Category Archives: Individual Services Committee


Hampden County Individual Services Minutes – 5/21/19

In attendance: Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Lynn Conway, SMOC, Jess Dorman, Mercy Medical Center, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Janice Humason, FOH/CSO, Mark Jachym, FOH/CSO, Nichole King, FOH/CSO, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, FOH/CSO, Gerson Nivak, Viability, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Emmanuel Owusu, Dept of Veteran Services, John Paglier, Mercy Medical Center, Denise Rivera-Nunez, FOH/CSO, Laura Robertson, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, FOH/CSO, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Catherine Torres, FOH/CSO, Kathy West, Eliot Services, Chris Zabik, DMH

Built for Zero Advisor Eddie Turner: We had the pleasure of hosting Eddie Turner, an advisor from the Built for Zero Campaign, based in Atlanta, whose job it is to support communities around the country that are close to ending veteran and individual chronic homelessness, and to help them reach that end-goal. Hampden County is making great strides in ending Veteran homelessness (roughly 16 Veterans on its by-name list), so Eddie began the day meeting with the Veterans’ providers and then joined us at our Individual Services meeting to offer his expertise on chronic homelessness as well. 

I highly recommend looking at the slide presentation here (note: the Veteran committee slides are also in this link, appearing first, and either check them out, too – interesting! – or keep going until you hit the start of the presentation on chronic homelessness). The presentation as a whole offers a great summary of the approach that is applicable across our region, as well as an interesting look at Hampden County’s current data. 

The group discussed the barriers chronically homeless individuals face to getting housed and what can be done to get past these barriers.  The current by-name list has 63 chronically homeless individuals on it.  The group committed to moving 13 people into housing over the next 5 weeks, by July 1, bringing the by-name list number down to 50.

The case-conferencing committee will continue to meet weekly and we will all take stock together at our next Hampden County Committee meeting on Tuesday, July 16, 1 pm, Friends of the Homeless (we are not meeting in June due to the Resource Fair on June 10).

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/13/19

n attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Kerry Brock, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sara Cummings, Community Action, 3 County CoC; Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Patty McDonnell, Joe Mygan, Starlight, SMOC, Theresa Nicholson, CHD, Aidan Novo, Craig’s Doors, Keleigh Pereira, Community Action/3 County CoC, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Thomas Poplawski, DMH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Josh Wren, ServiceNet

Three County CoC update:Community Action hired the new CoC program coordinator: Keleigh Pereira (pronounced “Kelly”).  She just started a week ago and we look forward to helping her make the transition to this new job as smooth as possible. Welcome Keleigh!
Community Action is also interviewing for the HMIS data position now.

Coordinated Entry (CE) continues to be “paused” as work continues to obtain the necessary data system  (as opposed to CE being manually managed through excel which has been the case thus far). It’s an expensive system to acquire so they Community Action needs to put out bids (looking closely at ETO Enterprise as that is the system the Hampden CoC uses) , and it could take as long as 3 months to get it up and running.
It is understood that in view of the transition to CHD’s management of the PSH units – and the openings to fill them – that stop-gap management of CE will be utilized (continuing with excel presumably). 

Permanent Supportive Housing update: Theresa Nicholson of Center for Human Development (CHD) provided an update on their takeover of ServiceNet’s PSH contract.  The official start date is 7/1 but they are in conversation with HUD around using some of the unspent funds for a “start-up budget” prior to 7/1.  HUD is treating this transition as a straightforward shift in contract management from ServiceNet to CHD. 
CHD is working on hiring staff and identifying units. There are 48 units in total:15 in Berkshire County – 13 are currently filled; 2 vacant; 24 new in Franklin County; 9 in Hampshire, 6 are filled, 3 are vacant 

The geographical allocation of units can shift depending on where the people who need them reside.  These determinations will be made within the coordinated entry system.

Shelter Plus Care Update:ccJay reported out on the meetings with DMH, ServiceNet ACCS (shelter plus care staff sub-contracted through DMH) and ServiceNet shelter director (Erin) and CHD and the Network to discuss how to increase access to the shelter plus care vouchers through accommodations around DMH eligibility requirements and to increase chances of success through greater collaboration via Coordinated Entry. Staff of respective programs are meeting on 6/7 to discuss further.

Right now there are 22 shelter plus care vouchers across Franklin and Hampshire Counties and 21 are being utilized. Work continues to find the right match for the last unused voucher.

Safe Havens: This is another HUD funded program that now works only with DMH support dollars but is a “low-demand, high expectation” model that takes the individual wherever they are at and offers support services 24/7. Peg noted that Northampton needs Safe Haven housing.  Peg and DMH staff are meeting bi-weekly to discuss how to address the housing/support needs of this population. 

Presentation on Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), CSO, Inc.  Special thanks to Lisa Pineo of CSO for sharing this information with us.  This is a 3 year SAMHSA funded initiative that provides mental and physical health care as well as an extremely broad range of services to all people of all ages regardless of ability to pay. Walk-in access Monday-Thursday, 10 am – 4 pm and Friday 10 am – 2 pm at locations across Western MA.  Click here to get a summary of services and find out how to access them.

State Budget Update:The Senate will be debating its budget next week.  This week is the time to ask our senators to co-sponsor amendments.  Click here for the Network blog post that details how to contact your senator and what to ask for. 

Next meeting date:Because our next regularly scheduled meeting would take place on June 10, the same day as the Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair, the group agreed to not meet in the month of June and instead meet at its next regularly scheduled time of Monday, July 8, 1 pm, at ServiceNet, 296 Nonotuck Street, Northampton. 

Hampden Individual Services Meeting – 3/19/19

In attendance: Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Marcia Crutchfield, BHN, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical Center, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Dave Havens, MHA, Richard Hendrick, social worker, Erika Hensel, FOH/CSO, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, FOH/CSO, Nichole King,FOH/CSO, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, David Rodriguez, Viability, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, FOH/CSO, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Kathy West, Eliot CHS

By-name list update:

  • Gerry reported that we are seeing a few months in a row where outflow was higher than inflow, so the number on our list is dropping and is below 80 for the first time since a year go.  
  • On the outflow side, the Springfield Housing Authority Mainstream vouchers have been a big help – a reminder of the need to be identifying new resources. On a recent call, HUD said they expect the next NOFA for Mainstream vouchers to be out in the next month or two.
  • The place where we have had trouble making a difference is on inflow—this is about diversion, as well as better interventions upstream (for example, hospital data matching and working to get people housed before they become chronic; also the foster care collaboration that is underway).
  • The CoC is sending a team of 6 to the Built for Zero learning session in Atlanta at the end of March, where we will be working on new ideas in these areas.  Stay tuned for the report back.

Youth/Foster Care/Needs Assessment project update

  • EOHHS youth grant: Both programs are staffed up, with flex funds available for youth for prevention/diversion, and some new RRH slots. Gandara is continuing the search for the youth shelter site. 
  • Youth Needs Assessment. This is part of the EOHHS grant which has been used to retain consultants.  Thus far, they have collected data, had a youth focus group, and are currently reaching out to some folks in our community who have expertise in certain areas (for example, sex trafficking, parenting youth, youth who have come from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria). Our next group meeting is April 3, 9:30-12:30 at UMass Springfield; our consultants will give us some data back and then we will spend some time in a strategy session.
  • HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project: The NOFA is out, due to HUD May 15. The youth team is already working on it with advice from the consultant team. As a reminder, the CoC applies for this grant and if selected, then it submits specific programs for funding. Initial funding is a minimum of $1 million over 2 years, with potential for renewal. The needs assessment meetings are feeding into the information needed for the grant application.  Hoping 3rd time – with so much additional work under our belt – is a charm!
  • Foster Care Collaboration Project. The team from New York processed information from a first journey-mapping session with providers, and took that to Phoenix (the second community that’s part of the project), where it is serving as a launching pad for that community’s conversation. The team is back in town tomorrow to meet with 8-10 young people who have been in foster care to learn more about their experiences of the system. Nathan V., who has been subject of case conferencing sessions, is one of the youth who will be talking to them. The information about foster care is also filtering into our needs assessment.

Heartland Alliance Opportunity: Way Finders is the lead agency applicant for a grant opportunity from Heartland Alliance, a national anti-poverty organization, for a 2.5 year, $75-$100K grant to support system change to join the homeless/re-housing system with the employment system to increase employment and housing stability. The target population must be people experiencing homelessness who are NOT on any priority list for housing. Way Finders is partnering with Friends of the Homeless (an informative focus group with 6 shelter guests occurred there yesterday), career centers and community colleges to create linkages and will use the template created by its very successful Secure Jobs program (workforce development for homeless families) for this effort. The application is due 3/29; 5 communities will be awarded this grant nationwide.

Discharge Planning:  We checked on this issue from last month’s meeting.  We had asked for people to submit anecdotes in their work around discharge challenges from hospitals/other institutions.  We received one comment.  The group decided that the best course forward is to carve out time at each meeting to check in on the topic and whether people have updates to share.  

We learned from Dave Havens about MBHP and Beacon’s new “recovery homes” that are opening that will allow for longer-term stays.  One with 14 beds for all men. We agreed to invite Amy Conklin from MHA who is overseeing this effort.  Pamela will reach out to invite her to our next meeting.  We agreed one of the roles of this committee would be to facilitate an exchange of resources to ensure all are aware of what is available.

Shelter update:

FOH has been full to capacity and using overflow space. They are very close to meeting occupancy limit.  Unclear why the numbers are so high.

The Samaritan Inn is almost full.

Network FY20 Budget and Legislative Priorities:  Pamela reported that the Network is holding meetings with Western MA legislators across the region to share our priorities for the region.  For budget priorities, click here and for legislative priorities click here. Please contact Pamela with any thoughts or if interested in attending the meetings.

Also be sure to sign up for the Annual Resource Fair on June 10 if you haven’t already!
To register to attend: go here.

To register to request table space to share resources: go here

Next Committee meeting: Tuesday, April 16 1 pm – 2 pm, FOH 

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/11/19

Note:The Network’s 3rd Annual Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers – Monday, June 10, 9 am – 12:30 pm, Holyoke Community College:
To register to attend: go here.
To register to request table space to share resources: go here

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sara Cummings, Community Action, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Julie Federman, Town of Amherst, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Andy Klatka, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Theresa Nicholson, Center for Human Development, Aidan Novo, Craig’s Doors, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Mena Regan, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Michael Trembley, ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Josh Wren, ServiceNet

Coordinated Entry update: currently on hold as the transition between CoCs has created some complications. Community Action is working on it and will keep us all posted.

Shelter Plus Care beds: we learned more as a group from both DMH and ServiceNet about how these beds are allocated. They are funded with CoC dollars through ServiceNet. Eligibility for the housing subsidy requires DMH eligibility (for support services). The challenge can happen in the process of obtaining DMH eligibility. This is a statewide issue, not unique to the 3 county region. Right now there are possibly 2 shelter plus care vouchers available which are not being utilized b/c of the gap in DMH eligibility. We agreed we would discuss this more as a sub-group. Pamela will reach out to Erin Forbush, Jay Levy, Theresa Nicholson Elizabeth Bienz, Chris Zabik, Kate Shaprio and Dan Bustler (sp?) to participate in this meeting.

SMOC housing units in Easthampton: We followed up after the last meeting regarding vacancies in these units. Various partners reached out and Pamela received an update prior to this meeting from SMOC that reported significant progress in filling the vacancies. There are currently 5 units out of total 11 that are still available and receiving applications. We agreed to stay in touch on this and hope for quick filling of vacancies.

Racial Equity in Ending Homelessness training: Pamela reported out on the first of a 3 part training that took place on March 7. About 100 Network partners participated. The trainer, Marc Dones, was extremely well-received and the feedback has been excellent. The presentation can be found by going to this link.

There are 2 other sessions in April and June and Pamela reported the Network’s commitment to continue this work for the duration of the Network. The next 2 sessions will address more concrete actions we can take. Pamela will continue to report back.

Network FY20 budget and legislative priorities: Click here for the FY20 Budget Priorities and here for the FY20 legislative priorities. The Network is scheduling meetings with Western MA legislators across the region to discuss its FY20 budget and legislative priorities. Please contact Pamela Schwartz at if you are interested in seeing the schedule and participating in any meetings.

Supplemental Security Income training – Monday, April 8, 9 am -12:30 pm, Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke. Pamela reminded all of this upcoming training about how to access SSI to help end homelessness and how the benefit relates to eligibility for other resources. Caitlin Thomas, an SSI disability expert, is leading the training, along with other partners. Please email Caitlin directly at to RSVP.

Opioid Prevention and Treatment training: Wed., April 10, 9 am – 3 pm, Sheraton Springfield Hotel, Springfield, sponsored by the statewide Health Resources in Action. Promising policies and practices will be shared around the topic of opioid overdoes prevention, responses and postvention. Register here

Shelter updates: Grove Street, Cot Shelter, Craig’s Doors – all shelters are full (over-full) with wait lists.

Big picture discussion on meeting structure/location, etc.
The group checked in on how best to promote our goals of advancing our regional model of Housing First, including diversion, harm reduction and housing focused, all within the coordinated entry system. Jade shared the challenge of limited staff capacity alongside a desire to participate in the regional effort. In addition to their seasonal shelter, they are running a rapid rehousing program, case management, community breakfasts and a daytime resource center. We agreed that the OrgCode trainings were very useful. ServiceNet shared that they are in the process of implementing changes that were reflected in the trainings. Erin noted the variations within each county and the need to account for them in the change process. We agreed it would be useful to spend time as a group sharing more on this process. We acknowledged that the transition between CoC leads offers both a short-term challenge and opportunity for the long-term. We affirmed meeting continuing to meet at our regularly scheduled time and place for now.

Next meeting date: Monday, April 8, 1 pm, ServiceNet, 296 Nonotuck Street, Northampton

3 County Individual Services Committee Minutes – 2/11/19

In attendance: Sam Cunningham, Resource Center/Cot Shelter/ServiceNet, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Mike Trembley, Hampshire County Resource Center/ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging


  • Kate Shapiro, DMH: at least one Shelter Plus Care voucher is available – Eliot Services is connecting with individuals who are eligible to use it 
  • Jay Levy, Eliot Services: updated the group on CSO’s new 2-year SAMHSA grant a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic – CCBHC program) that will run out of  Northampton, Greenfield and Amherst and provide outreach services to dually diagnosed individuals who are reticent to receive clinical services – an exciting partnership opportunity for housing providers.  They are also launching a Living Room model drop-in program (a similar model exists in Springfield through BHN). They are hiring now and hopefully will be up and running within 2 months.  
  • Coordinated Entry Update: With Nikki Riello’s departure from Hilltown CDC (she was the keeper of the list) and the CoC transition to Community Action, there is not a new update on coordinated entry or the by-name list.
  • ServiceNet update: Greenfield and Northampton beds are full.  Beds are available in Pittsfield. 2 female beds for PSH (through MHSA contract) (3 bedroom apt; chronicity is not a requirement). Barton’s Crossing also has beds available (within the shelter setting; good for early recovery).  Do not need to be chronic. 
  • SMOC: has 5 openings in Easthampton; also an opening in Chicopee.  We agreed that Pamela and Hayley and Mike would be contacting Terry Maxey, director, to gain a better understanding of why these units are not being filled.

Discussion of eligibility flow for Shelter Plus Care vouchers:We discussed at great length the current system challenges of expedient use of shelter plus car vouchers.  DMH must establish eligibility for these units, and individuals being assessed for them are linked through ACCS (Adult Community Clinical Services), a ServiceNet program that is funded through DMH.  Right now, ACCS does NOT intersect with 3 county’s Coordinated Entry system.  It was agreed we need to fix that!  Erin will reach out to the ACCS staff person and invite them to this meeting.  We also agreed that in order to close the gap between DMH assessment and timely use of an available voucher, the system should move towards assessing eligibility (assuming willing individual, of course) PRIOR to voucher becoming available; that this eligibility info is part of the data tracking in the CE list so as soon as the voucher becomes available, the list can provide quick distribution of it. This requires coordination with ACCS which is our next step in the coordination process.

Point in Time Count Update from January, 2019:
Jay reported a total of 28 unsheltered individuals in the 3 county region:7 in Amherst, 6 in Northampton, 6 in Pittsfield, 3 in Greenfield, 3 in Hadley, 2 in Great Barrington, 1 in Leverett.Shelters were all over-capacity. 
Outreach by Julie Federman, Amherst Homelessness Systems:Julie Federman reached out to Pamela to discuss how best to approach the follow-up on “how to run an awesome shelter” so that the response is regionally developed.  We agreed to initially use this meeting as the place to start this dialogue.  Pamela will invite Julie (and she can invite others; in particular Craig’s Doors) to join us at our next meeting on March 11. We agreed this is an exciting step forward to expand the scope of this important discussion.

We also discussed how “systems work” in the 3 county region must incorporate the THREE different sub-systems within, one for each county, due to the wide geography and variations in population for each area.  This geographic expanse brings an additional challenge to the coordination and we recognize the goal is to create the shared best practices that join shelter and re-housing practice across the region. 

Racial Equity in Homelessness Training coming up:Pamela reminded all of this 3-part training – March 7, April 25, June 6 – that will launch our region’s process to have racial equity inform Western Mass.’ homelessness response system. Please let Pamela know if you want additional information. 

Next meeting date: March 11, 1 pm, ServiceNet, 196 Nonotuck Street, Florence

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 1/11/19

In attendance: Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Andy Klatka, Eliot Services, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Patti McDonnell, SMOC, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Brenda Plante, Eliot Services, Nikki Riello, Hilltown CDC, Jack Tulloss, ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Josh Wren, ServiceNet 

Point in Time Count:Taking place on Jan. 30.  Working out outreach and plans which will be provided in more detail at the next Coordinated Entry meeting on next Monday on 1/28.

Amherst forum with landlords took place last week. Jay reported multiple service providers were present and discussion of unaffordable rents was a central topic.

Nikki Riello of Hilltown CDC is moving to a new position at Berkshire Bank Foundation.  Thank you, Nikki!

Discussion and debrief of “how to run an awesome shelter training”  that took place on 12/18/18. This training was offered by Iain DeJong of OrgCode as part of the Network’s training series this year.  Pamela prepared a summary hand-out of the major points that the group reviewed.  Those who had attended the training reported out that it was useful and discussion was underway about ways to implement lessons learned.  At the next meeting on Feb. 11, we will go into further depth around the training take-aways and if/how we can implement here.

Next meeting date: Monday, Feb. 11, 1 pm, 196 Nonotuck Street, Florence.Note: Upcoming training on Progressive Engagement and Diversion on Thurs., Jan. 31 at HCC has some slots left.  Click here to learn more.

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 12/13/18

VIn attendance: Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Craig Deraway,Soldier On, Justin Maynard, VA,  Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield,Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, VA, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO,Allie Wilson-Pierce, VA

Hampden County Update: 19 veterans currently on the by-name list. Housing is identified for half. Will be using Chapin Mansion (through VOC) that has 8 vacancies and has changed its policies to low barrier (no longer sober housing).  It will prioritize housing veterans. 

The non-VA eligible HUD-VASH vouchers have been all but approved (awaiting final final approval after some minor changes to the agreement).  There will be 11 vouchers to be used across the region. This will make a huge impact for hardest to house veterans.

A few veterans have returned to the area and are repeat voucher recipients.  This raised the larger challenge, i.e., how to better serve veterans who need more support than VASH currently gives (due to case load andveterans’ needs).  The veterans involved here have thought disorders thatmake stability especially difficult.  We will further research best practices on this challenge (Gerry will see what Built for Zero folks have tooffer).  We also discussed the value of Critical Time Intervention (CTI) as a model that has proven success. We agreed that to train on this model wouldrequire regional and organizational buy-in (from top down to bottom up) and this is something the CoCs could encourage/require in their grant funding application process. We will discuss further.

Three county Update:

We discussed 3 County’s by-name list.  It does not include veterans living at Soldier On, just unsheltered veterans outside of Soldier On. We discussed the fact that because veterans in transitional housing at Soldier On are considered homeless and must be rehoused that it could be helpful in our regional work to have them on the by-name list; it would also allow for better tracking as veterans move in and out of Soldier On, and up and down 91, and providers would have a better chance of understanding history and needs when they enter the system again.  

We also noted that Soldier On’s permanent housing is allocatedbased on traditional fair housing criteria (first come first serve), and is notintegrated into coordinated entry where vulnerability and chronic homelessnessare the deciding factors.  This creates a disconnect between VA requirements for allocating HUD-VASH (prioritization based on acuity of need).  This issue has been discussed previously and we agreed it would beuseful to get an update on where conversations are at with the VA and HUD.  Pamela will reach out to Jim Seney to get an update.

We agreed it would be useful to meet across the CoC’s to brainstormhow to build better collaboration and possibly one by-name list.  We agreed Pamela would reach out to:

3  County CoC – Brad and Lisa, co-chairs, and CommunityAction as the incoming lead
VA – Jim Kate, Allie, Solider On – Craig, Mike
Hampden County CoC – Gerry
ServiceNet – Erin Forbush
Hilltown CDC – Nikki Riello, Dave C

 Our goal is to identify the barriers to unified coordinatedentry – what are local and what are national – and determine together nextsteps.

Next quarterly meeting date: Thurs., March 14, 9:30-11 am, Frost Building, Room 309

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 12/10/18

In attendance: Charlyn Arnell, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Nikki Riello, Hilltown CDC, Brendan Plante, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Mike Trembley, ServiceNet, Josh Wren, ServiceNet

Coordinated Entry Update: Few housing matches being made due to limited openings (Pittsfield location is the one exception). Awaiting new HUD funding cycle to pick up ServiceNet’s PSH units (people are being re-housed as needed and about 30 of their units will eventually continue to be PSH units at below-market rents without subsidy).

Lumber Yard affordable housing in Northampton: They are taking applications, deadline is Jan. 17 with lottery happening in February. Most apartments are 2 BRs (more family friendly).

SMOC housing update:

Three County CoC Update: Community Action Pioneer Valley was voted to be the new lead agency for the Three County CoC. Very exciting development for the region. Hilltown CDC was thanked for their 6 years of leadership. Lisa Goldsmith and Brad Gordon as CoC co-chairs were also thanked for shepherding this transition process.

Report out on Regional Homelessness event of 11/16: Pamela provided an update on the regional event at GCC on Nov. 16 that included state legislators, mayors, housing authorities, sheriff departments, hospitals, career centers and dozens of Network partners across every sector. Gerry McCafferty produced an excellent report on homelessness in the region which can be found here. There was engaged discussion on concrete strategies to enlist to reduce homelessness, including encouraging housing authorities to apply for about-to-be-released Section 811 Mainstream vouchers that could house chronically homeless individuals and families. Pamela and other Network partners will continue to follow-up on this and other strategies to encourage continued collaboration.

Network training updates: The Network just hosted a successful training on 12/6 for 75 people on EA/HomeBASE programs. DHCD trainers Alvina Brevard and Amy Mullen did an excellent job and powerpoint presentations are available here. Upcoming trainings include “how to think like a system” on Dec. 17; “how to run an awesome shelter” on Dec. 18, and “trauma informed care” and “progressive engagement and diversion,” both half days on Jan. 31. There are a few spots available for the shelter training and you can SIGN UP HERE. Pamela will send out a separate notice reminding folks to register for the 1/31 trainings.

Northampton Housing First meeting: Peg Keller announced that she will be hosting a meeting on Jan. 29, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm, to focus on how the City creates true “housing first” housing, that is low barrier housing. It will also focus on how to meet the demand for women’s shelter.

Next meeting date: 1/14, 1 pm, 296 Nonotuck St.