Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 1/13/17

Veterans Committee
January 13, 2017

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Nina Blokkin, HAPHousing, Cynthia Capella, HUD-VASH, Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Jim Mahoney, Holyoke Veterans Services, Vanessa Martinez, Springfield Partners, Melissa Mateus, Springfield Partners, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Chris Montemayor, HAPHousing, Digno Oritz, Friends of the Homeless, Sarah Polidore, Soldier On, Farah Rodriguez, HAPHousing, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Eric Segundo, Ludlow Veterans Services, Kate Sweetster-Owens, HUD-VASH

HAPHousing presented on its HUD-VASH program:
Thanks to Chris, Ben, Nina, France and Farah for attending this meeting to provide both background information on HAP and program information on its HUD-VASH program. The Committee had invited HAP to attend to learn more in general and in particular to follow-up around HAP’s unit inspection procedures.

Per our discussion, Chris provided this follow-up summary of the information shared at the meeting:

  1. HAP staff – Contact information for the VASH vouchers
    France Wolfe – VASH – Housing Counselors – 413-233-1525 – (leaving position end of March)
    Nina Blokhin – VASH  – Housing Counselor – 413 -233 -1508  –   (taking over France’s position)
    Farah Rodriguez – RA Compliance Manager – 413 – 233-1575 –     
  1. HAP’s Initial Inspection procedures for VASH vouchers: upon receipt of a Request for Tenant Approval (RFTA) from a case manager, the Inspection Administrative Assistants will schedule an inspection date that is agreeable to the Property Owner.  Every effort will be made to schedule a date that is no more than two business days out from the date of receiving the RFTA.

Should the unit fail at initial inspection, HAP will not reschedule a re-inspection date until the owner has called and indicated that all violations have been corrected and he/she is requesting a new inspection.  Once the request is made by the property owner, HAP will schedule a new inspection date no more than two business days out from request by owner.

Finally, Chris will reach out to David Failey, who works as a Residential Coordinator at HAP in our Property Management Division about attending future meetings.

Discussion of provider-based unit repair system: Steve Connor shared his successful experience of pulling together volunteers from the field to complete necessary unit repairs to meet code requirements. They had great success. Committee members interested in following up to create a system for a quick repair system: Steve Connor, Jim Mahoney, Sarah Polidore, Beth Barbra, Katherine Person, Cynthia Capella, Ben Cluff. Pamela will connect them all by email.

Point in Time Count: It is taking place Jan. 25. Dave Havens and MHA coordinates outreach to the population living outside in Springfield; Jay Levy for the rest of Hampden County. Gerry will follow-up with Chris Lizotte of West Springfield Veterans Services who is interested in doing outreach on Jan. 25 as well. Gerry is looking for volunteers to interview guests at the Rescue Mission.

Hampden County CoC: About 20 active veterans on their case conference list; bi-monthly meetings are continuing, veterans moving into permanent and transitional housing.

Three County CoC: Also meeting bi-monthly (once by Skype) and reviewing veterans’ list. Roughly 180 veterans on the list have been processed. Soldier On has now changed its system to have an intake process that includes a housing offer. The VA’s changes are happening from the GPD program to distinct transitional housing categories (e.g., bridge housing, mental health, prison release/diversion, Safe Haven).   Steve noted that Soldier On has 10 non-VA eligible vouchers. It’s unclear precisely where they are coming from and the basis for their distribution (Hampden County interested, too!). More will be learned.

Hampden County Sheriff/VA provider meeting: On Jan. 11, the Network facilitated the convening of Hampden County Sheriff Dept. staff and veteran providers to discuss further collaboration around discharge planning. It was agreed that an adaptation of Hampshire County roundtable’s model (monthly convening at the jail with discharge staff and providers to discuss discharge plans in general and housing in particular) would be very useful in Hampden County as well. It was noted that the difference in numbers (Hampden County so much larger) would necessitate further adaptation. The Sheriff Dept. staff will follow-up with the incoming Sheriff to discuss this possibility. Steve Connor will facilitate a letter from the Veterans Services Secretary underscoring the priority of this roundtable approach. The staff is also interested in screening every single person entering the jail to verify veteran status. They are waiting on an additional “user name” to utilize SQUARES (the screening tool), which Gerry will provide ASAP.

Announcement: Springfield Partners is holding a blood drive on Feb. 24. It is also sponsoring a clothing contribution effort to female veterans and female active service members and spouses of veterans blood drive on Friday, Jan. 20, 11 – 1 pm at Springfield Partners, 721 State Street.

Next meeting date:
Friday, 2/24, 9-10:30 am, Northampton Senior Center (to be confirmed)
We agreed to return to our regular meeting day of the 4th Friday of the month.
Agenda items: Point in Time Count report; invite Northampton Housing Authority (Lisa Felty) to discuss its HUD-VASH program

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 1/5/17

Individual Services Meeting
January 5, 2016

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, John Fisher, HAPHousing, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, John Hornik, Amherst Housing and Shelter Committee, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Jade Levitt, Craig’s Doors, Terry Maxey, SMOC/Open Door, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Digno Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, Friends of the Homeless, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

Three County CoC Update:
Dave Christopolis provided by email this update: The CoC is moving into the coordinated entry model this year which will begin incorporating chronically homeless people into the assessment and case conferencing process. The Coordinated Entry committee will meet next on Jan. 12. Rebekah Wilder of Craig’s Doors is the committee chair. TAC will also provide TA. Sometime in January HUD will release coordinated entry guidance which will be useful.

Craig’s Doors update: With state funding now secured, the shelter is able to end its “triage mode” of planning for the worst and now focus on stability and maximizing its space and resources. Shelter capacity is full and an anecdotal estimate suggests at least one woman and 2 or 3 men each night must be turned away. With stable funding, they will now also focus again on expanding shelter capacity for women.

Creating a monthly meeting data template: The group decided it would be useful to create a monthly template for shelters across the region to use so we can have a global view of our regional shelter capacity and a better understanding of the people who are relying on it. The group agreed at minimum on four indicators:

  • Capacity – specifically how many turned away
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Place of origin

The group debated whether to pick a given night to draw this data or to create a monthly overview draw or some combination of both. Pamela will follow-up with a small group to decide these questions, which will include: Janice Humanson, Christina Ruest and Jade Lovett. Pamela will reach out to ServiceNet (Katie Miernecki) and Samaratin Inn (Jenn Lucca) to include them as well.

Hampden County CoC Update:
Dave Modzelewski and Janice Humason reported on its bi-weekly REACH meeting where case conferencing on a by-name list of homeless individuals is taking place. At the last meeting earlier this week, it was noted that roughly 6 people had been housed. There was also discussion about the analysis of time and energy spent on particular individuals who are unwilling/unable to be housed and the fact that there are currently some available units that are not filled due to these kinds of barriers. Janice noted the recent hire of two new housing navigators (welcome to Stephanie and Digno!) who will be able to offer additional support in this effort.

Friends of the Homeless shelter update: at capacity. As always.

Landlord outreach sub-committee meeting: Pamela noted that initial efforts to schedule were not successful (not enough people could agree on the offered dates). She will try again looking further out. Interested participants include: John Fisher, Joe Schroeter, Charlie Knight and Pamela will loop in Janice Humason to see if it works for her or an FOH staff person to join.

Network funding update: Pamela reported that in view of the Governor’s 9C budget cut, the Network will not have state funding this year, which means current funding will run out by March 1. The Network Leadership Council will meet on Feb. 9 to discuss possible alternatives such as partnership contributions. Pamela will keep everyone posted.

Announcements: John Fisher announced the New England Fair Housing Conference, April 6-7. A great speaker line-up. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for further information.

Next meeting date: Thursday, 2/2, 9:30-11 am, Northampton Senior Center (to be confirmed)

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes – 1/4/17

Secure Jobs Advisory Committee
January 4, 2017

 In attendance: Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Bud Delphin, CareerPoint, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Lisa Lapierre, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Madeline Martinez, HAPHousing, Johnny Miranda, HAPHousing, Maegan Pedemonti, HAPHousing, George Ryan, Hampshire County Regional Employment Board, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Maricelli Serrano, BerkshireWorks

December 2016 Progress Report: Click here.
Hampden County: 7 placements in December, average wage of $12.25 (great progress!). Success story shared (see progress report) – fantastic work!

Franklin/Hampshire County: 3 enrollments and 4 referrals in process. Referrals coming from Greenfield Family Inn (ServiceNet) – good relationship building – and within the CEIS programs. Also utilizing WIOA to pay for CNA training. Good leveraging of resources.

Berkshire County: no new enrollments. Continuing to support ongoing enrollee who is placed and happy in her employment.

Other updates:
CareerPoint and FutureWorks have been recertified under WIOA and are working on collaboration to pool resources and integrate and maximize capacity, e.g., sharing business services staff. All One Stops are working under WIOA on new focus on populations facing barriers, including the homeless population.

FutureWorks (Kevin Lynn) and HAP (Ashley Brehm) met prior to this meeting (with Pamela, too) to discuss expanding collaboration. Ashley and Kevin will follow-up around creating a point of contact at FW and other pathways to maximizing the utilization of resources.

Mayor Meetings:
We reviewed the upcoming schedule of meetings with Mayors’ offices:

Holyoke: January 10, 3:30 pm, Holyoke City Hall
with Mayor Alex Morse
Secure Jobs: Ashley, Bud, Pamela and possibly a representative from HCC

Springfield: Thursday, January 12, 10 am, 70 Tapley Street, Springfield
with Kevin Kennedy, Chief Development Officer; Gerry McCafferty, Director of Housing
Secure Jobs: Ashley, Kevin, John (STCC), Pamela

Chicopee: week of Jan. 16th (to be determined)
with Mike Vedovelli, the Director of Community and Economic Development;
Kathleen Lingenberg, head of CDBG Action Planning process.
Secure Jobs: Ashley, Bud, Pamela and possibly Stephen Huntley of VOC
Note: since our meeting, this date has been established for Friday, 1/20, 9:30 am, Chicopee City Hall

We agreed our agenda would be to introduce Secure Jobs, demonstrate the impact the program has on homelessness and economic development and launch a discussion around possible areas of collaboration. Our measures of success from this meeting are: (1) city official investment in the continued success of this program (as evidenced by willingness to collaborate) and (2) a point of contact in each city around employment opportunities.

Maegan will provide hand-out summarizing impact.

Next meeting date: Feb. 1, 11 am – 12:15, Holyoke Public Library