Category Archives: Family Services Committee

Domestic Violence/Emergency Assistance Work Group Meeting Minutes – 9/6/17

DV/EA Working Group
Meeting Minutes – 9/6/17
 
In attendance:  Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden County CoC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter
 
Major issues identified:
  • Releases!  How do we do the work of coordinated entry and protect confidentiality? Gerry will reach out to a HUD TA person who is designated to addresses these challenges.
  • Three County CoC: how is it addressing DV needs in its mix of funded housing solutions? Heather will raise this at its next board meeting (in Oct.); Anthia will consider attending or reaching our directly to Dave.
  • DV access to HomeBASE: why has no family accessed this resource? Is it the quid pro quo of a DHCD requirement for a DV shelter to allocate a bed to an EA family suffering DV in exchange for a DV family receiving HomeBASE? Is it too stringent income eligibility requirements? Is it concern for setting up a family for the “cliff effect” when benefit is gone? We agreed we needed to separate out the policy limitations around the benefit (the cliff effect) from the administrative barriers to accessing the benefit.  We think there is a communication gap between the leadership at DHCD/DPH and the case managers/administrators of the program.  More to understand there.
  • Must address INDIVIDUALS’ access to DV resources
  • Must address DHCD system gap in failing to adequately capture DV as the truly originating reason for becoming homeless
On the draft workplan reviewed at the meeting:
On Goals (as written in this current draft):
  • On second and third “indicators” of first goal of “improve access” we need to define what it means to successfully refer and how to measure it (perhaps these two indicators will be conflated and then fleshed out through strategies)
  • Goals of “integrate DV providers in the coordinated entry effort” and “increase collaboration between DV and EA providers” should be shifted to “strategies” to achieve the goal of “improve access to resources for DV survivors”
  • Other strategies for “improve access” include resolving the release of information challenge and gaining clarity on (3 County) CoC allocation of resources in relation to DV needs
  • Add a goal that pertains to increasing access to DV services for individuals
  • On data collection goal, add outcomes: CoC will provide data it already collects on individuals and DV (HUD requires the question on its intake); and improve accuracy of data collected (possible strategy: DV providers train non-DV providers on info collection)
  • On data collection, add ascertaining more accurate number of EA families in the system due to DV (unclear on strategies)
On Action Plans:  we agreed that the format would change so the document is one work plan with each goal containing a breakdown of strategies, indicators, outcomes – and all the columns will still fit on one page!
Next meeting date: October 3, 3:30-5:00 pm, Northampton Senior Center

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 7/11/17

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
7/12/17

In attendance:  Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Jane Banks, CHD, Shelly Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Joel Cox, PFC/NEFWC, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Holly Florek, CHD, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV unit, Luis Martinez, CHD, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Katherine Oquendo, PFC/NEFWC, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Yarelles Rivera, PFC/NEFWC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, TJ Steele, Springfield Partners, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Luz Vega, WomanShelter, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Lauren Voyer, Way Finders

FY18 Budget Update:

The group reviewed the Conference Committee budget outcomes (click here for a breakdown in relation to Network priorities). The outcomes are mixed, e.g., big loss on youth funding and Secure Jobs; some gains on RAFT and TPP. The Governor is now within his 10 day period to decide any vetoes.  Pamela will keep the group posted.

Family homelessness data update:

Pamela shared some of the data from the monthly DHCD reports required by the legislature. Click here for more information.

Donna shared that Western and Central MA (her region) re-housed 82 families in the month of June alone, a fantastic accomplishment and the highest in the state.  Reasons named for this success include: great case managers, housing staff, effective use of DHCD’s Strategic Housing funds, and great relationships with landlords.  It was also noted that Eastern MA poses the additional challenge of higher housing costs (and many units in need of repair at the Boston Housing Authority).

Jane Banks pointed out that while it’s a great effort, there is still much progress to be made as area agencies are at roughly 70-75% of their re-housing goal for this fiscal year.  The hope is to apply lessons learned in the diversion effort to the re-housing effort to increase success even more.

An exciting new hire of one of our own at DHCD!
Jane Banks, after 19 years at CHD, has accepted a position as the new Assistant Undersecretary for the Division of Housing Stabilization.  Congratulations to Jane and to all of us in Western MA (and the Commonwealth!).  Jane shared a few thoughts about her incoming position, including the imminent focus on planning for the re-procurement of both the family and individual shelter system that is on deck for FY19.  Coordination and collaboration will feature prominently in the application process, as well as measurable goals.  Additionally, workforce development – how to help families reach a livable wage – will also be an area of focus.

This conversation was the segue into our next topic, which is:

Committee workplan/goals for FY18

The group agreed that using the Committee as a sounding board for the re-procurement process would be very useful.  Specifically, we discussed starting now to work on creating measurable goals that capture cross-system outcomes development.  Even more specifically, this goal was discussed in relation to the desire to create more efficient and effective collaboration between the DV and EA system and to quantify what that would look like.

We agreed to convene a sub-committee to begin planning for this work.  Pamela will follow-up with: Yoshi Bird, Jane Lindfors, Holly Florek, Anthia Elliot and we will report back at our next meeting.

Next meeting date:

Tuesday, Sept. 12, 9:30-11 am, Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street, Northampton

Announcement: BHN’s Project FIT is open for referrals.  It provides wrap-around support services to families in housing crisis who have a behavioral health need.  Please click here for overview information and here for the referral form.

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 6/13/17

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
June 13, 2017
In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Shelly Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Joel Cox, NEFWC, Hilary Cronin, VA HUD/VASH, Anthia Eliott, Safe Passage, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV Unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Luis Martinez, CHD, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, Tenancy Preservation Project, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Mandy Winalski, Community Legal Aid

Family Homelessness Resource Fair Feedback Discussion:
See attached summary of attendees (based on sign-in sheet) and feedback provided at the event.  Overwhelmingly positive – great information, great energy, great way to meet people and discover resources –  with agreed upon suggestions for improvement:
  • more space
  • more time for break-outs
  •  bigger separation between break-out groups and main hall
  • break-out schedule more broadly posted (suggestion to have it posted on a big screen in the main room)
  • names and contact info of all participants provided in one hand-out
Additional comments from the meeting today:
Program staff really liked it; it was great to finally attach faces to names; great to feel the unity; impressed with breadth of experience and diversity of providers; so well set-up and professional (huge kudos once again to CHD)
HCC has offered to try to secure us the whole multi-purpose room with classrooms next year.  Advised to get them a date ASAP.
So the group decided first choice was: Thursday, June 7, 2018, 8:30-1:30, 4 classrooms allowing for 4 break-outs  to be repeated twice (with 45 minutes for each break-out group)
Second choice: Thurs., 7/14
[NOTE: since this meeting date, HCC reported that 7/7 is not available but 7/14 is, so the Fair date is confirmed for Thurs., July 14]
We celebrated this accomplishment with a toast and cake!  (Thanks again to Jane for providing).  And we had the bonus celebration of Janette’s birthday!
FY18 State Budget:
Pamela reported that the budget is now in Conference Committee where differences between the House and Senate budgets are being resolved.  The estimated revenue shortfall is appropriately concerning; unclear what will unfold, but it’s important to weigh in with the Committee.  Pamela will send a summary advocacy email early next week.
Homes for Families Visioning Day: 8/10, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm at Worcester Centrum.  A great and inspiring day.  Join if you can!  Jane will send out notice and Pamela will relay.
Next meeting dates:
Tuesday, July 11, 1-2:30 pm, CHD
NO AUGUST MEETING
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 9:30-11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center
Attachments area

Family Homelessness Resource Fair: A Great Success!

What an amazing morning!  45 providers from every sector and every county of Western Massachusetts came together today – housing and shelter providers, domestic violence service providers, mental health and substance use treatment providers, child care, health care and youth providers, veterans services, employment services, secondary and higher education providers and state agencies all under one roof at CHD.  Roughly 200 people attended!  You can get a sense of the crowd in the room from the pictures below. The room teemed with the excitement of people connecting, learning, and building relationships, all in service of our shared goal to support families in their efforts at greater housing stability.

The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive: “This was amazing!” “What a great event!” “I learned so much.”  “Great information.”  And so much more of the same.

Special thanks to CHD (and Jane Banks) for their fiscal sponsorship of the event and provision of space and related supplies.  We could not have done it without them!

Thanks also to our additional planning partners at Way Finders (Janette Vigo) and Community Action of Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin (Janna Tetreault).  And finally thanks to every single Network partner who showed up to share or to learn or (mostly) do both.  It was a fine moment reflecting what this Network is all about: collaboration and coordination towards preventing and ending homelessness.

Congratulations to all!

Check out the coverage on Channel 22 here.