Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

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!

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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.

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 10/2/14

Individual Services Meeting Minutes
October 2, 2014

In Attendance: Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Mike Hagmaier, Soldier On, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Katie Miernicki, ServiceNet, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network

VI-SPDAT Discussion:
Continued discussion of implementation of this assessment tool and various challenges, including:

  • How to hold information so it can “travel with the person” and does not have to be duplicated and can be updated. There is a need for an online tool.
  • How to account for confidentiality issues in the sharing of information among providers and within HMIS.
  • How to account for when an assessment “score” does not adequately reflect the person’s needs. Need to develop process for review for exceptions.
  • How to re-administer VI-SPDAT after 6 months and then 12 months of housing. We want to be able to measure the use of permanent supportive housing as a harm reduction model based on concrete outcomes, e.g., reduction in ER visits. Revisiting VI-SPDAT results after period of housing would be useful to that effect.

Soldier On, ServiceNet and Amherst Community Connections agreed to pilot the VI-SPDAT over the next 2 months and we will review the initial findings at our December meeting.

Hwei-Ling Greeney of Amherst Community Connections will check in with Andrea Miller re: integrating her data into HMIS.

Shelter update

Peg Keller shared that she received reports that numbers of homeless individuals were higher this summer in Northampton. She also heard that individuals were coming from Hampden County. Bill Miller of Friends of the Homeless shared his anecdotal information that more individuals were coming from Worcester to Springfield. Jay Levy reported that he is working with Worcester around their winter season shelter capacity in view of high demand.

Bill suggested that shelters look into their data and find out where people were residing before entering shelter. FOH and ServiceNet will do this, and compare it to previous years, and report back at the November meeting.

Next meeting: Thursday, 11/6, 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless, Springfield

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 9/4/14

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
September 4, 2014

In attendance: Deb Aloisi, Friends of the Homeless, Karen Dean, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Samantha Lambert, Friends of the Homeless, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services; Sara Lopes, Friends of the Homeless, Betsaide Maldonado, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Claudia Phillips, Mercy/Health Care for the Homeless, Lizzie Malave, City of Springfield, Tom Ray, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Joe Schroeter, Samaritan Inn, Rebekah Wilder, Craigs Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless,

Continuing Discussion of Coordinated Assessment/VI-SPDAT tool:

Gerry reported back about last month’s meeting in Northampton where it was decided to recommend to the Hampden County CoC Board of Directors that they require all CoC funded programs to utilize the VI-SPDAT tool. She wanted to review and affirm that decision again since attendees vary between Northampton and Springfield meetings. Gerry clarified that this vote would be an adoption of the basic principle; that policies and procedures would still need to be developed around actual implementation.

Jay Levy underscored the importance of the process and capacity for an override of a VI-SPDAT score due to various limitations, e.g., interviewing people who are not verbal and not able to sit through the survey, thereby scoring without many answers. He also noted the challenge of having staff and support services currently in existence for people living in shelter or on the streets which may have them score lower (and therefore not be eligible for permanent supportive housing) but without those services would not be able to maintain housing, i.e., in fact should be eligible for PSH.

Gerry noted that these issues will be addressed in the procedural guidelines to be developed, as well as issues around how to incorporate the survey results into HMIS; guidelines around confidentiality, process for how referrals happen and grievance procedures.

Bill Miller noted that the CoC funds a wide range of housing at different levels for different resources, and asked whether all funded programs will be required to use this tool regardless of funding levels and types.

Gerry explained HUD’s increasing emphasis on use of this kind of screening tool and anticipates it will see an absolute requirement for EVERY CoC program to assess and prioritize PSH under the Housing First model with the use of a universal tool. In short: yes, regardless of level or type of funding, every CoC program that provides PSH will be required to use this tool. But where there are particular programmatic needs or barriers, the development of policies and procedures will address them. model.

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