Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

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Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/16/19

In attendance:  Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Craig Deraway, Soldier On, Bryan Dixon, Veterans, Inc., Mike Hagmaier, Soldier On, Phyllis Lutsky, VA, Justin Maynard, VA, Gerry McCafferty, Springfield-Hampden CoC, Jesus Pereira, Holyoke Veterans Services, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc., Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Shaw, Chicopee Veterans Services

State Senate Budget Update:The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its proposed budget next week.  This week is the week for filing amendments and next week the Senate debate will begin. To connect to Network advocacy on our priority amendments, please go to our blog post here

Network Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair – June 10:The Network’s Fair currently has over 60 providers signed up to share information (and about 130 registered attendees).  We also have roughly 15 legislators planning to attend from 9:30-10:00 am for a Network welcome.  HCC President Christina Royal will also welcome, as well as DHCD Assistant Undersecretary Jane Banks.  If you have not yet registered but plan to attend, please register  here(but don’t further spread the word – we are essentially at room capacity!).

Three County CoC Update:We discussed the transition that is underway in 3 County CoC administration.  Community Action recently hired a new CoC Program Coordinator Keleigh (pronounced “Kelly”) Pereira.  We look forward to welcoming her at our next meeting.  And Community Action is also currently hiring for their HMIS data analyst. This will be key to bringing the veterans by-name list meetings back on line for the 3 county region. 

Coordinated Entry update re: Soldier On/VA: Mike and Phyllis reported good progress on creating a work flow between Soldier On and the VA to ensure prioritization based on vulnerability assessments.  There was a good first meeting and a subsequent one scheduled for 5/20. Mike reported Soldier On is creating a google form to track applications and vulnerability scores.  Gerry suggested this could be incorporated into the Green River data warehouse system.  Gerry will follow-up to bring Mike and Green River together for a meeting to discuss further.


Built for Zero Update for Springfield-Hampden CoC: The by-name list has roughly 14-16 veterans on it at this point with a housing plan in place for most of them; several who were not thought to be VHA eligible are in fact eligible (a special shout-out to Jesus Pereira for his knowledge and expertise with the DPRIS data system that makes verification more readily available – see https://www.dpris.dod.mil/#!?side=accessinfo for more information). 
The HUD-VASH vouchers that we have been waiting on for non-VHA eligible veterans are once again very close to being authorized for use – latest word from US ICH is “imminent.”


Community Solutions expert Eddie Turner visiting Western MA on 5/21: Eddie Turner, a leader at Community Solutions, the parent organization for the Built for Zero campaign, is making a special visit to Western MA next Tuesday and Gerry is hosting a special veterans meeting with him from 10 am – 11:30 am at Union Station in Springfield.  We discussed the topics to address, e.g., how to build access to programs that have been harder to reach; how to fill units quickly and ensure good outcomes; how to make our outreach more effective so we connect with every single veteran who is unsheltered. Steve will invite all VSO’s to Tuesday’s meeting.


Next meeting date:
Thursday, July 18, 9:30 am – 11:00 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC.

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/14/19

In attendance:  Isatu Barrie, NEFWC, Asia Bradford, YWCA, Theresa Cooper-Gordon, NEFWC, Evelyn Garrafo, NEFWC, Radame Jusino, NEFWC, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA DV Unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sabrina Swinton, NEFWC, Janna Tetreault, Community Action,  Norayma Vazquez, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Erica Zayas, VOC


State Budget Update: Senate Budget Advocacy WeekPamela reported out on the Senate Ways and Means Committee budget which was released last week.  There are several significant advances, including increased funding for unaccompanied homeless youth, Secure Jobs and Alternative Housing Voucher Program. There is also more work to do through the budget amendment process, to increase funding for RAFT, HCECs and more.  Please see this Network blog post that summarizes the Network’s priority amendments and how to request Senate co-sponsorships.  Your agency or personal contact of your senator this week will make a big difference. 

Training debriefsWe checked in on the recent child care voucher/Head Start training that was held at HCC a April 30.  People who attended felt it was well-done and worthwhile.  It was noted that the lack of Head Start or any equivalent over the summer months is a huge challenge for families. 

We also checked in on the racial equity training – we completed the second in a three part series on April 25.  The consensus is that the trainer, Marc Dones, is excellent and the content is extremely important.  We also agreed that this kind of work never stops; and that there is interest in continuing it after the last session on June 6.  We agreed that the next step must include organizational buy-in from the highest level.  And it was also suggested we needed to bring this work to the young adult population as well. 

Training possibilities for next yearWe had a preliminary brainstorm on trainings for next year, including:

  • Immigration training (how to best assist undocumented people experiencing homelessness and other issues related to immigration status
  • Coordinated Entry – what is it, how does it work (coordinate with CoCs)
  • Racial equity (continuing the work)
  • EA training (repeat)
  • Tenant screening barriers (repeat)

Pamela will compile a list of all trainings offered this year and provide a brief analysis as a foundation for a more deliberate discussion at our next meeting. 

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP): Both the Springfield-Hampden and Three County CoCs are preparing to submit their HUD funded YHDP applications (due May 15) that would provide a significant influx of resources if awarded.  The Three County CoC is applying as a rural region for Franklin County only.  This is their first application.  For Springfield-Hampden, it is their 3rd application and much progress and learning has occurred through the process. This effort is very relevant to our family work because a large number of homeless youth ages 18-24 are pregnant/parenting and in the family shelter system. 

Additionally, there are a number of unaccompanied homeless youth who have left their family while the family is in the shelter system, and finally, with this additional support, we may want to flag homeless families in shelter with older teenagers to help identify the supports they need or help connect them to young adult services outside the family. Awards will be announced in August. 

Three County CoC Update:
Community Action has hired its CoC Program Coordinator, Keleigh (pronounced “Kelly”) Pereira.  She started a week ago and will be connecting to our meetings in the near future. 

Family cap repealed!  We had a moment of celebration around this very significant policy change that ended the penalty for having additional children while on TAFDC.  DTA is now working extremely hard to adjust cash assistance levels based on a complete count of children in the family.  Thanks to everyone involved in the hard work to make this change happen.

Network Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair: June 10.  We have 60 providers from across every sector and every county signed up to share information and roughly 130 people planning to attend.  Approximately 15 Western MA state legislators will be present from 9:30-10:00 am to be publicly thanked.  Stay tuned for more logistical information.

Next meeting date: Tuesday, June 11, 11 am – 12:30 pm, Frost Building, Room 309

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/13/19

n attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Kerry Brock, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sara Cummings, Community Action, 3 County CoC; Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Patty McDonnell, Joe Mygan, Starlight, SMOC, Theresa Nicholson, CHD, Aidan Novo, Craig’s Doors, Keleigh Pereira, Community Action/3 County CoC, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Thomas Poplawski, DMH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Josh Wren, ServiceNet

Three County CoC update:Community Action hired the new CoC program coordinator: Keleigh Pereira (pronounced “Kelly”).  She just started a week ago and we look forward to helping her make the transition to this new job as smooth as possible. Welcome Keleigh!
Community Action is also interviewing for the HMIS data position now.

Coordinated Entry (CE) continues to be “paused” as work continues to obtain the necessary data system  (as opposed to CE being manually managed through excel which has been the case thus far). It’s an expensive system to acquire so they Community Action needs to put out bids (looking closely at ETO Enterprise as that is the system the Hampden CoC uses) , and it could take as long as 3 months to get it up and running.
It is understood that in view of the transition to CHD’s management of the PSH units – and the openings to fill them – that stop-gap management of CE will be utilized (continuing with excel presumably). 

Permanent Supportive Housing update: Theresa Nicholson of Center for Human Development (CHD) provided an update on their takeover of ServiceNet’s PSH contract.  The official start date is 7/1 but they are in conversation with HUD around using some of the unspent funds for a “start-up budget” prior to 7/1.  HUD is treating this transition as a straightforward shift in contract management from ServiceNet to CHD. 
CHD is working on hiring staff and identifying units. There are 48 units in total:15 in Berkshire County – 13 are currently filled; 2 vacant; 24 new in Franklin County; 9 in Hampshire, 6 are filled, 3 are vacant 

The geographical allocation of units can shift depending on where the people who need them reside.  These determinations will be made within the coordinated entry system.

Shelter Plus Care Update:ccJay reported out on the meetings with DMH, ServiceNet ACCS (shelter plus care staff sub-contracted through DMH) and ServiceNet shelter director (Erin) and CHD and the Network to discuss how to increase access to the shelter plus care vouchers through accommodations around DMH eligibility requirements and to increase chances of success through greater collaboration via Coordinated Entry. Staff of respective programs are meeting on 6/7 to discuss further.

Right now there are 22 shelter plus care vouchers across Franklin and Hampshire Counties and 21 are being utilized. Work continues to find the right match for the last unused voucher.

Safe Havens: This is another HUD funded program that now works only with DMH support dollars but is a “low-demand, high expectation” model that takes the individual wherever they are at and offers support services 24/7. Peg noted that Northampton needs Safe Haven housing.  Peg and DMH staff are meeting bi-weekly to discuss how to address the housing/support needs of this population. 

Presentation on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), CSO, Inc.  Special thanks to Lisa Pineo of CSO for sharing this information with us.  This is a 3 year SAMHSA funded initiative that provides mental and physical health care as well as an extremely broad range of services to all people of all ages regardless of ability to pay. Walk-in access Monday-Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 2 pm at locations across Western MA.  Click here to get a summary of services and find out how to access them.

State Budget Update:The Senate will be debating its budget next week.  This week is the time to ask our senators to co-sponsor amendments.  Click here for the Network blog post that details how to contact your senator and what to ask for. 

Next meeting date:Because our next regularly scheduled meeting would take place on June 10, the same day as the Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair, the group agreed to not meet in the month of June and instead meet at its next regularly scheduled time of Monday, July 8, 1 pm, at ServiceNet, 296 Nonotuck Street, Northampton. 

Accessing Child Care Vouchers/Head Start: Read On!

On Tuesday, April 30, the Network sponsored a training for over 60 famly shelter and other case managers at Holyoke Community College to learn about recent policy changes impacting (and improving) families’ access to MA child care vouchers. Special thanks to Sara Garvin of New England Farm Workers Council and Dawn DiStefano of Square One for their expertise. You can see the Powerpoint presentation that details the state child care system; the “Quick sheet” for initial intake questions and contact names and numbers; and the actual Wait List Initial Intake Form.

We also heard from Head Start leaders Nicole Blais and June Lynds about how to best access Head Start. Their contact information is here:

Holyoke/Chicopee Head Start Contacts
Maggie Sexton, Enrollment Coordinator,
413-536-363, MargaretS@headstart.org;
Audra Dias, Enrollment Supervisor
413-417-7779, AudraD@headstart.org
Website: www.hcsheadstart.org
Head Start Locator/Resources website: https://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/ 

Head Start Community Action Pioneer Valley
For enrolling at CAPV Head Start & Early Learning Programs in Western Hampden (including West Springfield, Agawam and Westfield), Hampshire and Franklin Counties: 413-387-1250 or www.communityaction.us (Families can apply online or programs can download our referral form under the Head Start heading.

And finally, we heard from Rebecca Burgos and Christine Zaskey-Cullen of Coordinated Family Care and Engagement (CFCE) programs, detailing the support available in each community through this programs. You can find the CFCE contact person in your community by going here.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Minutes – 4/7/19

In attendance:  Emily English, Gandara, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc. Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV unit, Rebecca Muller, Gandara, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Denise Rivera, FOH, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Elorie Stevens, DCF, Kelly Wessels, DIAL/SELF

Youth Count: April 12 – May 12It is underway! Go here for materials:  http://mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/youth-count-2019.

Hampden County: Emily reported outreach underway with guidance counselors at schools; an event planned at The Impact Center in Springfield on 5/7 from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm; working with HCC and STCC to do an event; outreach to ROCA and Samaratin Inn and ongoing with FOH. Gerry reported packets will be available at her office as soon as the Spanish version is available (should be next week).  For more info, contact Fina Full-Kay at ffulla-kay@springfieldcityhall.com.


3 county: Lisa is doing outreach across the region; sending the link and materials to all.  Kelly from DIAL/SELF is also doing outreach. 
See below for contacts for gift cards for youth participants and for any other questions.

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP): Both CoCs (Hampden for the 3rd time; 3 county for the first) are applying for this HUD-funded opportunity that will eventually provide at least $1 million in funding for youth services (and then renewal grants thereafter).  The application is due May 15.  3 County is applying as a “rural” region for Franklin County only.  Gerry hopes to have a draft ready by the end of next week for review if interested. Lisa discussed how this process will be very useful no matter the funding outcome, both in terms of mapping the system and in creating a Youth Advisory Board and gaining greater youth participation in helping to shape effective responses.

EOHHS Grant updates: Hampden:  29 intakes for youth have been taken since early December, with 4 of them receiving ongoing 12-month rapid re-housing.  The Needs Assessment has completed many of the core tasks and the team was able to present some preliminary findings at the early April meeting.  They have hired a part-time housing specialist, increasing their outreach and direct contact with youth and providing more referrals to needed services (e.g., mental health).  CHD and Gandara are meeting weekly with the Impact Center; they had a meeting with Samaratin Inn; going to Friends of the Homeless regularly – lots of good contact and relationship building. 

3 County: the program has interacted with a total of 59 young people (31 experiencing homelessness); 7 young people received flexible funds for rent or utilities.  Lisa is pursuing greater clarity around the definition of “at risk”.” They are continuing to work on building linkages between shelter and youth providers. DIAL/SELF is meeting individual shelter staff and building relationships.  They are also working on their Needs Assessment. 

Collaboration: We discussed in general the evolving collaborations taking place as a result of the youth programs underway (funded by EOHHS).  For example, in Hampden County, Gandara and CHD are working to develop an “outreach calendar” for the region that makes available to all a schedule for various outreach days at various locations (e.g., HCC, ROCA), independent of a particular agency’s “ownership.”  The movement is towards a “youth response TEAM” that serves young people at risk in a coordinated way across all agencies.  They hope to have the calendar ready for release by early May. 

We also discussed coordinated entry developments.  Hampden County was meeting monthly but elected to increase their meetings to weekly to allow for greater collaboration and more immediate problem-solving. Elorie at DCF requested that DCF participate in these meetings and Pamela will confirm the connection is made.  Ann at Domus will discuss with her staff person getting trained to participate in coordinated entry. In 3 County, Kelly updated the group about Soldier On’s new “google form” being used to track housing vacancies (an interim step while the Green River database gets up and running). It was noted that the process of coordinated entry is still getting up and running overall (e.g., providers still seeking clarity about who to call/what to do when faced with a young person at risk of or experiencing homelessness).  

Rebecca noted (and we all agreed) the immense progress happening in building our youth response system; how all the various components – from the OrgCode trainings on “thinking like a system” to “how to run an awesome shelter” to “diversion” with the EOHHS resources and strategies, needs assessments and YHDP opportunity – A LOT OF GROWTH!  And a big salute to all the providers making it happen.

Youth services training for DCF – 5/23, HCC: The invitation from DCF is out to state agencies – DCF, DYS, Probation, Juvenile Court, Congregate Care, etc – limiting to 10 staff people per agency.  Our working group – Lisa, Emily, Tyrese, Phil, Jean, Gerry and Pamela – have met by phone to plan the day (and are meeting again on Tuesday 4/23 at 3 pm – please let Pamela know if you would like to participate).  Note: this training is being offered by DCF for state agency staff; the Network is providing the training (as opposed to this being a trainer for Network partners far and wide – no literal capacity for that!).  Pamela will reach out to DHCD to see if they want to participate (especially in light of a change in regs that now has young parents between 21-23 referred to DTA, not DHCD, for young parent shelter – this age used to be 20 for that referral).  


Youth Count Contacts (for gift cards for youth completing the surveys and other questions):


Berkshire County:Jacob Hogue, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority 413-443-7138 or 1-800-248-9002 x226  jacobh@bcrha.com
Franklin and Hampshire County:Kelsey Wessels or Sam Pepe, DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services413-774-7054 x 4 (general intake #) kwessels@dialself.org or spepe@dialself.org
Hampden County: Mark Watkins at the Gandara Center 413-654-1554 mwatkins@gandaracenter.org
Jean Rogers or Tyrese Tillman, CHD413-781-6556 jrogers@chd.org or ttillman@chd.org

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 4/10/19

n attendance: Rebecca Burgos, CFCE West Springfield, Hillary Cronin, VA,, Brenda Garcia, BHN Project Fit, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Jenise Kataliina, Square One, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD

Built for Zero Update: Pamela updated the group on her attendance at the Built For Zero Learning Session in Atlanta, GA in late March as part of the Hampden County CoC team. This is a very exciting initiative – over 70 CoCs and communities represented with 500 people from across the country – working as part of a national initiative (led by the national organization Community Solutions) in collaboration with HUD, VA and the US Interagency on Homelessness. Its first focus is to end veteran homelessness (several communities have celebrated this milestone; Hampden County has set June 30 for its goal!).  “Ending” means reaching “functional zero” where the number of people experiencing homelessness each month is less than the average number of people who are rehoused (i.e., the “outflow” is larger than the “inflow”). After achieving veteran homelessness, the initiative will focus its efforts on ending chronic homelessness and then all forms of homelessness (youth and family).

Built for Zero considers itself a movement for social change, anchored in fundamental grassroots organizing principles (there is no such thing as doing “for” only “with”), entirely data-driven and using that data to make highly measurable progress.  It is positively inspiring to be a part of it!
Pamela shared this information with the new 3 County CoC lead – Community Action – and they are participating in a webinar on 4/9 about how new communities can join.  We will all stay tuned.  The next national convening will be in October and meanwhile the work in Hampden County continues with the countdown to ending veteran homelessness by June 30.  


School Liaison/Shelter Provider Update: Jill Fijal of Chicopee Public Schools reported out on the Network meeting of school liaisons and shelter providers to build stronger partnerships so students living in shelters are better served and connected to services.  School liaisons will offer a training for all shelter case managers on July 23 to train them on McKinney Vento policies and resources.  Jill is the liaison on this.  Thank you, Jill!


Child Care Voucher/Head Start/CFCE Training: As a follow-up to the new EEC voucher regulations and our outreach on Head Start and CFCE, the Network is sponsoring a training on Tuesday, April 30, 9:30 am – 11:30 am at Holyoke Community College – Kittredge Center, Room 301.  Please register here.   We clarified that Sara Garvin of NEFWC will be participating in the EEC training; Rebecca Burgos will be the point person for the CFCE outreach and we will maximize the turn-out of shelter case managers to this training so they are in possession of this information as they serve families. 


MA Youth Count: April 12 – May 12 – Go here for the surveys and related information.

FY20 State Budget Update: Pamela, in combination with various Network partners, has been leading meetings with Western MA state legislators regarding the Network’s FY20 budget priorities.  Today, Network partners got an audience with Senate President Spilka who joined a planned meeting with Senator Anne Gobi (from Ware and Palmer), a fabulous opportunity to bring Western MA needs to the highest levels of state government!


Register for the Resource Fair!Monday, June 10, 9 am – 12 noon, Holyoke Community College.  

To register to attend: go here

To register to request table space to share resources: go here (note: if you’re having a table but have additional staff attending, please register on the general attendance link as well).

Next meeting date: Tuesday, May 14, 11 am – 12:30 pm, Frost Building, Room 309, Holyoke Community College.

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 4/8/19

In attendance: Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sara Cunningham, Community Action, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Elizabeth Mansfield, Tapestry,  Danielle McColgan, CHD, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Theresa Nicholson, CHD, Aidan Novo, Craig’s Doors, Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Michael Trembley, ServiceNet


SSI/SSDI Training: Big thanks to Caitlyn Thomas, a Social Security disability advocate, for volunteering her incredible time and energy to organizing and leading a training of roughly 75 Network partners this morning at Holyoke Public Library on SS/SSDI.  The feedback was excellent across the board and the only “complaint” was wanting more!  Pamela will discuss with Caitlyn any possibility for supplemental training and/or distribution of the presentation.


Built for Zero Update: Pamela updated the group on her attendance at the Built For Zero Learning Session in Atlanta, GA in late March as part of the Hampden County CoC team. This is a very exciting initiative – over 70 CoCs and communities represented with 500 people from across the country – working as part of a national initiative (led by the national organization Community Solutions) in collaboration with HUD, VA and the US Interagency on Homelessness. Its first focus is to end veteran homelessness (several communities have celebrated this milestone; Hampden County has set June 30 for its goal!).  “Ending” means reaching “functional zero” where the number of people experiencing homelessness each month is less than the average number of people who are rehoused (i.e., the “outflow” is larger than the “inflow”). After achieving veteran homelessness, the initiative will focus its efforts on ending chronic homelessness and then all forms of homelessness (youth and family).


Built for Zero considers itself a movement for social change, anchored in fundamental grassroots organizing principles (there is no such thing as doing “for” only “with”), entirely data-driven and using that data to make highly measurable progress.  It is positively inspiring to be a part of it!
Pamela shared this information with the new 3 County CoC lead – Community Action – and they are participating in a webinar on 4/9 about how new communities can join.  We will all stay tuned.  The next national convening will be in October and meanwhile the work in Hampden County continues with the countdown to ending veteran homelessness by June 30.  


Discussion of 3 county assessment tool:  The group began to revisit the question of the 3 County CoC’s assessment tool for its coordinated entry system. All Built for Zero communities use the VI-SPDAT, which was previously rejected by the 3 County CoC in favor of the AZ Matrix Tool. Pamela suggested the group take another look since the VI-SPDAT allows for a common language, more training resources and comparison with the other CoC’s across the nation (as well as the Hampden County CoC).  It was agreed that this was an appropriate issue for the Coordinated Entry work group to take up.  Pamela will just give a heads-up on the question (and what she took away from the Built for Zero session) at the CoC Board meeting on Wed. 


Update on PSH transition: Theresa Nicholson of CHD gave a report on its acquisition of ServiceNet’s PSH contract and her search for new units.  She has a promising lead on a complex in Millers Falls, although we discussed access to public transportation as a possible barrier. She will examine other transpo options. At this point, CHD will be taking over ServiceNet’s 26 units for PSH (and will add 28-30 more).  If CHD can enter into a sub-contract with ServiceNet (for its remaining dollars), some of these units could come on line in May; otherwise it will be in July when CHD takes over the full contract.


Shelter Plus Care conversations: We reported out on the initial meeting with DMH and ACCS (ServiceNet) regarding implementation of system changes to ease the eligibility and housing process.  The group will meet again in May and will keep this group updated.


MA Youth Count: April 12 – May 12 – go here for surveys and related information – please spread the word and participate!

Shelter Update:  Shelters are full as usual. We agreed to reframe this topic on the monthly agenda to address questions/issues ripe for discussion – Pamela will check in with Erin, Katie and Jade prior to meeting to see if there is something they want to discuss.


FY20 State Budget Update: Pamela, in combination with various Network partners, has been leading meetings with Western MA state legislators regarding the Network’s FY20 budget priorities.  On April 8, Network partners got an audience with Senate President Spilka who joined a planned meeting with Senator Anne Gobi (from Ware and Palmer), a fabulous opportunity to bring Western MA needs to the highest levels of state government!


Register for the Resource Fair!Monday, June 10, 9 am – 12 noon, Holyoke Community College. 

 To register to attend: go here

To register to request table space to share resources: go here (note: if you’re having a table but have additional staff attending, please register on the general attendance link as well).

Next meeting date: Monday, May 13, 1 pm, ServiceNet, 296 Nonotuck St, Northampton


Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 3/20/19

In attendance: Peter Cofoni, DCF, MarleneCorales, Westover Job Corps, Emily English, Gandara Center, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Ann Lentini, Domus, Gerry McCafferty, Hampden County CoC, Magnus Monroe, Davis Foundation, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Phil Ringwood, DIAL/SELF, Ellorie Stevens, DCF, Tyrese Tillman, CHD Safety Zone, Kelsey Wessels, DIAL/SELF

EOHHS Youth Grant Updates:Three County CoC:

  • Between Jan and March: 69 young people were connecting to services; 29 new young people served and 17 under the EOHHS grant. 20 young people have been housed. 
  • Winter shelter planning: discussions underway with shelter providers to make shelters more youth-focused
  • Needs assessment: RFP has been issued to obtain a consultant
  • Coordinated Entry: paused due to CoC transition between Hilltown CDC and Community Action

Hampden County:

  • 31 young people are currently housed. 
  • Needs assessment: consultants have been retained and meetings are underway, both with providers and young people focus groups. On April 4, there will be a debrief session with the consultants. 9:30 am – 12:30 pm at UMass Springfield.  Stay tuned for details. 
  • Coordinated Entry: Gandara and CHD are meeting at least monthly and are now the main points of entry for coordinated entry.  Working towards expanding the entry points and referral sources.  The outreach to DCF will be part of that. 
  • Youth shelter: working on locating space.  Meanwhile staff have been hired and are being trained and utilized for outreach. 

MA Youth Count:  Will take place between 4/12- 5/12. Planning is underway for outreach and identification.  DCF will be enlisted as part of the outreach.  MassHire Holyoke is holding a career services fair focused on youth on April 10, 4-6 pm, War Memorial in Holyoke.  Contact Gladys LeBron of MassHire Holyoke for follow-up. 


DCF training on May 23, 10 am – 12  noon, Kittredge Center, HCC: Elorie reminded us of the cross-training audience – staff from DCF, DYS, probation, etc. We clarified our goals and objectives: 

  • to gain an understanding of available services to address youth homelessness
  • when in contact with a young person who is at risk or currently homeless, to learn how to access the system, what is the full-service continuum
  • to get information on the eligibility guidelines for each program

We will have tables with information available.  We will provide summary sheets of programs and eligibility criteria.
Pamela will convene a conference call to plan further with:  Emily, Phil, Lizzy, Lisa, Tyrese, Gerry 

YHDP grant: HUD issued next round of grant opportunity for CoC for community response to youth homelessness.  Hampden County is applying again (previous applications did not score quite high enough). This time able to rely on the additional input from needs assessment and foster care project and the development of a youth advisory board.


Foster Care Collaboration Update – The journey mapping is underway to look at the trajectory for youth ages 14 to mid-20’s.  A  group of 8 youth met yesterday; very productive conversation.  


Be sure to sign up for the Annual Resource Fair on June 10 if you haven’t already!
To register to attend: go here.To register to request table space to share resources: go here

Next meeting dates:
4/17, 9:30 am, Kittredge Center, Room 203
5/8, 9:30 am, Holyoke Public Library
6/5, 9:30, Kittredge Center, Room 303