Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 4/14/16

Individual Services Meeting Minutes
April 14, 2016

In attendance: Jane Braaen, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections , Michael LaMothe, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, David Modzelewski, Network, Terry Maxey, Open Door, Jennifer Schmitt, Craig’s Doors, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’sDoors

Special Presentation on SNAP policy changes impact Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents( (ABAWDs): We enjoyed a presentation by Jayna Mistry of UMass on the policy changes impacting ABAWDs’ access to SNAP. Please  click here for the powerpoint presentation. Thank you to Jayna, her colleague Shannon, and Lauren Arms-Ledwith of DTA for this learning opportunity.

Three County Update:
Jay Levy reported that there has been good progress in the implementation of the veterans by-name list to facilitate housing matches for homeless veterans. For non-veterans, progress is underway in the development of a vulnerability assessment tool to be used across the sub-region, specifically the use of the AZ Matrix Tool. The REACH meetings will be used to share results from the assessments and prioritize housing resources. Right now, Andrea is looking into linkages between HMIS and this tool to see if unduplicated data entry is possible. We agreed that it will be interesting to compare the use of the VI-SPDAT in Hampden County with the AZ Matrix tool in the 3 county area. Jay described the AZ tool as a more trauma informed care approach to engagement; also quicker and easier to use.

Hampden County Update:

  • Still focused on Homelink implementation. At next week’s REACH meeting we will have a first early use of it as we review who is on the by-name list.
  • Also moving forward on implementation of EOHHS grant–programs to start in the next two weeks
  • We are getting TA from Zero 2016 related to using our By-Name List to better understand inflow/outflow and how many PSH units/placements we need
  • Police/BHN street outreach is still happening regularly (twice a week) which has given us a much deeper understanding of our unsheltered population
  • Youth Count coming up 5/2-5/15 – would like to solicit volunteers to help with outreach since population includes 18-24 year olds and crosses over with general shelter population

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Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/3/16

Individual Services Committee
March 3, 2016

In attendance: Gwen Burke, Friends of the Homeless, Matt Castleman, Open Pantry, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Nichole King, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville, SCARF, Todd Koniezhny, HRU/Lighthouse, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Tom Ray, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network

2016 Point in Time Count Results – Five Year Trends

Click here for Hampden County

Click here for Three County

We discussed the basically constant rate of individual homelessness over the last 5 years (last year’s individual PIT count was artificially low because of the extreme cold weather on the night of the count).   We analyzed that the priority has been on reducing chronic homelessness, which the region is doing, but that the rate of short-term individual homelessness is still high due to underlying factors of poverty and other economic, education and employment issues. We need to keep pushing for more comprehensive assistance to individuals in order to prevent homelessness and to prevent more people from becoming chronically homeless. This need is the basis for our legislative advocacy to increase the bed rate for emergency shelters, which is essential to provide the support system necessary to begin to meet the challenges.

Hampden County Coordinated Entry Update

Gerry reported via email:

  • Expectation that we will transition to combined single wait list as of April 1, 2016 – still figuring out technology that supports this, perhaps use of HomeLink and a Housing Navigator
  • All PSH providers must make sure that anyone on their wait list is on the by-name list
  • Meeting for CoC PSH providers to discuss/work out final details: March 8, 3 pm.

Some providers needed confirmation of that meeting date. Pamela will contact Gerry to provide that reminder.

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Springfield/Hampden County Funding Opportunities for Homeless Service Providers

There are several open funding opportunities for Springfield-Hampden County providers, as described below.

Opportunities Related to the EOHHS RFR

The Springfield-Hampden County Continuum of Care, through its fiscal agency the City of Springfield, has released two Requests for Proposals, seeking organizations to carry out homelessness prevention/rapid rehousing activities. The CoC’s funding of these activities is contingent on the CoC being awarded funds in response to its application to the Commonwealth’s recent RFR. The CoC RFPs were released Feb. 8, 2016, and responses are due back to the City of Springfield Office of Procurement March 4, 2016 by 2 pm.

  1. Administration of Flexible Funds for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing  The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to administer flexible funds for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing. The agencies will serve as a pass-through for these funds, and there is no funding available for staff. Agencies will receive 5% of funds awarded for administrative costs related to administration of the program, Agencies must have a plan to cover/provide intake for the flexible funds in Chicopee, Holyoke, Westfield and Springfield, as well as for victims of domestic violence–this can be done through partnerships with other agencies that will serve as Intake Agencies.
  2. Homeless Youth Initiative The CoC seeks one to three experienced agencies to operate housing stabilization, homelessness diversion and rapid rehousing for youth aged 18-24. The specific activities the CoC seeks are: employment of a Youth Stabilization Specialist; administration of flexible funds to prevent youth homelessness; operation of a Kinship Care program; employment of a Youth Rehousing Specialist, and operation of a rapid rehousing program for youth.

Springfield Emergency Solutions Grant Program

The City of Springfield has released a Request for Proposals seeking providers to operate activities under the federal Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. Eligible activities include homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, outreach services and operating support for existing emergency shelter. ESG funds are provided to the City to serve Springfield residents. This RFP was released February 1, 2016 and responses are due back to the Office of Housing, 1600 E. Columbus Ave., Springfield, on March 1, 2016 by noon. The RFP may be picked up in the City of Springfield Office of Housing, or may be obtained by email by a request to Gerry McCafferty.


Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/4/16

Individual Services Meeting
February 4, 2016

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office/DOC Office of Re-Entry, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veteran Services, Ezzell Floranina, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Emily Koplar, Catholic Charities, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, former consumer/Rainville, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Dave McClosky, Open Pantry, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU

Point in Time Count Update (preliminary results from 1/27 count)
Unsheltered count (thanks to Jay Levy for these preliminary numbers):

Three County:
Leverett: 1 (chronic); Amherst, 6 (4 chronic); Hadley, 3 (chronic), Northampton, 5 (3 chronic); Greenfield, 9 (3 chronic),

Hampden County:
Holyoke, 12 (5 chronic); Chicopee 3 (chronic); Westfield, 4 (1 chronic); West Springfield, 3 (1 chronic), Southwick, 0

Gerry also added Springfield number: 13, including 1 under 18

Total unsheltered count is 35 – similar numbers to 2012-2014 (2015 down b/c count occurred when bitterly cold)

Sheltered count decreased relative to last year.
Total count for Hampden County: 277 people

Not seeing much of a difference from previous years – between 266 and 277 since 2012

But it was notable that almost no shelter was full, i.e., there is the capacity to shelter the unsheltered. Also the numbers in transitional housing are down.

On veterans: last year 38 veterans, this year down to 21, a testimony to the outreach work going on.   No unsheltered veterans were identified in Hampden County; one in Three County.

Chronically homeless numbers are going down, another reflection of the successful work in housing some of the hardest-to-house quicker.

The number of unsheltered homeless people in Holyoke (12) suggest the need to consider a Permanent Supportive Housing project in Holyoke. More to discuss.

Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, on elder homelessness:

FCHC is changing name to Life Path as of March 1.

Jen has been the supportive housing coordinator for 9 years. Provides support services to all residents of PSH (a total of 100 units) through a partnership with Greenfield Housing Authority. She works with tenants to meet emergency needs (through various funding pools) and to maximize public benefits and to do whatever it takes to prevent homelessness. In 9 years, there has only been one eviction.

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