Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/5/15

Individual Services Committee
March 5, 2015

In attendance: Matt Castleman, SMOC, Tanisha Collins, Friends of the Homeless, Jonathan DeMars, Friends of the Homeless, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Todd Koniezhny, HRU, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, David Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network; plus special guests from Father Bill’s and MainSpring

Zero 2016 campaign: Gerry McCafferty provided an update on the campaign. Shared the “take down targets” based on the campaign’s formula that estimates the number of homeless to anticipate in 2015 (using 2014 PIT count as basis) and therefore how many homeless veterans we need to house each month. This goal of “zero homelessness” factors in that there will always be some new homeless veterans/individuals coming into the system; the definition of success is becoming re-housed within 30 days. Every month data will be pulled from HMIS and follow-up will occur to help ensure a complete count of who got housed on a monthly basis.

Hampden County has a total of 110 individuals/veterans it will need to house by the end of 2015/16. Currently, there are 33 veterans in the system, 16 in transitional housing programs, 17 in shelter (many at the Rescue Mission). It will be especially challenge to get veteran homeless population down to zero due to the high number of Grant Per Diem (GPD) beds (transitional housing) in the area. We also discussed the additional challenge of housing veterans who are not eligible for veteran services.

The next step is assigning “housing navigators” to these homeless individuals. This can be especially challenging when there are people who are barely tied to the system with minimal interaction. It will take one-on-one engagement to move these people forward in housing.

The campaign is offering trainings on the VI-SPDAT. Gerry will send out the information to the group. She will also include information on a documentary on homelessness to be aired on WGBY in late March which highlights the 100,000 Homes Campaign and its success in NM.

Springfield ESG grant planning: Gerry confirmed that she sent out a survey around ESG grant planning. She is interested in hearing feedback about how to allocate the additional $20K the City is receiving, specifically whether to use it to support the hire of an outreach worker and/or to support medium-term rapid re-housing with longer subsidy support (closer to 12 months of assistance).

We also discussed the possibility of the housing subsidy being tied to enrollment in the Secure Jobs program, i.e., better chance of long-term sustainability with employment support.

The RFP will be released on 3/18, due 4/15. Funding will include outreach, rapid rehousing short-term, medium term and shelter operations. Continue reading

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 1/8/15

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
January 8, 2015

In attendance: Matthew Castleman, SMOC, Jonathan DeMars, Friends of the Homeless, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Joe Schroeter, Eliot CHS- Homeless Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Point in Time Count/Youth Count – Jan. 28

Gerry provided hand-outs with clear guidance on conducting the PIT count (thanks to Andrea Miller for her support in producing these documents).  You can find them here and here.

For people interested in helping with the street count, please contact Jay Levy or Dave Havens who will offer specific trainings in relation to this aspect of the count. Jay Levy:; Dave Havens:

Youth Count (from 1/28-2/3): will cover anyone 24 years of age or below (living on their own), broader survey, including youth living doubled up. The count is accompanied by a survey which will be administered in person and will also be available online (with gift cards offered in return for completion). Online address not available yet but Pamela will distribute broadly as soon as it’s ready. Packet with paper surveys.

For Hampden County Youth Count, contact Lizzy Ortiz at

The “Registry List;” Zero 2016 Campaign:

Gerry reported on the push to get VI-SPDAT screening completed for as many as possible who will be counted for PIT count.   This will be the basis for a “registry” of all chronically homeless individuals and the capacity to prioritize their need for housing. This registry would be administered in the context of the REACH meetings, i.e., with real person input that could adjust the survey results as needed based on individual circumstances.

The VI-SPDAT is close to being incorporated in the ETO system, with data sharing challenges solved sufficiently to separate out confidential from non-confidential information. This will spare an individual from having to be screened multiple times and will allow for appropriate information sharing across agencies..

The Zero 2016 campaign is working on creating a tool that will link with HMIS so it can pull out the VI-SPDAT score and other related information and provide the prioritization necessary to ensure the hardest to serve individuals are being served.

Legislative Advocacy

Bill Miller shared illuminating materials from MHSA (go here) that demonstrate the disconnect in state funding between the need and funding levels. Western Massachusetts receives 7% of funding under the individual services line-item for emergency shelters while accounting for 13% of the 2013 PIT count (by way of comparison: Boston receives 65% of the resources with 38% of the PIT count).

This gap is in the context of Friends of the Homeless facing a significant budget cut at the end of this fiscal year without additional intervention (they received an earmark this fiscal year that brought them up to the state average bed rate of $32/night, which will end on 6/30/15). We agreed that this issue requires Network attention.

We discussed possible advocacy solutions:

  • Procurement of the shelter system or “mini-procurement” (via pilot projects on a regional basis)
  • Increase unit rate statewide (roughly $4 million to get to state average of $32/night)
  • Increase unit rate for Western region alone (a cheaper solution, less collaborative)
  • Reallocate statewide for more appropriate need/funding ratios (all agreed it would be very problematic and likely counter-productive to advocate for cuts in funding elsewhere)

We agreed that the first step is educating our legislative delegation about this situation (MHSA’s data presentation provides a powerful tool). But we also need to come prepared to our legislative meetings with a proposed solution. We agreed we need to put this conversation in the context of the ultimate solution of housing; that these FOH services at stake are precisely what connects people to housing.

Pamela will reach out to Senate President Rosenberg to invite him to a tour of FOH.

Network Opening Doors Plan

Pamela updated the group that the Network’s contract with DHCD has just been signed and work is about to get underway to create the Western Mass. Opening Doors Plan, a regional plan that will align with the federal plan to end homelessness. She will have additional updates and information by our next meeting date.

Next meeting: Thursday, 2/5, 10:30 am, Northampton Senior Center


Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 11/6/14

Individual Services Meeting
November 6, 2014

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Eneroliza Cardena, HRU, Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Darlene Ducott, HRU, Lakita Flintroy, HRU, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nicole King, Friends of the Homeless, Todd Konlezhny, HRU, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Sarah Lopes, Friends of the Homeless, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Kate Miernecki, ServiceNet, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Claudia Phillips, Mercy Medical Health Care for the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

Hampden County CoC Update (Gerry McCafferty)

Funding update

HUD application submitted for grants starting 2015. 2 programs did not submit renewals – Samaritan Inn Transitional Housing Program and Loreto House. Loreto House is seeking alternate funds to continue its model. Jay Levy reports that Samaritan Inn has said that it has saved funds to operate at least another year. Both programs will receive CoC funds through August 2015.

Two programs under this new funding cycle will convert to permanent supportive housing (PSH) – Annie’s house (for chronically homeless women) and Safe Havens. 3 new programs: 5 new PSH units at HRU; CHD (via HUD’s “bonus project) will provide PSH for 8 chronically homeless families; Catholic Charities will provide Rapid Rehousing (RRH) funds for homeless families who are not EA eligible. These new grants will likely start in Spring 2015. Also just starting up from last application round – 8 units of PSH for families at VOC and HAP RRH funds for EA eligible families (to give these families a longer subsidy to sustain housing).

Next grant cycle will most likely be Spring 2015. It is very possible that Hampden County’s available pool of funds will increase as much as $1 million (to meet the “pro rata” need since the Springfield CoC expanded to include all of Hampden County). This could be an excellent opportunity to apply for new programs. Given HUD’s priorities, it is very likely they will fund PSH for chronically homeless individuals and RRH for homeless families. In view of HUD’s requirements for matching funds, Gerry encourages agencies interested in starting programs to begin planning now, and especially to start thinking about potential match and leverage sources.


We checked in on how the VI-SPDAT was going in its current practice. Friends of the Homeless did not have raw numbers immediately available but reported that they are using the VI-SPDAT and in general the scores are reflecting the perceived vulnerability of the individuals.

FOH is doing an amazing job of integrating the VI-SPDAT in their shelter. A big shout out to all the staff for their hard work on this!

Jerry Ray of MHA reported that they are beginning to use VI-SPDAT when units turn over. He noted that the information on the VI-SPDAT is somewhat limited to the extent it relies on the reporting by the client, as opposed to information from providers who have engaged with the client (the latter has tended to provide better quality information).

Working with Springfield Housing Authority on the VI-SPDAT is in process. Gerry suggests that we focus on other implementation points and learning more before focusing on implementation by SHA (in view of its size and what is involved in changing policies and approaches at SHA). At this point, when an individual comes to the top of the SHA list and SHA contacts Lizzy Ortiz (City of Springfield), Lizzy in turn can contact Bill of FOH to obtain a copy of the completed VI-SPDAT, provided there is a signed consent for release of information. We need to connect the VI-SPDAT dots with SHA over time (but they are not CoC funded so cannot require them to do so – therefore need to move more slowly).

Kate Miernecki of ServiceNet reported that ServiceNet has begun piloting VI-SPDAT as of 12/1.

Gerry reported that DHCD has decided to do a pilot of VI-SPDAT for homeless families in Western Mass. Excellent progress!

Continue reading

Hampden CoC selected to be part of Zero 2016 campaign

Community Solutions has announced the CoCs selected to be part of the Zero 2016 campaign, and the Hampden County CoC is in!  See the press announcement below:

Community Solutions Announces Selection of 67 Communities to Participate in Zero: 2016

National initiative will help communities end chronic and veteran homelessness

November 6, 2014 — Community Solutions announced today that it has selected 67 communities to participate in Zero: 2016, a national campaign to end veteran and chronic homelessness in the next two years. The organization said it would work intensively with these communities to meet the federal goals set by President Obama to end veteran homelessness by Dec. 2015 and chronic homelessness by Dec. 2016. The initiative, made possible by the support of generous sponsors, including The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Got Your 6, The Home Depot Foundation, and JP Morgan Chase, is a rigorous follow-on to the group’s successful 100,000 Homes Campaign, which announced in June that it had helped communities house 105,000 chronically homeless Americans in under four years. (A full list of Zero: 2016 communities can be found at the end of this release.)

Zero: 2016 will formally launch in January of 2015, when the majority of communities participating say they will walk their streets block by block to survey each of their homeless neighbors during the national 2015 Homeless Point-in-Time Count. Communities will use this information to develop by-name files on each person experiencing homelessness on their streets — a strategy designed to help communities connect people to available subsidies and appropriate housing options as quickly as possible.

Participating communities will seek to accelerate their housing efforts through four key areas of work: closing the research-to-practice gap, real-time data and performance management, local systems redesign and local leadership development. Community Solutions will provide hands-on coaching and data tools, and will curate a national peer-to-peer learning network to accelerate innovation across communities.

“Chronic and Veteran homelessness are urgent, solvable problems,” said Beth Sandor, Director of Zero: 2016 for Community Solutions. “These communities represent a potential tipping point. If they can show that getting to zero is possible, we think it will become untenable for other communities not to follow suit. Zero: 2016 is about bringing shared accountability to this work. Participants are making a public commitment to get to zero on time, and they will use that commitment to drive measurable progress.”

This announcement comes on the heels of the 2014 Homeless Point-in-Time Count, released last week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which showed that homelessness continues to decline across virtually all major categories. According to the report, communities selected to join Zero: 2016 account for a combined 31,669 chronically homeless Americans and 16,218 homeless veterans. Community Solutions estimates an overlap of 9,000-12,000 between these groups.

The 67 communities selected for Zero: 2016 represent 30 different states and the District of Columbia. Among them are 51 communities who also participated in the 100,000 Homes Campaign and 16 new communities. Combined, the group represents the joint, public commitment of 234 housing authorities, local government entities, non-profit organizations and community agencies. Five states (Connecticut, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah and West Virginia) were selected to participate as full states.

Zero: 2016 dovetails with other large-scale initiatives helping communities end homelessness, including the 25 Cities Initiative, led by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Mayor’s Challenge to End Homelessness, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Many communities selected to join Zero: 2016 are also participating in one or both of these initiatives, and Community Solutions has coordinated extensively with the federal government to ensure that these efforts complement each other well.

Selected Communities:

Communities applied by Continuums of Care (CoCs), the 414 local groups set up to administer HUD funding to end homelessness in each region of the country.

  • Arizona:
    • Tucson/Pima County CoC
  • California:
    • Sacramento City & County CoC
    • Richmond/Contra Costa County CoC
    • Watsonville/Santa Cruz City & County CoC
    • Fresno/Madera County CoC
    • Los Angeles City & County CoC
    • San Diego City and County CoC
    • Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County CoC
    • Bakersfield/Kern County CoC
    • Riverside City & County CoC
  • State of Connecticut – Full State:
    • (Includes Hartford CoC, City of Waterbury CoC, Bridgeport/Fairfield/Stratford CoC, Norwalk/Fairfield County CoC, Stamford Greenwich CoC & Connecticut Balance of State CoC)
  • District of Columbia CoC
  • Florida:
    • Big Bend CoC
    • Jacksonville/Duval/Clay/Nassau Counties CoC
    • Miami/Dade County CoC
    • Ft Lauderdale/Broward County CoC
    • Ft Myers/Cape Coral/Lee County CoC
    • West Palm Beach/Palm Beach County CoC
  • Georgia:
    • Columbus-Muscogee/Russell County CoC
  • Hawaii:
    • Honolulu CoC
  • Illinois:
    • Rockford/Winnebago, Boone Counties CoC
    • Waukegan/North Chicago/Lake County CoC
    • Chicago CoC
    • Cook County CoC
  • Kansas:
    • Kansas City/Wyandotte County CoC
    • Wichita/Sedgwick County CoC
  • Kentucky:
    • Louisville/Jefferson County CoC
  • Louisiana:
    • Shreveport/Bossier/Northwest CoC
    • New Orleans/Jefferson Parish CoC
  • Massachusetts:
    • Cape Cod/Islands CoC
    • Springfield/Chicopee/Holyoke/Westfield/Hampden County CoC
  • Maryland:
    • Montgomery County CoC
  • Michigan:
    • Detroit CoC
    • Pontiac/Royal Oak/Oakland County CoC
    • Flint/Genesee County CoC
    • Ann Arbor/Washtenaw County CoC
  • Missouri:
    • Kansas City/Independence/Lee’s Summit/Jackson County CoC
  • Mississippi:
    • Jackson/Rankin, Madison Counties CoC
    • Gulf Port/Gulf Coast Regional CoC
  • North Carolina:
    • Winston Salem/Forsyth County CoC
    • Greensboro/High Point CoC
    • Charlotte/Mecklenberg CoC
  • Nebraska:
    • Omaha/Council Bluffs CoC
  • New Jersey:
    • Bergen County CoC
  • State of New Mexico – Full State:
    • (Includes Albuquerque CoC & New Mexico Balance of State CoC)
  • Ohio:
    • Ohio Balance of State CoC
  • Oklahoma:
    • Tulsa City & County/Broken Arrow CoC
    • Oklahoma City CoC
    • Norman/Cleveland County CoC
  • Pennsylvania:
    • Lancaster City & County CoC
  • State of Rhode Island – Full State:
    • (Rhode Island CoC)
  • South Carolina:
    • Charleston/Low Country CoC
    • Columbia/Midlands CoC
  • Tennessee:
    • Chattanooga/Southeast Tennessee CoC
    • Memphis/Shelby County CoC
    • Nashville/Davidson County CoC
  • Texas:
    • San Antonio/Bexar County CoC
    • Dallas City & County/Irving CoC
    • Fort Worth/Arlington/Tarrant County CoC
  • State of Utah – Full State:
    • (Includes Salt Lake City & County CoC, Provo/Mountainland CoC & Utah Balance of State CoC)
  • Virginia:
    • Richmond/Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover Counties CoC
    • Roanoke City & County/Salem CoC
    • Portsmouth CoC
    • Virginia Balance of State CoC
    • Arlington County CoC
  • Wisconsin:
    • Madison/Dane County CoC
  • State of West Virginia – Full State:
    • (Includes Huntington/Cabell, Wayne Counties CoC, Charleston/Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay Counties CoC & West Virginia Balance of State CoC)

Community Solutions is a national non-profit dedicated to helping communities solve the complex social problems facing their most vulnerable residents. The organization’s work applies design thinking, quality improvement and a host of other cross-sector disciplines to issues like homelessness, unemployment, and public health. Zero: 2016 is a rigorous follow-on to the organization’s successful 100,000 Homes Campaign designed to help a select group of communities end chronic and veteran homelessness in the next two years. The initiative will formally launch in January 2015.