “in-reach” – connecting with homeless veterans who are staying at various sites that are less connected to the CoC and broader services in general (e.g., Rescue Mission in Springfield where there are many homeless veterans).

Update from Matt Simmonds of Simtech:

Special thanks to Matt for his trip from Boston to share his work around veteran homelessness in Boston (on very short notice!). Matt and Simtech Consulting have been retained by the Network to produce the Network’s Opening Doors Plan, to be released by the end of June, which will provide a data-driven, regional plan incorporating the work of both our CoC’s and all providers across the region to arrive at baseline measures and goals for preventing and ending homelessness in the region.

Matt shared some of the challenges Boston has discovered with the VI-SPDAT, specifically that an individual can score 8 or 9 (need a 10 to qualify for permanent supportive housing) even though they may have severe mental health issues and a person who scored “10 or higher” could actually be less in need. We all acknowledged limitations with VI-SPDAT and that an additional layer of review may be necessary (in our region’s case, our REACH meetings provide this). But at the same time a uniform tool and obtaining regional buy-in on coordinated intake and assessment is a vital starting point and the VI-SPDAT provides us with that. We assume there will be adjustments down the road.

Matt provided a hand-out demonstrating the flow of data from HMIS systems into a data warehouse that would ultimately allow for the matching of individuals to housing (click here). He also provided an example of the data applied in Boston (see here).

Review of Veteran Outreach Hand-outs:

We did a final review of the outreach and assessment hand-outs that Steve and Sue put together (thank you to both!). Final edits were recommended and both Steve and Sue will incorporate and send back to Pamela who will then distribute. Pamela also discussed Katherine Persons creation of the VSO Incident Report Tracker which is attached here for direct viewing (apologies for not bringing it to the meeting as intended!).

Kerry Spitzer veteran outreach: Kerry is an MIT grad student who is doing her dissertation on veterans and housing needs. She is looking to recruit veterans for both interview (about 12) and surveys (about 150). She distributed a draft outreach card to veterans to ask for committee feedback. She will provide the final version to us for wider distribution.

Next meeting: Friday, April 3, 9 am – 10:30 am, Springfield location to be determined.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Minutes – 2/11/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
February 11, 2015

In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, Springfield Office of Housing, Jean Rogers, CHD, Sarah Slautterback, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Youth Survey

Hampden County update:

Due to the weather, the dates of the youth survey shift to Thursday, 1/29/15 to Thurs., 2/5/15

Surveys were in both English and Spanish. The survey was online this year (youth did paper/pencil). $10 gift cards for Dunkin’ Donuts were available for the youth that participated in the survey as an incentive. Soda and pizza were provided at the events that took place.

There were youth ambassadors to assist with the survey, 2 from ROCA and 1 from SHINE. They each received a $75 check for their assistance.

House of Colors, a group that works with LGBTQ youth 24 y.o. and under participated in the survey. They had an event at the Holyoke Public Library. 10 surveys came from this event

There were two other events, one at STCC, from which 10 surveys were returned, the other was at HCC and no one showed up.

Both Putnam and Commerce High Schools (Springfield) participated in the surveys.

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Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Minutes – 2/10/15

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
February 10, 2015

In attendance: Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Lisa Lapierre, Secure Jobs/Corporation for Public Management, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Darlene Morse, CareerPoint, Konrad Rogowski, FutureWorks, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rep. Aaron Vega, Holyoke, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center

Debrief on Secure Jobs Celebration

Everyone agreed it was wonderfully successful! Congratulations to everyone for fantastic work.

We had an initial discussion re: plans for next year. Pamela suggested that we should vary the format and shared Rep. Farley-Bouvier’s idea raised after last week’s event to have a type of forum where we are educating legislators and getting feedback on the issues and challenges. We all agreed that it could be a great use of legislators’ time to bring them together to hear about the barriers pertaining to state policy/legislation and what fixes are needed to address them.  We also agreed we would hold such a forum in late Fall to allow for earlier input in the fiscal year and to avoid the threat of a snow storm cancelation (never again!).

Monthly Progress Report

Please click here to review.

We noted the amazing retention rate from the initial Fireman grant (over 80%), a huge testimony to the success of this program’s model.

We are currently at 83 enrollments of the 100 required under the DHCD grant. All agreed that it is now especially important to prioritize based on motivation level in order to maximize chances of translating enrollment translating to employment.

It was noted that there is current focus on enhancing retention tracking systems under the DHCD grant. Lisa is working closely with CareerPoint staff to support this effort.

Lisa shared an update on the Secure Jobs rally held on 1/23 that provided enrollees an opportunity to get better connected and learn more about job opportunities. It was a successful event.

Franklin Hampshire Career Center is seeing an increase in referrals.

BerkshireWorks is fully off the ground, enrolling clients and working closely with Brad Gordon, providing a presence at Housing Court and also reaching out to Northern Berkshire County through the Northern Berkshires Community Coalition.

Next meeting: Tuesday, 3/17, Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 2/10/15

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
February 10, 2015

In attendance: Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Loleta Collino, Springfield Housing Authority, Jenny Delmonte, TPP, Harry Duchesne, New England Farm Workers Council, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, Servicenet – Berkshires, Julia Guazzo CFCE Coordinated Family Community Engagement, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Steve Huntley, VOC, Jill Fijal,Chicopee Public Schools, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet – Franklin County, Jane Lindfors, DTA Domestic Violence Unit, Heather Marshall, EFC, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools ,Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Dorothy Pink, VOC, Nelson Roman, Enlace de Familias, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Phyllis White, Franklin Hampshire Career Center

DHCD Update: Due to the snow storms and the continued shut-down of the Boston area, Bonnie Caldwell could not make it to this meeting. The central office is creating an emergency system to deal with shelter placement during this shut-down.

For Families update: Faith Lafayette could not attend but relayed the following update via email:
FOR Families has re-entered the Days/Holyoke to provide intensive outreach services, and the initial meeting took place with DHCD, DCF, NEFWC and CHD on 2/4/15.  Referrals from that meeting total approximately 1/3 of the hotel population (as of 2/3/15 the total population was 36 families).  The handful of remaining families at Days/Chicopee have been transferred across the street to QI/Chicopee and the remaining family at QI/WS has been transferred to the Holyoke Hotel/Holyoke.  This leaves 7 active EA hotels in Western MA.  At this time FF is providing outreach services to 6 of these, totaling 105 of the 256 hotel EA families.

Efforts to expand the new FF role is happening statewide, with the SE having just embarked, and 1 hotel in the NE operating similarly.  This new role has allowed for more intensive family work to be conducted, resulting in increased coordination with DCF, medical and MH providers (local and out of region) as well as school systems.  The coordination has supported family engagement with community providers, follow through with service plan goals, and management of truancy related issues to a much greater degree.  FF continues to submit ADA requests and childcare referrals with and for families on our caseload.

Lauren Voyer noted that For Families’ focus on families at risk is working very well.

Secure Jobs update:

Pamela shared the Network congratulations on a successful event last Friday (2/6) when almost 20 legislators, 7 mayors and 150 others came together to celebrate the success of Secure Jobs and its program participants and business partners. We made an excellent case for continued funding next fiscal year.

Co-sheltering discussion:
In light of the media coverage around the placement of homeless families in Springfield, we discussed the situation. DHCD’s co-sheltering policy has also been a topic of public discussion and Lauren Voyer of HAPHousing ane Jane Banks of CHD offered their experience with the model. Continue reading