Family Services Committee
May 13, 2014
In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Melissa Brown, YWCA of Western Mass., Cris Carl, Family Inn, Greenfield, Charity Day, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Brenda Douglas, Square One, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Faith Lafayette, FOR Families, Janet Mock, Square One, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Shannon Mumblo, Christina’s House, Maria Perez, New North Community Council, Shannon Porter, HAPHousing, Hilda Santa, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners for Community Action,
Report out on HAPHousing “summit” on family homelessness (Ken Demers and Shannon Porter): As part of its strategic planning process, HAP convened a meeting of shelter providers, advocates, researchers, state agency representatives, and the Network, to discuss strategies and direction around family homelessness. Discussion focused significantly on trauma-based care, and the impact of this approach and staff relationships (and staff care) on achieving stabilization. The role of collaboration among partners and sharing resources were also featured prominently. There was general agreement that shelter is shifting more towards a transitional housing model so that support services are built into the system. These supports are key to moving out of shelter into permanent housing.
Christina’s House, new transitional housing for homeless women and children: Shannon Mumblo, director of Christina’s House, attended her first family services meeting to share information about a newly created transitional housing resource in Springfield. The home, just recently renovated and preparing to officially open in the next month, will provide housing to homeless or at-risk women with children. It is a faith-based non-profit organization that has raised its funding entirely through private fundraising. The home will offer multiple services, including access to child care, employment and training, mental health treatment and personal mentors. The typical stay will be 2 years, although flexible to go longer if appropriate. It is not referral based but encourages interested women to contact the organization directly. Eligibility criteria includes: (1) must have custody of the children (DCF involvement does not disqualify), legal US resident; not in a current domestic violence relationship; not currently using drugs or alcohol; faith-oriented and willing to participate in religious study (it is a Christian organization but all faiths are welcome); 30% of person’s income is the program fee. For more information, contact Shannon Mumblo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-297-5552.
State FY 15 Budget Update:
Senate Ways and Means about to release its budget. Will provide updates to committee as soon as available.
Discussed the House budget cut to HCEC (Housing Consumer Education) of $900,000, which will dramatically impact the regional housing authorities’ capacity to administer the RAFT program (since it relies on HCEC funding to do so). Hopeful that the Senate budget will restore the program to level funding.
Discussed policy issue of expanding EA eligibility to families at imminent risk of homelessness. The amendment being sought by MLRI and Mass. Coalition for the Homeless (which the Network supports) did not make it into the House Budget. Waiting to hear on Senate. Meanwhile, Rose Evans, director of Housing Stabilization for DHCD, called Pamela to ask if the committee would like to have a conference call on the issue of EA presumptive eligibility (one of the means for ensuring no family is placed in an unsafe situation). All agreed we would like to move forward on this; Pamela will follow-up with Rose and let the committee know of the call date and time. Continue reading