Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 11/2/17

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 11/2/17
 
In attendance: Grechar Aquino, FOH, Jesus Arce, Springfield Office of Housing, Sarah Hills, Eliot-CHS , Janice Humason, FOH, Nichole King-Bodiford, FOH, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS, Terry Maxey, Open Door, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, FOH, Christina Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Delphine Wray, FOH
Hampden County CoC Update (Gerry McCafferty): The shift to the new coordinated entry system (replacing HomeLink) is underway.  It combines the by-name list with HMIS info to allow for more complete information and history on the people being served.  The next step is a training on Nov. 15 to inform people about how to “refer in” to the system.  The group conducted a brainstorm of groups to reach out to, e.g., Providence Hospital, Noble Hospital, New North Citizens Council, Holyoke and Chicopee Police Departments, etc. Also upcoming is building out the system so it allows for making links to available housing, which will enable housing matches outside of and in between case conferencing meetings.  This should be up and running in the next few weeks.
They are housing roughly 10 people/month in recent months, up from average of 4-6.  This is a function of the Build for Zero strategy work, which includes putting in place systems to free up housing units and connect people to them as quickly as possible. Fantastic progress!
Based on street outreach, it is now understood that people living on the street go to Craig’s Doors in Amherst once their shelter opens (11/1).  Gerry will be reaching out to staff there to help bring them into the Hampden coordinated entry system to make it more possible to house these individuals before the shelter closes in May. This underscores the importance of cross-county coordination.
Three County CoC Update (Jay Levy): The seasonal shelters – interfaith cot and Craig’s Doors – is opening today.  The region is moving forward with coordinated entry, the 1-800 number is getting ready to launch; waiting on DHCD’s incorporation of the assessment tool into HMIS; the veterans committee is going strong.
Feedback on ICHH training question: ICHH asked for feedback from Network members regarding training needs for frontline staff working with all populations.  Specifically, the question is whether staff who may be focused on clinical concerns can miss tenancy-related issues which could de-stabilize an individual or family and lead to eviction/homelessness, e.g. failed unit inspections, missing deadlines for subsidy recertification paperwork, not reporting changes in income or family composition, problems with neighbors, etc.  Is this kind of training Network members would like to see?
Discussion:  The consensus is YES, this would be a useful training.  Housing stability can be tough to tackle when dealing with clinical issues.  Gerry will follow-up directly with Dave to get more info about what may be possible and will report back.
Network future discussion: Pamela informed the group of the Network Leadership  Council’s decision made at a meeting on 10/25: in view of the Network’s funding situation (likely not funded this fiscal year), the next 2 months will be utilized to retain committee feedback and professional facilitation to sort out the continuity of the Network without staffing.  The interim LC steering committee is meeting on 11/20 to discuss next steps more completely.  This committee meeting is the first opportunity to provide direct input on what is most useful (which will be relayed to the LC).  Comments included:
  • very useful to get big-picture info (not client specific) around the work that is being done; very helpful and informative
  • very important to have the opportunity for both CoC’s to come together and exchange info,
  • challenging to deal with meeting overload in general; would be good to examine: what are we doing, what is the goal, what needs to happen to get us there
  • Possible suggestions for reconfiguration included: inserting brief big picture updates at the start of case conferencing meetings (but it was noted that that would not allow for CoC’s to come together); meet bi-monthly or quarterly as a regional committee meeting, rotating facilitation duties; switch off between veterans and individuals so that still one monthly meeting
We will meet next (and continue this discussion) on:
Thursday, December 7
9:30 am – 11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 10/5/17

Individual Services Meeting Minutes
October 5, 2017
In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Sarah Hills, Eliot Homeless Services, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors, Lynn White, Viability

Update on Coordinated Entry 
  • 1-800 number:  Jay shared an update regarding the nearing release of the 3 County CoC’s coordinated 1-800 number to provide resource and referral information to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  Soldier On is administering the calling center (building off of their veterans hotline).  It will be open Monday through Friday, exact hours still to be determined.  Eliot Services and others are involved in training the staff.
  • Jay also reported that the coordinated entry assessment tool (an adapted version of the AZ Matrix tool) will soon be launched.  They are waiting on DHCD to integrate this tool into the HMIS system (suggested by November 1).  This will make data entry and implementation of a prioritization list more immediately doable.
 
Program updates
ServiceNet: Sam reported that cot shelter is almost fully staffed and ready to go (looking for bi-lingual staff person).  Trainings are underway around opioid awareness, Narcan, de-escalation, etc. A new doctor from Health Care for the Homeless is now on board.  Sam also noted that 173 people used the resource center this past summer, down from 207 last summer.
Peg noted from Northampton’s Next Step meeting that Eliot Services identified 25-30 unsheltered individuals in Northampton, more than ever before.  She also noted that the Easthampton overflow shelter is on track for opening on time.
Craig’s Doors:  Rachel reported that she and Jade are now co-executive directors with Rebekah Wilder’s departure.  It’s all systems go as they prepare for shelter opening on November 1. There are 3 managers this year, 2 with previous experience at the shelter. They are also incorporating extensive training as noted above and developing policies and procedures. Assuming traffic at the new Resource Center will pick up once the shelter is open.  They are also exploring developing overflow space at area churches.
Data Review:
We reviewed the 3 County CoC’s 2017 Annual Report and Point in Time Count Report, both required submissions by HUD.
Some discussion points:
  • Noted the increase in the unsheltered count, which Jay attributed to both better outreach and identification and the impact of the opioid crisis.
  • Under housing inventory, it was recorded that there was an increase in rapid re-housing beds of 100.  We agreed to follow-up with the CoC on this number since there is a lack of clarity around where those units came from (who is funded) and where they are located.
  • Winter shelter beds were also pulled out as a data point and we agreed to follow-up to better understand that as a measure (is that HUD’s?).
  • Interesting to see data around increase in job and income growth.
The group agreed that reviewing this data and better understanding what is submitted to HUD is useful to connect to both the goal of quality data collection and the underlying goal of ending homelessness.  We will continue the discussion at the next 3 County meeting.
Next meetings:
11/2, 10:30-noon, Springfield
12/7, 10:30-noon, Northampton – note: we agreed to permanently shift the meeting time in Northampton to 10:30-noon

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 9/14/17

Individual Services Meeting Minutes
September 14, 2017

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Nichole Bodiford, FOH Steve Connor, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, David Havens, MHA, Sarh Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, FOH Charlie Knight, Rainville, Todd Koniezhny, Next Step, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS, Sara Lopes, FOH, Jenifer Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, FOH, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, FOH, Keith Rhone, FOH, Denise Rivera, FOH, Christine Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Julie Strothman, Green River Software Firm, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors, Lynn White, Viability Inc

Built for Zero Campaign: Gerry McCafferty reviewed the Hampden County CoC’s particiationi in the Built for Zero Campaign (with Community Solutions) to refine systems and improve outcomes in ending chronic homelessness.  The year long effort includes 4 conferences with other CoCs. There was one in April and another is upcoming in Denver in late September.

As part of this effort, out of the last meeting in April, the group produced the Chronic Storyboard with its goals, measures and strategies.  The goal was to reduce the number of chronically homeless people by 47% by the end of August.  There was a 20% reduction.  While short of goal, this is still an excellent accomplishment.

In reviewing the various elements, there has been a mix of progress and the need to revisit strategies and barriers.  Some goals need to be more long-term than anticipated.  The trend on chronic homelessness placements is positive with 44 chronically homeless individuals housed since January.

One important data finding is that between April-September 2017, 48% of the newly identified chronically homeless “aged in” to that status (click here ). This points up the priority of prevention efforts in order to avoid chronic homelessness.

Another significant finding is that 39% of those identified over this same time period were unsheltered.  The question here is whether there is an increase in the unsheltered population or improvement in the identification and assessment systems.  The feedback from the group indicated that while there may be some increase, the training around the assessment process is proving effective and better identifying those that should be identified.

Looking at new strategies going forward, questions to answer include: how do we make housing occupancy move faster when housing units are not being filled quickly? How we do we create more units? How do we identify who is on the verge of entering the chronic homelessness system and prevent it?

Gerry shared a draft Prioritization and Referral Rules for establishing clear guidelines for prioritizing placement in available units.  The application of these rules will take place in the context of a new database called Green River, which will replace Home Link (which is ending as of the end of September).  This system will allow for information to be drawn from HMIS and will facilitate easy identification of chronic homelessness status.  The group unanimously approved these Prioritization and Referral Rules.  

Shelter updates:

The Rescue Mission (Taylor St) opens on 10/2.  This will hopefully provide a welcome relief to the demand at Friends of the Homeless.

FOH is averaging 160 people/night.  This is extremely high for this time of year.  There was some discussion about whether this is partly driven by recent “sweeps” of buildings where people were sleeping in open spaces and stairwells.

Craig’s Doors in Amherst will open on 11/1.  They are gearing up with hires in place.  They also now have their Resource Center which will offer day time support to residents.

Grove Street (via email from Sam Cunningham of ServiceNet):  Grove Street is full and the waiting list is very long.  They are now hiring for the Interfaith Winter Shelter!  People can apply via ServiceNet’s website or call direct and they can direct.

Samaratin Inn – 4 short of full on funded beds.  They have seen a doubling of people in alcohol or drug recovery, the opioid epidemic coming home.

Holyoke meeting: Gerry McCafferty attended a meeting in Holyoke to discuss panhandling.  There was recognition by Holyoke leaders that emergency shelter located in the community could be helpful in addressing their challenges.  Gerry encouraged shelter providers to reach out to Holyoke to support this conversation and need for an emergency response system in Holyoke.

Network funding: Pamela announced that Network continuity is at risk in view of the Governor’s veto of funding in FY18.  While overrides are being considered now, one is unlikely for the Network. There are currently 2.5 months remaining in funding.  The Network Leadership Council is aware of the situation and while appeals for partner support are going out, suggested that it is time for Committees to take stock of this possibility and start to consider whether they would like to continue with the committee and brainstorm volunteer management.  Pamela urged people to bring this possibility back to their management for possible discussion.  She will report back on any funding news at the next meeting in October.

Next meeting:

Thursday, October 5
10:30 am- noon (note later hour in Northampton due to a conflict)
Northampton Senior Center

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 8/3/17

Individual Services Meeting
August 3, 2017
 

In attendance:  Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Life Path, Lauren Jubb, Craig’s Doors, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Three County Update:
Jay Levy reported that the planning for coordinated entry continues with steady progress:
  • The assessment tool is determined (AZ Matrix Tool) and being incorporated across the region
  • ServiceNet will either expand or launch monthly meetings in Pittsfield, Northampton and Greenfield for all regional providers to attend and discuss housing match/case management issues
  • REACH meetings will also continue with a focus on system implementation and opportunities to assist harder-to-serve individuals
  • Soldier On – with CoC funding – is preparing to launch an 800 number that will be a direct referral line for shelter services and an access point to the coordinated entry system
  • January is the target date for a full roll-out of the coordinated system
The group discussed the use of the Network meetings in the context of this work and agreed that it would be appropriate, similar to Hampden County’s approach, to use the Network as a vehicle for bigger picture data review on progress being made.  Jay will discuss with Dave how to implement a system for reporting out on a monthly basis.  Jay suggested it would be useful to get data on 3 sub-populations: chronic, veterans and youth.
Hampden County Update:
Gerry sent her regrets but offered the following updates:
  • Performance Review Data for the last 2 years in preparation for the upcoming HUD competition. Jay noted that the increased numbers in the unsheltered count was due to the more extensive outreach and better identification of the population.
  • The Hampden County CoC RFP for the HUD competition has been released.
  • Gerry is attending a meeting with Holyoke Mayor Morse and others in the City of Holyoke to discuss street homelessness in Holyoke.  She will keep us posted.
Shelter Updates:
Grove Street: Sam reported it is full and the Resource Center has increasing numbers visiting it daily.
 
Craig’s Doors: Jade provided summary data from its 2016-2017 season:
  • Police and EMT calls were markedly down from the previous year (in police calls a decrease from 99 calls in previous years to 42 calls this year: for EMT calls from 42 to 26 calls), a great indicator of both the increased staff training and the improved relations between the shelter and emergency services.
  • 155 guests throughout season (30 fewer as compared to last season)
  • 20% were chronically homeless; 23% physically disabled; 49% with mental health issues; 21% reported substance use issues
  • 9 youth, 8 people over the age of 62, 15 people between 55 and 61
  • 7 veterans
  • average of about 5 women per night (only 6 beds for women so regularly turned away women)
  • In general, 2-3 turn-aways each night
Two shelter managers for this coming season are returning staff, which is great for continuity and overall capacity.
Jade also reported on the newly opened Resource Center in Amherst; very excited about this day-time resource for shelter guests.
Peg noted the fantastic progress in relationship building with the Town of Amherst and the sharing of information and collaboration that is taking place between Craig’s Doors and Northampton’s shelters.  We all shared in the congratulations for the great work.
FY18 State Budget Update:
Pamela reported on the Governor’s vetoes, specifically those impacting individual homelessness:
  • veto of Berkshire Regional Housing Authority’s $150,000 earmark that funds winter overflow shelter
  • veto of youth funding, which directly threatens youth services and housing that has made a great impact on this population.  Kim Majewski reported that Gandara is likely to lose some staff and is trying very hard to maintain support for the 24 youth currently housed
  • veto of RAFT funding that allowed for expanded eligibility to include individuals’ access to prevention funds
Additionally, the Governor vetoed the Network’s funding.  Legislative overrides are likely to take place in Sept., after revenue figures come in.  We have a very supportive delegation.  But even if overrides happen, the Governor can utilize 9C cuts if the revenue shortfall continues.  The Network Leadership Council is meeting to brainstorm alternative funding sources.
Next meeting dates:
9/14, 10:30-12, Springfield
10/5, 9:30-11, Northampton