Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
September 9, 2014
In attendance: Luz Alvarado, HAP, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Arelia Barrios, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Alvina Brevard, DHCD, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Elizabeth Connor, TPP, Charity Day, FRHRA, Jenni Delmonte, TPP, Anthia Eliott, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Brenda Douglas, Square One, Sean Hemingway, Center for Human Development, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Lisa Lapierre, CPM/Secure Jobs Connect, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV, Janet Mock, Square One, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Hilda Santa, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Lourdes Sariol, DHCD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Rachel Trant, DCF, Janette Vigo, HAP
DHCD update: Alvina Brevard, statewide field director, introduced Bonnie Caldwell (formerly of HAP) as new regional director of field operations for Western and Central Mass. Bonnie will provide her contact info to Pamela who will send it out to this list. We welcomed Bonnie to her new position. We are so glad she is there!
Alvina provided approximate numbers of homeless families statewide: Just over 5,000 families in the EA system, 3,000 in shelter; 2,200 in motels. In Western Mass., we have roughly 350 families living in hotels/motels. Alvina expressed her appreciation for all the providers’ tremendous work in the face of tremendous demand.
Alvina noted that approximately 32 families enter the shelter system per day statewide. Approximately 37 families seek EA each day at the Western Mass. office (in Boston, about 50).
DHCD responses: HomeBASE re-housing funds have increased, now offering $8,000 upon exiting shelter/motels ($6,000 at the front door). DHCD has contracted for substantial increase of congregate shelter beds to help move homeless families out of the hotels.
DHCD Undersecretary Gornstein has met with community leaders in Chicopee, Greenfield and West Springfield regarding their high numbers of homeless families in hotels. Some changes are underway, including the assignment of more intensive case management 7 days/week, 2 pm -11 pm. Contracts are in process with current housing stabilization providers.
Jane Lindfors of DTA/DV unit expressed her desire to be part of the discussion regarding DV issues and how best to respond to DV situations in hotels.
Lourdes Sariol of DHCD noted that we need to look closely at building capacity among neighborhood agencies so necessary support such as job development and child care can be provided to help maintain families’ housing stability and prevent homelessness.
Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke public school homelessness liaison, expressed the need for more support at the Holyoke hotels. They are in need of greater case management support.
Charity Day of Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority shared that there are now 84 homeless families living in 2 hotels in Greenfield. ServiceNet (via Fran Lemay) will be providing some intensive case management support.