Category Archives: Community Engagement

Community Engagement Meeting Minutes – 2/4/13

Community Engagement Committee Meeting Minutes
February  4, 2012

In attendance:  Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Jane Banks, CHD, Dave Gadaire, CareerPoint, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass., Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator.

Web site check-in (post- website migration, e.g,creation of  CoC corner).  Need to check in with Andrea and Michael (Michael couldn’t be here due to flu).   Will do so for next time.

Lynne shared that she met with the marketing firm, Six Point Creative, which is willing to discuss how to guide us re: strategic plan/branding.  She will follow-up with them about meeting with Steering/Community Engagement committee.

Follow-up on Leadership Council decision to endorse Governor’s proposed investment/tax proposals

Agreed Pamela will pursue county-based legislator meetings (as opposed to regionwide)

Agreed on not doing media release (sensitive to partner agencies’ varying positions on this).

Agreed on finalizing one-pager on Network position for distribution to Network partners and to post on blog.  Will collect committee members’ feedback over next few days.

Preparation for 3/5 launch/press conference on Fireman Foundation workforce development grant:

Agreed Pamela will reach out to all Western Mass. legislators.  Dave Gadaire will follow-up with Rep. Vega and Senator Knapik.

Pamela will send invites to DHCD and ICHH; will send special notice to Family Services Committee members

Pamela will invite all Western region mayors (Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has already agreed to attend and say a few words).

Will map out agenda when closer, but will include words from Bill Messner as host president of HCC, an employer or two, a client, Mayor, Fireman Foundation, at minimum.

Will make special outreach to Berkshire media since greatest distance; Pamela will follow-up with Berkshire Eagle editors she met with as part of transit meeting.

Next meeting Monday, March 4, 9-10:15 am [ note:  meeting time has been changed to 8:30-9:30 am], Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street

Include on agenda:  intern recruitment follow-up; work plan/strategic plan discussion and of course last minute prep for 3/5 event

Community Engagement Committee Minutes – 1/7/13

 Community Engagement Committee Meeting
January 7, 2013

In attendance:  Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Michael DeChiara, United Way of Pioneer Valley, David Gadaire, CareerPoint, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank for Western Mass., Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator

Website migration:  moved site from one website to another.  Success!

Next up:  tweaking template.  Michael, Lynne and Andrea.  Lynne is meeting with Andrea on 1/24 and will clarify her time on this effort.  Clearly CoC Corner will be her domain.

Consider interns to assist with website.  Andrew suggested UMass Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA), which offers interns on a semester basis.  Pamela will check into it.

Discussion of how best to present regional planning commission (RPC) transit information:

This is an outgrowth of the mapping project, demonstrating the barriers for homeless heads of households in obtaining employment.  Decision at last RPC meeting was to focus on public transit.  RPC asked how they should demonstrate info.  We agreed:

Demonstrate through hypothetical (and eventually real) stories that capture the challenge of getting:

  • To work for a 7 am or 3 pm shift start
  • To child care and then to work
  • To community college

Also demonstrate the employer need, eg., Yankee Candle, hospitals, how without adequate transit they cannot get their employees to work.

Also note how greater transit leverages more funding opportunities on a federal level.

Agreed that the information should not be overly detailed or comprehensive.  Should capture the on-the-ground realities in a story format.

Consider these routes to demonstrate:
Springfield to Holyoke
Holyoke to Northampton
North Adams to Pittsfield
Amherst to Holyoke (4.5 hours to get from shelter to DTA office in Holyoke)
Athol/Orange to Greenfield

Pamela will contact Bill Messner of HCC  and other community colleges and housing providers.  Search for stories with people who are willing to talk.

Leadership Council agenda planning:

10 am – gather
10:10 – welcome, introductions, welcome new LC members, minutes approval
10:25 – Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein (present 30, Q&A 10)
11:05 – Liz Rogers ICHH (15 min)
11:20 – RPC transit discussion; vote on position, next steps on advocacy (20 minutes)
11:40 – CoC update (5 min)
11: 45 – budget update, chair/vice-chair vote; next meeting heads-up re: CHAPA guests to discuss legislative advocacy
12 noon – adjourn

Discussion of request for Network to conduct training as part of CoC effort:

Agreed Network’s role is as support, outreach, but not in position to organize training, both for lack of funding and expertise.  Andrew recommended Mass Law Reform Institute, Pat Baker.

Raises larger questions:  What is Network role?  How do we define it?  Need criteria about how to respond to requests from member groups.

Agreed at next community engagement meeting we will discuss larger picture of Network workplan, goals, etc., to fuel Steering Committee level work on strategic plan.

Next meeting:  2/4/13  9 am – 10:15 am, Senior Center

Community Engagement Meeting Minutes – 10/1/12

Community Engagement Committee Meeting – October 1, 2012

In attendance:  Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Michael DeChiara, United Way, Andrea Miller, data analyst, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Lynne Wallace, Dietz&Co. Architects, network chair

Website Update:  Preparing to move site to

Must coordinate migration with design changes.

Sub-group responsible for web design:  Andrea, Michael, Lynne, Charlie (if interested and able – Lynne will reach out).

Andrea will facilitate transition (and group agreed that authorization for consultant payment for “maintenance” includes payment for set-up time).

Timeline: by next meeting, aim to have migration complete; Michael will start to consider designs.

Leadership Council Meeting Agenda Brainstorm (10/24, 10 am – 12 noon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Pittsfield)

Senator Ben Downing will be there.  Will ask him if he would like to share legislative update.

1. Regional Planning Commission presentation on mapping for workforce development effort (shelters/hotels/transportation/child care/job and career centers).  Consider RPC presentation targeting Berkshire County since where meeting is located.

2. EA update/discussion

3. Updates including Fireman Foundation grant and other grant updates; budget update; CoC reconfiguration

Next meeting: Monday, 11/5, 9-10:15 am, Northampton Senior Center
  Agenda items:  follow-up on website, Leadership Council meeting

Community Engagement Meeting Minutes – 9/10/12

Community Engagement Committee Meeting Minutes
September 10, 2012

 In attendance:  Michael DeChiara, United Way of Pioneer Valley, David Gadaire, Career Point, Andrea Miller, data analyst, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator.

Reviewed website migration proposal.

Migration and Page Theme costs are both one time costs.  A good deal with the promise of excellent results.

Dave Gadaire moved:  to recommend to Steering Committee for approval first time cost of not more than $500 and ongoing cost of $200 annually.
Andrea seconded.
All in favor.


Will revise and update summary one-pager for Steering Committee.


Rationale:  well-functioning website is core to Network’s mission to keep stakeholders connected and to provide repository of information.


Ongoing maintenance:  need to spell out volunteer vs. funded time.  Michael offers his time as contribution on LC (as part of UWPV).  Andrea is increasingly able to leverage various funding sources for respective projects (e.g., HMIS funding is appropriate for “CoC corner” on website), but the reality is that technical maintenance is also required.  Going forward, we can build this support into fundraising efforts.


Need to build this piece into the budget on a permanent basis.  Two tracks for maintenance: (1) technical management of the tool (cleaning up users/email list, functionality) and (2)  content management.


Estimated cost:  1/hour month at $65/hour = $780/year.

Committee agreed we needed to add this to the proposal.

Dave G moved a recommendation to the Steering Committee to add up to $800 for website maintenance for a total of $1,000 budget line-item for website.  Andrea seconded.

All in favor.

Leadership Pioneer Valley – Project Opportunity

Through PVPC – an opportunity for the Network to provide a project for a team of leaders to work on. Andrea proposed the idea of obtaining technical assistance on our strategic planning effort.  We have several goals: to align our plan with the federal strategic plan, to align with the CoC strategic plan and planning process, to address sustainability.  We could consider enlisting Leadership group to look at sustainability, e.g., poll constituents on membership fees; involve business community.

Committee agreed this was an excellent idea.  She will bring these thoughts to the next Steering Committee meeting.

Next meeting date:

Community Engagement, 10/1, 9 am, Northampton Senior Center.