Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Zero 2016 Progress Report for Springfield/Hampden County: June 2015

As part of the Zero 2016 campaign, we are tracking our monthly progress toward housing homeless veterans and chronically homeless individuals. The progress is tracked against goals that we set that we need to meet to be on track to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015 and chronic homelessness by the end of 2016.  [Actually, we are shooting for functional zero by those dates.] Thanks to Community Solutions for the great dashboards that help us track our progress!


Fourteen veterans were housed in June–exceeding our monthly goal of 9.  Great job, everyone! We are behind on our annual goal because of fewer housing placements in earlier months, but we’re improving and making up for the earlier low numbers.

Veteran Dashboard June 2015


The CoC has been consistently exceeding our monthly goal for chronically homeless individuals, and did so again in June, with six more people housed. Projections show that we will reach our goal for functional zero for chronically homeless early–in May 2016.

Zero 106 Dashboard Chronic, June 2015

Webinar Invite: Landlord Recruitment/Engagement – Best Practices [Zero 2016]

As part of Zero 2016, Community Solutions is offering a webinar series on best practices for recruiting and engaging landlords. With our widespread use of rapid rehousing and tenant-based permanenent supportive housing models, we need to be sure that we are engaging and supporting our landlord partners. The webinars will present best practices from communities with successful models.

Please feel free to join one or more of the calls:

Module 1: Building Local Infrastructure (a.k.a. Building the Runway)

Module 2: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 1 (Mayor-Led Events, Outreach to Large, Medium, Small Companies)

Module 3: Sharing Effective Outreach Strategies 2 (Outreach to Apartment Rental Associations, Faith Communities, Civic Organizations, Real Estate Agents, Working with a local PHA)


  • Phone Number: 646-661-2933
  • Meeting Room Code: 1413051
  • Participant Access Code provided in a pop-up window when you enter the virtual room

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 6/16/15

Individual Services Committee Meeting
June 16, 2015

In attendance: Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Northampton, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Lynn White, Next Step, Chris Zabik, DMH

 Draft Western MA Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness (click here)

 Feedback and discussion:

Chris Zabik: Plan offers a great overview of the landscape around what is happening and being done to combat homelessness.


  • Clarify some graph labeling (more detail provided in a separate email)
  • Requested more discussion of employment as a strategy to combat homelessness; felt this could use more attention in the Plan

Jay Levy: Plan reads clearly. Feedback:

  • #s on homeless youth did not add up (how 0 in Three County CoC) – Pamela will follow-up on that.
  • Specifically address elder homelessness. Understands this is not a population that HUD has prioritized but believes it deserves our specific attention with action steps.
  • Specifically address short-term homelessness among highly vulnerable populations, e.g., severe mental illness. If not chronically homeless but suffers from major disability, we need to focus some resources on this population.
  • Incorporate into the Plan the Network’s Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories – no mention anywhere and it is ongoing work of the Network. Should include our goals and action steps.
  • Question re: the definition of “functional zero” – while understanding that it means housing new homeless within 30 days (i.e., our supply can meet the demand), there is no mention in that definition of housing the CURRENTLY homeless. Pamela presumed that was implicit but will confirm and clarify.


Peg Keller: Plan has good format, clear and clean. The right length (not too long!). Feedback:

  • 6 – Outreach and Engagement – first thought was that it failed to include a sufficient breakdown of the providers in our region (e.g., missing Eliot Services), but after further discussion among the group, we agreed that this section was intentionally designed to be “big picture” and to go “smaller” with a list of providers would potentially distract and then trigger the question of “who should get included.” We are good with what is!
  • Strategies sections in general seem a little weak. Pamela acknowledged that this is partially a function of the delayed timing and that we will continue to flesh out content for the strategies as the Plan unfolds (post 7/1).
  • Peg also noted the “accountability” description where it states that the Committees are accountable to the Network and the CoCs. We need to get more clear about the relationship between the entities – committees, Network, CoCs – in order to create buy-in all around and ensure the accountability chain has meaning.

Other misc. items:

  • Individual homelessness chart – double check numbers as they don’t appear to add up
  • 21 first bullet – correct typo of “veteran” to read “chronically homeless”

    Brainstormed additional strategies for chronic homelessness:

  • Adopt prioritizing criteria so that we are prioritizing housing for most vulnerable chronically homeless individuals (whether it’s VI-SPDAT or some other tool)
  • Implement triage system that includes diversion and rapid-rehousing for individuals
  • Utilize Tenancy Preservation Project (TPP) to prevent homelessness
  • Utilize Critical Response Team (CRT) for most vulnerable, hardest-to-house individuals in order to broaden eligibility criteria for certain state level of services (ameliorate state system silos)

Pamela brought Hwei-Ling Greeney’s feedback around the Vision Statement on p.5 failing to specifically mention individual homelessness (as opposed to exclusively chronic homelessness). The group acknowledged the explicit miss but believed that on balance since we are aiming to align with the federal plan and the goal of “setting a path to end all types of homelessness” includes individuals, the combination of presentation, grammatical flow and content makes it acceptable .

Feedback is continually welcome. A version of a final plan will be issued by 6/30 to meet the contract deliverable but the Plan’s evolution on some level will never end!

Next meeting: Thurs., 7/9, 10:30-noon, Northampton Senior Center

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/7/15

Individual Services Committee Meeting
May 7, 2015

Attendees: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Matt Castleman, SMOC, Steve Connor, Veteran Services, Sarah Coutier, YWCA, Julie Federman, Town of Amherst, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless,Todd Konlezhny, HRU/The Lighthouse, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Katie Miernicki, ServiceNet, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, REACH coordinator, Ali Pinschmidt, ServiceNet, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

Zero 2016 Campaign Update:

Gerry provided an update on the Hampden County CoC’s participation in the Zero 2016 campaign (goals: end veteran homelessness by end of 2015; chronic homelessness by end of 2016). This is a national campaign (led by the same groups that did the 100,000 Homes campaign) with dozens of communities participating nationwide. There is a big intersection between this campaign, best practices and what HUD is requiring CoC communities to do.

Gerry led us through a powerpoint created by the Campaign (click here):

Defining “zero” as “functional zero:” if the number of homeless veterans at the next Point in Time Count is less than the number we house on average a month. Our first goal is to house the people who are currently homeless and have been for some time. We do that by first ensuring an accurate count, then analyzing how many we are assisting into permanent housing each month and how we can increase that number each month. It is understood that we will not be able to stop new people from ever becoming homeless; the measure of success is if we can re-house them within 30 days.   That equals “functional zero.”

For example: if our community houses 3 veterans each month and we find at our PIT count that we have 2 homeless veterans, we have arrived at functional zero.

The campaign includes determining our Monthly Housing Placement Goal. That happens through a formula that includes calculating: how many homeless veterans we can expect to see in 2015 (measured through a formula based on the PIT count). For Hampden County, that number is 87 (PIT count in 2015 showed 38 homeless veterans). Divided by 11 months (remaining time as of January, 2015) which makes the Hampden County goal housing 8 people per month.

Then we review if the community is on track. January: housed 5; Feb. housed 7, March housed 1. Not currently on track..

In contrast: chronically homeless – because we have a longer timeline – until end of 2016, we are on track: with 2 years to reach our goal, and an estimated number of 91 chronically homeless individuals, we must house 4 individuals each month. In January, we housed 5; Feb. housed 3; March housed 5. On track!

Zero: 2016 theory of Change

  1. improve housing placements
  2. increase capability of local leaders
  3. build a creative, connected and committed movement
  4. optimally functional zero – 2016 team

The Campaign is sponsoring a week-long webinar series this week, supporting communities in plans for an “Action Camp” and 30 day push to house veterans. Hampden County is in a better place than a lot of other communities because of its relationship with the Springfield Housing Authority (access to housing units) and with the VA (good partnerships). Entity is rapid results institute. Action Camp and then 30 day push.

Release of Information

As part of the campaign, we are compiling a registry that includes who we are trying to house. Then it is necessary to assess each individual’s needs and find the best housing match.   Hampden County has agreed to use the VI-SPDAT as its assessment tool. But confidentiality issues require a release of information from the individual so providers can exchange VI-SPDAT scores and determine appropriate housing needs.

Mercy Hospital offered to draft a Release of Information form that would cover both federal and state law for information sharing for purposes of looking at the VI-SPDAT. Gerry distributed the draft form and has asked people to review it to ensure the right entities are listed (click here).

Once we have this release form established and it gets implemented, we can start putting people into HomeLink (the campaign’s online registry tool).

The only items that will be shown at the REACH meetings are the name and the score. Other information will remain confidential.

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