Category Archives: Family Services Committee

Springfield/Hampden County Funding Opportunities for Homeless Service Providers

There are several open funding opportunities for Springfield-Hampden County providers, as described below.

Opportunities Related to the EOHHS RFR

The Springfield-Hampden County Continuum of Care, through its fiscal agency the City of Springfield, has released two Requests for Proposals, seeking organizations to carry out homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing activities. The CoC’s funding of these activities is contingent on the CoC being awarded funds in response to its application to the Commonwealth’s recent RFR. The CoC RFPs were released Feb. 8, 2016, and responses are due back to the City of Springfield Office of Procurement March 4, 2016 by 2 pm.

  1. Administration of Flexible Funds for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing  The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to administer flexible funds for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. The agencies will serve as a pass-through for these funds, and there is no funding available for staff. Agencies will receive 5% of funds awarded for administrative costs related to administration of the program, Agencies must have a plan to cover/provide intake for the flexible funds in Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield and Springfield, as well as for victims of domestic violence–this can be done through partnerships with other agencies that will serve as Intake Agencies.
  2. Homeless Youth Initiative The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to operate housing stabilization, homelessness diversion and rapid rehousing for youth aged 18-24. The specific activities the CoC seeks are: employment of a Youth Stabilization Specialist; administration of flexible funds to prevent youth homelessness; operation of a Kinship Care program; employment of a Youth Rehousing Specialist, and operation of a rapid rehousing program for youth.

Springfield Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The City of Springfield has released a Request for Proposals seeking providers to operate activities under the federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. Eligible activities include homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, outreach services and operating support for existing emergency shelter. ESG funds are provided to the City to serve Springfield residents. This RFP was released February 1, 2016 and responses are due back to the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, on March 1, 2016 by noon. The RFP may be picked up in the City of Springfield Office of Housing, or may be obtained by email by a request to Gerry McCafferty.

 

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 1/12/15

Family Services Meeting
January 12, 2015

In attendance: Jason Allen, VA HUD/VASH, Jane Banks, CHD, Hillary Cronin, VA HUD/VASH, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Anthia Elliot, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Steve Huntley, VOC, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Faith Lafayette, FOR Families, Lisa Lapiere, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Betty Miller, VOC, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Victor Pap, DHCD, Jenni Pothier, Tenancy Preservation Project, Liza Rios, YWCA, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Evelyn Rivera, Woman Shelter Companeras, Hilda Santa, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Emily Santiago, VOC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Rachel Trant, DCF, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools

EOHHS RFR

Pamela summarized the EOHHS RFR released on 12/29 (proposals due 2/2) to create local consortiums to respond to homelessness. $900,000 is available statewide to be allocated to 3-5 grantees to create a coordinated entry system (“no wrong door”) and provide prevention resources further upstream. A companion youth piece is also available (the allocation of the $2 million for youth in the FY16 budget for up to 5 regions). The “Attachment A” which will include contract deliverables will be released sometime this week.

The group discussed the question of how the region should apply: as a Network in the lead in collaboration with the 2 CoC’s or as 2 CoC’s, each in the lead, with the Network as support. We discussed the fact that due to the vast geography and difference in population, we already have 2 distinct coordinated entry systems in development. We also discussed the concern of each CoC competing against the other. The only way the Network could apply is via the United Way of Pioneer Valley, its fiscal agent. UWPV and others from the region will be attending the bidders’ conference on 1/15 to learn more. The Network Steering Committee will be meeting on 1/19, prior to its Leadership Council meeting on 1/20, to review CoC and UWPV feedback and make a recommendation for the Leadership Council to review. Pamela will update the group as these discussions unfold.

Gerry McCafferty provided a draft matrix of the Hampden County providers who would make up the consortium (click here, note the attachment has been updated with the feedback provided at the meeting). The group brainstormed further, adding both Hampden and Three County CoC providers. Gerry will share this with Dave Christopolis of the Three County CoC and this document will definitely expand and evolve with CoC input over the coming weeks.

Family Services FY17 budget priority recommendations

Pamela summarized the Network process for determining its FY17 budget priorities, which includes each committee making recommendations for Leadership Council consideration. The Leadership Council will review and vote at its next meeting on 1/20. These priorities will define the Network advocacy for the FY17 budget cycle.

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Family Homelessness Committee Meeting Minutes – 12/8/15

Family Services Committee Meeting
December 8, 2015

In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Toni Bator, HAPHousing, Mary Grace Biastoff, TPP, Yoshi Bird, CHD, Ashley Brehm, HAPHousing, Sarah Cloutier, YWCA, Hillary Cronin, VA-Northampton, Libby Hayes, Homes for Families, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV unit, Luz Marcano, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Christian Merrill, CHD, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jordana O’Connell, CHD, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Evelyn River, WomanShelter, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Linn Torto, MA ICHH, Rachel Trant, DCF, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools,

We welcomed Linn Torto, executive director of the MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness, and Libby Hayes, executive director of Homes for Families.

Report out on DV/homelessness

The new sub-committee on DV/homelessness met for the first time earlier this week and confirmed its mission:

We agreed that we will include in our work both individuals and families who suffer from domestic violence and the risk or experience of homelessness.

Robyn Kennedy of EOHHS and Rose Evans of DHCD, co-chairs of the Integrated Task Force working on this issue, offered to come out and visit with our committee to exchange information and discuss ways to collaborate. Pamela will schedule in the near future.

Secure Jobs Update
Ashley Brehm of HAPHousing, program director of Secure Jobs, provided an update on the program (click here for attachment). The program is on track for meeting or exceeding its placement goals this fiscal year. Ashley shared the great success among partners, including HAP’s job developers working in partnership with the Career Center and housing stabilization workers. We discussed the greatest challenges, which include lack of child care (the limitations of both the DTA and DHCD vouchers) and the need for greater cross-agency collaboration and policymaking to prevent disincentives from working.

Linn noted that she is meeting with agency leaders and staff in both DTA and DHCD around this issue and looks forward to continuing discussions and problem solving (and feedback from Secure Jobs as the discussions unfold).

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Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 11/17/15

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
November 17, 2015

 In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Yoshi Bird, CHD, Sarah Cloutier, YWCA, Hillary Cronin, VA Medical Center, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Faith Lafayette, FOR Families, Fran LeMay, ServiceNet – Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Sherondia McKenzie Elliott, DTA/DV, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, CHD, Vanessa Otero, NEFWC, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Stephen Plummer, Partners for Community Action, Evelyn Rivera, WomanShelter, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Taijhia Steel, Springfield Partners, Rachel Trant, DCF, Luz Vega, Woman Shelter, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing

Family Homelessness and Domestic Violence

Special thanks to Sarah Cloutier, Anthia Elliott, Jane Lindfors and Heather Marshall for leading us in this discussion to better understand the intersection of DV with family homelessness and how the Network can address it.

The Population: Heather shared that according to DHCD data domestic violence comprises 13% of the current EA population’s “reason for becoming homeless.” All DV providers agreed that this number is vastly underestimated. Many DV victims may have a more immediate reason for homelessness – e.g., couch surfing – that is recorded when DV is the underlying reason. Heather shared national data that indicated that between 22% and 50% of homeless women report that DV is reason.

We agreed we needed to reach out to DHCD to learn about possible ways to enhance data collection around this population.

Jane shared data from the DTA DV unit that showed that in Western MA, of the 4,581 people spoken to about DV, 2,728 reported that homelessness or housing was their biggest issue.

Current Barriers:

  • No DHCD staff in Berkshire, Franklin or Hampshire Counties. The only way to process an EA application is via phone at the DTA offices. This creates a significant barrier for DV victims in a state of trauma (as well as all homeless families).   The only place to go in person is at the State Street office in Springfield. The number to call for remote access is 413-627-4462.
  • The only way for a DV shelter family to move to EA shelter is by being terminated from the DV program and having to newly apply for EA. This requires families to become homeless to get served. In addition to this illogic, it impacts DV shelter availability since families who may not be an imminent risk of domestic violence may stay longer because their alternative is homelessness.

[Note: HAPHousing announced it has Rapid Rehousing funds available for non-EA eligible families which could serve this population in Hampden County. All funds must be expended by the end of January. Contact HAP for more information.]

  • Housing authority regulations changed several years ago to require far more stringent documentation to obtain a DV housing preference, e.g., police report, restraining order, all things that may be very difficult to obtain if the victim fled her community
  • Limited DV rehousing funds. DCF provides DV shelters with $10K per year for housing stabilization funds. Maximum distributions are $1,000 per person. This amount makes it very difficult to afford an apartment with first, last and security deposit. The 10K total is almost entirely spent by all DV shelters in the region with more than half the fiscal year remaining.

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