Category Archives: Community Engagement

Community Engagement Meeting Minutes – 11/3/14

Community Engagement Meeting Minutes
November 3, 2014

In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Sylvia deHaas-Phillips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western MA, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing

Review of Simtech proposal:

We discussed and reviewed the next steps for discussion with Simtech around their response to our RFP. We agreed that Pamela will be the “project manager” and hold ultimate responsibility for supervision of the project. She will also steer the “collective impact” piece of the work while Gerry and Dave will provide the oversight and guidance for the data systems piece. Gerry articulated the fact that this work is critical to enhancing the CoC efforts, which is the basis for her time and commitment to the project.

We agreed to meet next on Friday, 11/7 at 8:30 am at UWPV to move forward with a proposed contract. Pamela will email Simtech to ask for additional clarification around the Landscape Analysis, their deliverables and their process for getting there.

Legislative Advocacy and Outreach

Pamela shared that the Secure Jobs Advisory Committee agreed to host a second annual Secure Jobs celebration. The tentative date is 2/6 and Pamela is currently reserving the Kittredge Center for the event.

Pamela raised the issue of how to balance this event which includes all of our area’s legislators with the request from Mass. Coalition for the Homeless to organize a legislative breakfast around the issue of unaccompanied homeless youth and other aspects of our agenda. We agreed that we would pursue legislators as a group for the Secure Jobs event and pursue individual meetings with key legislators to advocate for our comprehensive Network agenda.

Towards that end, we agreed that we would allocate a substantial portion of our January Leadership Council meeting to arrive at the Network’s legislative priorities for the FY16 budget (in lieu of an additional LC meeting February). Pamela would facilitate December committee meetings to include discussion of our legislative priorities in order to bring recommendations to the Leadership Council meeting.

Committee structure

We agreed we would revisit our committee structure to consider whether the community engagement mission could be a sub-set of the Steering Committee since both membership and agenda items are largely overlapping. We will take this up at our next meeting in December.

Next meeting: Monday, December 1, Northampton Senior Center

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