Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Economic Justice for DV and Sexual Assault Survivors Summit: June 8

An announcement from MA Rural and Sexual Domestic Violence Project:

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for our upcoming summit, “Economic Justice for Survivors: Exploring Strategies that Work,” on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Northampton, MA. This is an all day summit for advocates, activists, and other community stakeholders to explore innovative ideas for advancing economic empowerment for rural survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  Guest speakers include Jill Davies, Deputy Director of Greater Hartford Legal Aid and Director of the Building Comprehensive Solutions to Domestic Violence Initiative; and Nicole Castillo, Domestic and Sexual Violence Program Coordinator at the Newton Wellesley Hospital and the National Advisor to Millennial Issues at BeVisible Latina, the first social networking and career building site for Latinas by Latinas.

There will be two sessions of concurrent workshops, which include:

  1. Money School: Rethinking Financial Independence Programs for Survivors – Elizabeth Freeman Center
  2. Voices of Survivors: Building the Foundation for Economic Empowerment – Montague Institute for New Directions (MIND)
  3. Accessing Public Benefits for Survivors – Community Legal Aid
  4. Repairing and Protecting Credit and Consumer Rights – Northwestern District Attorney’s Office
  5. Strategies for Protecting Survivors’ Housing Rights – Community Legal Aid
  6. Creating Career Pathways in Rural Massachusetts: Understanding the Role of Workforce Development Partners in the Region – Franklin/Hampshire Regional Employment Board, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, and Harmon Personnel Services
  7. Making the Most of Education’s Promise: Helping Survivors Access the Supports Needed for College Success – Greenfield Community College

An inspiring closing session will be presented by JAC Patrissi and guests.  JAC is the Administrative Director of the Behavioral Health Network and co-author with Lundy Bancroft of Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Guide to Knowing if your Relationship Can – and Should – Be Saved.

Plan to join us at the Smith College Conference Center in Northampton on June 8 from 8:30-4:00.  The Summit is offered free of charge and we will provide a continental breakfast and lunch, as well as parking passes.

Click here for the Summit flyer and  registration information.   Please indicate your first and second workshop choices on the registration form.   The deadline to register is June 1, but space is limited, so we recommend that you register early.  Also, given the emphasis on rural communities, priority will be given to participants from these areas.  You will be notified by June 2nd if you have been accepted.

Please share this information with your colleagues and networks!

If you are Deaf or hard of hearing, or are a person with a disability who would like accommodation, please contact Barbara Russell at by May 20, 2016.

Sponsors for this program include the Massachusetts Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Project of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Jane Doe Inc., and the Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you!

Barbara Russell and Amy Waldman



Barbara Russell, Program Coordinator and Amy Waldman, Project Director

MA Rural Domestic and Sexual Violence Project

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

23 Service Center Rd.

Northampton, MA 01060

413-586-7525 x3133


Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 4/28/16

Leadership Council Meeting
April 26, 2016

In attendance: Mary Jane Bacon, Office of Senate Preisdent Rosenberg, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Como, Soldier On, Patricia Crosby, Franklin Regional Employment Board, Sylvia DeHaas-Philips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Clare Higgins, Community Action, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Faith Lafayette, DPH FOR Families, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Andrew Morehouse Food Bank of Western MA, Fran Pheeney, Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Seney, Veterans Administration, Linn Torto, MA ICHH

Review of Jan. 20, 2016 Meeting Minutes: (click here)

Moved to approve: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Jane Banks
All in favor: unanimous
abstention: Joanne LaCour

Budget Update: (click here)
Sylvia deHaas-Phillips reviewed the budget. Sylvia noted that revenue beyond state funding is at $26,000, i.e., state funding is critical to the Network’s continuity.

Review of Network FY17 budget priorities

Pamela reviewed the Network budget priorities in relation to the House adoption of the State budget just last night.

Secure Jobs: The House funded Secure Jobs at $500K, one quarter of the $2 million needed to keep the program fully functional statewide. The Governor funded the program at $750K, so even the “larger” number is less than half of what is needed. What does this mean, especially when the program has demonstrated such success and directly correlates to preventing returns to homelessness. The group agreed we need to approach our legislators and Administration officials to better understand their thinking.   How does the Fireman Foundation’s commitment interface with state government limits response. We will explore these questions with Linn Torto.

Mary Jane Bacon suggested that we pay attention to the lobbying representation on the program; that we must ensure the broad representation (beyond career centers) in our presence with legislators.   Pamela will follow-up with Mary Jane to gain any additional insight from their senate budget analyst.

We also agreed that it would be useful to look at the “home” for Secure Jobs and support a conversation about the best agency fit for the program, e.g., DTA where other employment programs exist. We will raise this with Linn Torto as well for additional feedback.

Increase individual shelter unit rate to $30/night : did not pass in House or Governor’s budget. Will continue advocacy in Senate.

Expand HomeBASE eligibility to include families in domestic violence or substance abuse programs: passed in House and Governor’s budget.

Expand RAFT to include individuals: did not pass in House or Governor’s budget.

Increase TPP to $975,000: did not pass in House.

Network earmark: passed in the House.

Pamela noted the tremendous support of Rep. Peter Kocot (lead sponsor) and Rep. Stephen Kulik in the passage of the Network earmark amendment. She also noted the great support of our Western MA delegation in general as supporters of Network priorities. We expressed our immense gratitude for our great delegation!

Pamela will compile a chart that lays out each priority and its status in each part of the budget process and send that to the Leadership Council.

Steering Committee/3 County CoC meeting and by-laws update:
Andrew informed the group that the Steering Committee and representatives of the Three County CoC are meeting on May 6 to discuss by-law revisions to address better representation of the 3 County CoC and overall process of decision making. All are welcome (9 am at Northampton Senior Center on May 6). The group will bring proposed by-law revisions to the next Leadership Council meeting in June.

Meeting with Senate President Rosenberg on May 13
Pamela reported that Senator Rosenberg has agreed to meet with members of the Network to have a general dialogue about both the Senate Housing Crisis report and Western MA needs. Each CoC has designated 5 people to attend this meeting (we agreed to keep the meeting small in order to maximize the potential for meaningful conversation). The group will report back at its June meeting. We expressed appreciation for Senator Rosenberg’s commitment to the Network and its goals.

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Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 4/22/16

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
April 22, 2016

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Troy Brin, Veterans Inc., Donna Bryant, Springfield Partners, Chris Buendo, CDB Realty, Ben Cluff, MA DPH, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Patrick DiGregorio, Veterans, Inc., Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Walter Fludd, Springfield Partners, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc., Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster Owens, VA HUD VASH, Dani Thomas, DOR/CSE

Presentation by Dani Thomas, DOR Child Support Enforcement
Dani shared the work of the DOR Child Support Enforcement Unit as it pertains to veterans and their families. The DOR offers targeted services and assistance for veterans to help navigate the child support system in the face of military related demands. Please click here for more information about available support and click here for the Veterans Program Authorization for Release of Information. Contact Dani Thomas at or 413-452-1050 with questions or for more information.

Housing Opportunity in Hampden County:
Chris Buendo is a landlord interested in renting to veterans. He has several 1 and 2 bedroom apartments in Chicopee ready to rent. He can be reached at 431-525-3247 ext. 101 or

Three County CoC Update:
Steve Connor reported that a veterans sub-group is meeting every 2 weeks to review its by-name list (roughly 40 people on it). They are working out kinks to the system now, especially regarding the upkeep with merging data from two different systems (Soldier On’s data in combination with the 3 County form developed by Andrea Miller). Andrea and Mike Hagmaier of Soldier On are working now on resolving how best to collect and maintain updates.   They are also creating an “at-risk of homelessness “ list to assist with prevention efforts.


Hampden County Update:
The Hampden County providers present noted that they are not currently using a by-name list because the numbers are so low in Hampden County; they are zeroing in on the few unhoused veterans and making progress in housing them.

Ben Cluff noted that the new detox center in Greenfield will be opening in May.

Springfield Partners announced their upcoming Wellness to Work Veterans Health and Career Fair, Tuesday, 4/26, 10 am – 2:30 pm at Christ Church Cathedral, 35 Chestnut Street.

Next meeting: May 20, 9 am, Northampton Senior Center

New Housing for Homeless Veterans in Chicopee

News from Collin Finn at Soldier On:

Soldier On, Inc. has exciting news regarding our Chapin School project.  The Commonwealth of MA had committed rental subsidies for all 43 units ! If you know of a veteran in need of affordable housing, we strongly encourage you to have them complete the attached application

The Chapin School Veterans project, located at 40 Meadow St, Chicopee, will provide safe, affordable housing for 43 Veterans. The units are all one-bedroom units.  3 units are accessible and 1 unit is adapted for persons who require sensory accommodations. 

Anticipated occupancy is June 1, 2016. As the first round of residents will be selected by a lottery, we must have completed applications returned to Soldier On, Inc. by April 25th 2016.

Please feel free to copy and distribute to any potential applicants.  Additional information regarding the project can be obtained by calling me at 413-387-3639. 

And from Gerry McCafferty: Please note that these units are available to all veterans, regardless of eligibility for Veterans Health Services.