DHCD Data Report on Family Homelessness
- For where families applied (the breakdown among Greenfield, Pittsfield and Springfield), we would like to also understand the town of origin for the families applying (i.e., there may be some discrepancy between where the application is filed and where the family is from).
- The family transfer number is not useful without more context (transfers within a program are also included in that number). The group is interested in the # of families from Western MA placed out of the region and the number of families from outside of Western MA placed within the region; they would also like to pull out transfers that occurred based on domestic violence.
- It was noted that the number of active families with DV history had to be wildly underreported (59 was the number drawn from HMIS – out of 600 beds – the group consensus is that this is nowhere close to accurate). The question was raised about whether it was possible to add to HMIS a question when the family is exiting shelter re: “has the family member experienced DV either before or since the date of entry?” (recognizing that many people may not feel comfortable reporting DV at the initial intake). We discussed the barriers of data entry insofar as “new” DV cannot be captured in HMIS – beyond a “touch point” (aka case note) – without going into the initial assessment and changing the data – this is extremely cumbersome for case workers and contributes to missed reporting.
- Housing status upon exit: the group would like to add this data set to the monthly template.
Family Services Meeting Minutes
In attendance: Christina Aliengena, NEFWC, Shelly Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Cynthia Capella, VA, Christie Cullen, CFCE, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Holly Florek, CHD, Tavar Jones, CCO, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV unit, Luz Marcano, VA, Luis Martinez, CHD, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Johnie Sanders, ARISE, Pamela Schwartz, Network, TJ Steele, Springfield Partners, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders
DHCD has welcomed our request to receive monthly data reports on family homelessness to support our own review and discussion at our meetings. In addition to the data already provided via the monthly DHCD reports re: # of families entering shelter, the group is interested in the following:
· How many people request assistance?
· # of families who have identified DV as reason for homelessness
· # of families who have identified DV as part of their experience in the last 6 months (a question on the intake form), to capture underlying reason for homelessness even if DV is not most recent cause
· # of families denied due to eligibility for FEMA benefits
· # of families in Springfield shelters are from out of area
The group also expressed interest in obtaining data from other systems:
· DPH: how many families turned away from DV shelters due to lack of capacity?
· ARISE: how many families provided assistance due to denial of EA eligibility
Three County CoC Update:
Janna Tetreault reported that the CoC will be launching its coordinated entry system in January. Soldier On will have an 800 number to provide referrals across the 3 counties; all providers will be using the same assessment tool to prioritize housing placements and there will be weekly case conferencing meetings to utilize the priority list to match families/individuals with available units.
A question was raised around integrating DV shelters into the coordinated entry process. While this has been the stated goal, DV providers have not been contacted. Janna will follow-up about this.
Hampden County CoC Update (via Gerry McCafferty email):
1. For maybe 2 years we have had a semi-reguular meeting–about once a quarter–about chronically homeless families, attendance from Way Finders, NEFW and CHD in attendence. We met a week or so ago and decided at that time to make this a monthly meeting to talk about chronic families–that is, to talk about specific clients and brainstorm solution. We are looking to start in January. Like we do with adults, these would be families that have been assessed with a VISPDAT and have signed a release allow this inter-agency case conferencing.
2. AHAR. The total number of people in families in emergency shelter during the year has crept up a bit–it was 3679 in FY16 and is 3889 in FY17. A little worrisome–hoping it is not a trend.
3, Last year national PIT data. The federal report is out yesterday on the 2017 PIT: https://www.hudexchange.
DV/EA Work Group Update:
The group sent a letter to DHCD and DPH directors regarding proposals to make more smooth the process for DV families to obtain HomeBASE. (Click here to see the memo). At the same time, Yoshi heard from Jane Doe – the statewide coalition of DV providers – that they are working on this issue as well and they agreed to be in touch as conversation unfolds.
The group also discussed local process issues that may assist Way Finders and the DV providers in effectively assisting DV families. The group will follow-up separately with Janette.
Assistance for families from Puerto Rico:
Pamela distributed DCF’s memo that details MA resources available fro PR evacuees. The Family Resource Centers are the points of entry. Holyoke (Enlace de familias) has an amazing system in place – Mon-Fri from 12 pm – 2 pm providers are available to provide assistance. Click here for a list of resource centers.
The end of FEMA benefits on 1/13 was discussed. It seems inevitable that there will be a significant demand on the shelter system. Donna noted that DHCD is meeting weekly with others from across the government to map out a response strategy.
We did not have a clear sense of the numbers in Western MA, although estimates were made of 200 families in Holyoke and 250 in Springfield. Janette Vigo will report back on more data.
Network update: Pamela reported the good news that thanks to DHCD’s support, the Network will have funds to continue its work at least through the end of FY18. Special thanks to Assistant Undersecretary Jane Banks for her facilitation of this support. Thanks, too, to Donna Nadeau for her incredible support of the Network. The Network will continue to look at how it can best serve the region around next year’s re-procurement of the family and individual shelter systems. Stay tuned for further information on that.
Lots of moves afoot!
- CHD now at 184 Mill St, Springfield – where we met today. Thanks to CHD for hosting us!
- Safe Passage just purchased a new building in Northampton that will allow them to consolidate their 3 offices.
- Way Finders just purchased the old Peter Pan Bus Terminal which will also allow them to consolidate offices, have more parking and be more centrally located with excellent access to public transportation.
- ARISE is moving up the street to 813 State Street – better located, more space.
- WomanShelter moved recently to new space at 208 Race Street in Holyoke, near Gateway City Arts.
Tuesday, Jan 9, 12:30 – 2 pm, HCC, Frost Building 309 (unusual time and place to accommodate various schedules and meeting locations).
Family Services Committee Meeting
November 14, 2017
In attendance: Christina Aliengena, NEFWC, Jane Banks, DHCD, Shelley Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Public Schools, Joel Cox, NEFWC, YWCA, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Steve Huntley, VOC, Jill Fijal, Chcopee Public Schools, Holly Florek, CHD, Fran Lemay, Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Stephen Plummer, Springfield Partners for Community Action. Jenni Pothier, TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Lauren Voyer, Way Finders, Melissa White, VOC
Jane Banks, Assistant Undersecretary, DHCD:
We welcomed Jane as our special guest!
Jane provided the following update:
- DHCD is currently planning meetings with Western MA shelter provides to provide support for housing placement efforts;
- Planning for the FY19 re-procurement is underway. A consultant has been retained to support the process. A statewide summit for both individuals and families is being planned for Feb., 2018, as well as regional meetings. Looking forward to maximizing the input and the innovation around this process.
- DHCD is working closely in concert with MEMA and FEMA around the relocation of families from Puerto Rico. DHCD has received 174 inquiries thus far and sheltered 4 families. Now with federally declared mandatory evacuations, families will have hotel benefits paid for by FFEMA through Jan. 13. All providers should direct families to their local Family Resource Centers for information about available resources and support. (note: our school liaisons reported these numbers for new students from PR: Springfield 220; Holyoke 82; Chicopee 26).
More on the procurement process: DHCD is looking at the prospect of a stronger congregate model with larger facilities, 24 hour staffing, more active partnerships across agencies. There will likely be a move away from both scattered sites and co-sheltering. Consider the question: what do you think the shelter system should look like? Consider a vision that includes every relevant partner from schools to CAP agencies to health care providers, etc.
Discussion of Network funding and future:
Pamela reported on the Network’s funding status. As a result of the Governor’s veto of Network funding, the Network’s earmark is presumed unfunded. The Network Leadership Council met a couple of weeks ago and decided to use these last 2 months of the calendar year to plan for a new iteration of the Network that did not require staffing. While the Network’s Interim Steering Committee meets later this month, Pamela will collect feedback from Network committees around if/how they would like to see the Network continue. This is the first opportunity for that conversation.
The group today expressed a unanimous and strong commitment to continue to the Network; they expressed the critical value of collaboration and coordination to identify and address systemic problems; the importance of offerings such as the Resource Fair and other trainings; the value of a united umbrella for legislative advocacy. Jane Banks shared the universal recognition of the Network’s strength on a statewide level and the importance of it continuing.
There was discussion about the possibility of a rotating core group that could convene the monthly meetings. There was a clear preference to continue to meet monthly (as opposed to bi-monthly).
We agreed we would continue to meet and plan for Network continuity at next month’s meeting.
Next meeting date:
CHD – NEW LOCATION
184 Mill St Springfield