Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/2/17

Individual Services Meeting
March 2, 2017

In attendance: Gechar, Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, Margaret Curran, Mass Fair Housing, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville/SCARF, Madeline LaSanta, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept. – AISS, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Terry Maxe, SMOC/Open Door, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Tania Olmo, Hampden County Sheriff’s Dept.,, Pre-release Ludlow, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors

Hampden County Point in Time Count Update (via Gerry McCafferty email):

For individuals, this year’s PIT count identified 269 persons in emergency shelter, plus 54 unsheltered persons. This is an increase from 2016, when there were 244 persons in emergency shelter and 34 unsheltered persons.

Shelters with higher numbers in 2017: FOH, Taylor, Samaritan, Womanshelter–all of which were at capacity. Each one was up by a fairly small number, but the accumulated increase was 25 people.

The unsheltered count was up by 20 people. This was driven by higher street counts in Chicopee (up from 3 to 8) and Holyoke (up from 12 to 16). In Springfield, the unsheltered count went from 12 to 23–a few more found by outreach, but also different types of people found at the Youth “come-and-be-counted” events, which identified several individuals living in cars, where they would be unlikely to be found during a regular street count.

A few notes–

  • The increase seems to be consistent with what I am hearing statewide, about increasing numbers of individuals.
  • At least one factor that seems to be driving increases is opiate addiction.
  • However, one factor that I think contributes in Springfield is that we have significantly slowed the rate that we are moving long-term/chronic into housing. There are a number of contributing factors to this, and I think that we will have higher-than-average numbers moving into housing in the next six months. But while this will relieve some pressure on the shelter system, the underlying factors leading to widespread increases are worrisome.

Data is still in DRAFT form, as there is still some clean-up and checking going on. I will have a full report in the next month or so.

Also, Gerry provided the hand-out (click here) that compared the Hampden County by-name list with the PIT count.

Analysis and discussion of increase in numbers included the following:

  • More volunteers counting, plus police involvement, i.e., higher numbers are a function of better identification, not necessarily a function of a higher rate of homelessness
  • Opioid addiction
  • Relatively warmer weather

Jay noted that increases in the PIT were seen all over the state, e.g., in Worcester the number of unsheltered people rose to 96, including a higher number of women, young people and elders. Jen shared her observation of higher number of individuals experiencing drug or alcohol use.

Review of data templates:

The group reviewed data submitted by FOH, Craig’s Doors, Samaratin Inn and ServiceNet (Grove St and cot shelter in Northampton; Wells Street in Greenfield).

Discussion:

There was general agreement that this data could be useful but we needed greater clarity around how to actually use it – how to package it (not in 5 different data templates from 5 different shelters) and how to analyze it. Donna Nadeau of DHCD was explicit that this data would be very useful to her in better understanding and advocating for her region.

The group agreed that the goal for this data would be to help answer the questions of : who are we serving, what do we need, where are the gaps and how do we fill them?

It was also noted that the number of Holyoke shelter residents across all shelters was significant and revealed a gap in Holyoke providing its own emergency shelter to its residents. The new statewide procurement process that is likely slated for FY19 may be an opportunity to address this gap.

It was also noted that it would be useful to get Pittsfield shelter information as well.

Pamela agreed to follow-up with Gerry and others to get more clarity around how to best use this data and will be back in touch with the shelter providers. Stay tuned on whether it makes sense to produce this data for next month’s meeting.

It was also raised whether this committee should sponsor an “individual services retreat” similar to that which was held for the family services committee. The group can revisit this idea as well at its next meeting.

Built for Zero Team Learning Session:
Bill relayed information from Gerry regarding this Built for Zero team learning session being offered by Community Solutions on 4/25-4/26 in Washington, DC. The Hampden County CoC can send a couple of people and receive stipends to help do so. You can learn more here:  https://springfieldhampdencoc.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/invite-built-for-zero-team-learning-session-april-25-26-wash-dc

Network Funding Update: Due to the current Network funding situation, the Hampden County CoC is funding our Network committee meetings, and therefore is required to hold the meetings in Hampden County until further notice.

Next meeting date: Thursday, 4/13, 1-2:30, Friends of the Homeless (note not that usual 2nd Thursday due to the conflict with the Fair Housing Conference).

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/5/17

Individual Services Committee Meeting
January 5, 2017

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors

Point in Time Count Initial Debrief:
It’s too early for official findings, but we discussed the following:
Hampden County:

  • All shelters at capacity (Friends of the Homeless, Taylor St, Samaritan Inn)
  • 15-20 unsheltered individuals in Springfield – small increase
  • Eliot Services reported larger than usual unsheltered population in Holyoke/Chicopee but waiting for final numbers
  • Gandara Center held 2 events to reach out to homeless youth, one at STCC, another at Dunbar

3 County County:

  • Grove St and Cot shelter full
  • Craig’s Doors not full (oddly so, one unusual night surrounded by all-full nights)

Data Discussion:

The group reviewed templates of monthly and single night counts completed by Friends of the Homeless, Craig’s Doors and ServiceNet’s Interfaith Winter Shelter (Samaratin Inn was unable to provide due to resource limitations; Donna Nadeau of DHCD will reach out to encourage their participation). The group agreed to use the monthly template with the following modifications:

  • Add data point on number “new” to homelessness and number “returning”
  • Add data on number of women and couples who are turned away (breaking down total number which is currently provided)

We agreed we would continue to meet on the first Thursday of the month and plan to review the data from 2 months prior, e.g., for the March meeting we will look at January data. That leaves sufficient time for compilation and distribution.

Pamela will follow-up with Katie regarding the creation of a template to include all data points.

The group also discussed the issue of reaching out to Holyoke to discuss its shelter needs. Donna pointed out that the system is likely to be re-procured in FY19 (along with the family shelter system) and now is the time to lay the groundwork for a regional response when that arises.

Peg raised the issue of responding to the need for a woman’s shelter in the upper Pioneer Valley as well. We will discuss further at the next meeting.

Update on Hampden County Landlord Outreach meeting

Pamela reported out on the initial Landlord Outreach meeting that took place on Wed. 1/25 (attending: Margaret Curran, Mass. Discrimination Project, John Fisher, HAP, Charlie Knight, Rainville/former consumer, Joe Schroeter, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network). At that meeting, two primary agendas were identified: (1) to better understand the definition of “supportive” as it relates to Permanent Supportive Housing as it relates to encouraging landlords to rent to chronically homeless individuals and (2) to create a “PR strategy” for small private landlords renting to formerly homeless tenants. It was agreed that Pamela would facilitate the convening of a next meeting that would also include Friends of the Homeless, Hampden County CoC (Gerry McCafferty) and Jay Levy of Eliot Services.

FY18 budget priorities:

The group agreed to recommend priorities similar to FY17, including:

  • Increase in line-item for individual emergency shelters to $4 million (per statewide Coalition for Homeless Individuals) – this is instead of a specific bed rate increase but more of a focus on an overall increase in the line-item (question raised about how this would impact bed rate – Pamela will follow-up)
  • RAFT increase to include individuals ($13 m)
  • Tenancy Preservation Program funded at $1 million (increased from current $500,000)

 

Next meeting date:
Thursday, March 2
10:30 am – 12 noon, Friends of the Homeless

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 1/5/17

Individual Services Meeting
January 5, 2016

In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Nichole Bodiford, Friends of the Homeless, John Fisher, HAPHousing, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, John Hornik, Amherst Housing and Shelter Committee, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Jade Levitt, Craig’s Doors, Terry Maxey, SMOC/Open Door, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Digno Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, Friends of the Homeless, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craig’s Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

Three County CoC Update:
Dave Christopolis provided by email this update: The CoC is moving into the coordinated entry model this year which will begin incorporating chronically homeless people into the assessment and case conferencing process. The Coordinated Entry committee will meet next on Jan. 12. Rebekah Wilder of Craig’s Doors is the committee chair. TAC will also provide TA. Sometime in January HUD will release coordinated entry guidance which will be useful.

Craig’s Doors update: With state funding now secured, the shelter is able to end its “triage mode” of planning for the worst and now focus on stability and maximizing its space and resources. Shelter capacity is full and an anecdotal estimate suggests at least one woman and 2 or 3 men each night must be turned away. With stable funding, they will now also focus again on expanding shelter capacity for women.

Creating a monthly meeting data template: The group decided it would be useful to create a monthly template for shelters across the region to use so we can have a global view of our regional shelter capacity and a better understanding of the people who are relying on it. The group agreed at minimum on four indicators:

  • Capacity – specifically how many turned away
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Place of origin

The group debated whether to pick a given night to draw this data or to create a monthly overview draw or some combination of both. Pamela will follow-up with a small group to decide these questions, which will include: Janice Humanson, Christina Ruest and Jade Lovett. Pamela will reach out to ServiceNet (Katie Miernecki) and Samaratin Inn (Jenn Lucca) to include them as well.

Hampden County CoC Update:
Dave Modzelewski and Janice Humason reported on its bi-weekly REACH meeting where case conferencing on a by-name list of homeless individuals is taking place. At the last meeting earlier this week, it was noted that roughly 6 people had been housed. There was also discussion about the analysis of time and energy spent on particular individuals who are unwilling/unable to be housed and the fact that there are currently some available units that are not filled due to these kinds of barriers. Janice noted the recent hire of two new housing navigators (welcome to Stephanie and Digno!) who will be able to offer additional support in this effort.

Friends of the Homeless shelter update: at capacity. As always.

Landlord outreach sub-committee meeting: Pamela noted that initial efforts to schedule were not successful (not enough people could agree on the offered dates). She will try again looking further out. Interested participants include: John Fisher, Joe Schroeter, Charlie Knight and Pamela will loop in Janice Humason to see if it works for her or an FOH staff person to join.

Network funding update: Pamela reported that in view of the Governor’s 9C budget cut, the Network will not have state funding this year, which means current funding will run out by March 1. The Network Leadership Council will meet on Feb. 9 to discuss possible alternatives such as partnership contributions. Pamela will keep everyone posted.

Announcements: John Fisher announced the New England Fair Housing Conference, April 6-7. A great speaker line-up. Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for further information.

Next meeting date: Thursday, 2/2, 9:30-11 am, Northampton Senior Center (to be confirmed)

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 10/6/16

Individual Homelessness Committee Meeting
October 6, 2016

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Brittany Billmeyer-Finn, Franklin Resource Center, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire Sheriffs Office, DOC Reentry Services, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Terry Maxes, SMOC, Scott McAllister, Veterans Services, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Tanner, Friends of the Homeless

Hampden County CoC:

Sarah Tanner reported on Bill Miller’s attendance at a Zero 2016 conference that both celebrated the progress towards ending homelessness and examined best practices as they would apply to ending individual chronic homelessness. There was focus on coordinated entry and the use of by-name lists and Friends of the Homeless is continuing to participate in brainstorming and planning sessions. The campaign will rename itself from Zero 2016 (the year will pass soon!) to Build for Zero (unanimous approval!).

Friends of the Homeless is implementing its coordinated entry system now. It recently posted for 2 job positions as housing navigators, examining best system for access (looking at a 1-800 number, e.g.,).

Dave Modzelewski reported that REACH is meeting twice monthly in Hampden County and will be using one of those meetings to zero in on the hardest to serve individuals. He also noted the challenge of acquiring the necessary documentation (and putting it into the Homelink data base) to verify that an individual is chronically homeless (especially under HUD’s new definition). The CoC is working with the police department and hospitals to build systems for documenting conditions. Dave noted that follow-up with HUD on these barriers would be useful (Pamela will follow-up with Gerry on this).

Three County CoC:
Steve Connor announced the 3 County CoC Veterans Training, 10/20, 3-4:30, Northampton Senior Center and Berkshire Regional Housing Authority in Pittsfield; this is aimed at frontline staff and volunteers of organizations that may intersect with veterans (from libraries to food pantries, e.g.) and provide information and education about how best to direct veterans to appropriate services

On coordinated assessment: The 3 County CoC has chosen to pilot a version of the AZ Matrix tool for their assessment tool (as opposed to the VI-SPDAT). This tool, shorter with arguably a more trauma informed care approach than the VI-SPDAT, is being piloted by Eliot Homeless Services and ServiceNet (in the Berkshires), as well as by providers in Amherst. Assessments will be submitted to Andrea Miller, the 3 county data analyst. We will await more information around timeline for review and timeline for the pilot. The group agreed that using 2 different assessment tools across the region affords an opportunity to compare the utility of each and refer to the other if one produces a score that does not seem consistent with the individual’s vulnerability.   It remains to be determined whether the 3 County by-name list review will take place within REACH meetings or through ServiceNet provider meetings.

Confidentiality Training:
Marianne Winters, executive director of Safe Passage, provided the group with a brief training on protecting confidentiality when assisting a person in housing crisis who has suffered domestic violence. Please click here for the materials that were distributed and contain a breakdown of the basic concepts covered.

The group acknowledged the tension of wanting to provide relevant information (e.g., geographical location, family size) in search of a housing solution but affirmed the critical importance (as well as legality) of protecting all identifying information. This is especially vital when domestic abuse is involved.

The training confirmed the following principles and protocol:

  • No identifying information should ever be sent out over email. This is especially critical for the Network as it communicates with hundreds of people on various email lists. The group email list should never be used to problem solve individual housing crises. Please feel free to email Pamela individually, without identifying information, regarding a request for assistance and Pamela will assist in providing the appropriate referral.
  • The right to privacy belongs to each person; our responsibility is to protect that right.
  • The Violence Against Women Act sets out very clear parameters, e.g., only aggregate, non-personally identifying information may be released.
  • Very explicit, legally verifiable releases of information are necessary to release any personal information.
  • Safe Passage is available for phone calls for consultation around emergency housing issues. Please contact:  Anthia Elliott – 413.586.1125anthia@safepass.org or our 24/7 hotline – 413.586.3742

Other Updates:

RAFT is now available on a pilot basis to individuals via each regional housing authority. Jay asked for the appropriate contact at HAP. Pamela will find out and report back to the group.

Network Update: Pamela reported that the Network is still waiting for its contract from DHCD and was advised that it must wait until revenue figures are in for the third quarter to determine whether 9C cuts are required (the Network as an earmark would be vulnerable). Pamela will keep everyone posted.

Next meeting: November 3, 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless