Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 7/6/17

Individual Services Meeting
July 6, 2018
In attendance: Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Terry Maxey, SMOC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/CoC (by phone), Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Bianca Roberson, Open Door, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Rachel Weiss, Craigs Doors
Youth Initiative update:
Gerry provided the background: Hampden County CoC applied to HUD last year for funding for a special initiative to end youth homelessness.  The CoC did not get funded but it scored high enough to be eligible to receive HUD Technical Assistance now to start a planning process to apply for funding in the next round.  The funds will serve youth ages 18-24  at risk or experiencing homelessness.
The first kick-off session will take place at the next unaccompanied homeless youth committee meeting on:
Wed., July 12
9:30 am – 11 am
Springfield Municipal Building
70 Tapley Street, Springfield

All are welcome and please spread the word!
Built for Zero Learning Session:
Gerry reported that the second session is Sept 5-6 in Chicago. The first session was in Washington, DC in April where the group produced a 4 month timeline to reduce chronic homelessness through increased housing placements and system change to make placement quicker and easier. In June, 8 chronically homeless individuals were housed, one of the highest numbers ever and the numbers are looking very promising for July and August.  We will have a more complete report at our next meeting.
6 people attended DC’s session, representatives from Friends of the Homeless, Mental Health association, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services and Health Care for the Homeless.  There may be space for one or two more people in September but funding is unclear.
mostly people at the last session  possibly a person or two more if a person really wants to come – key issue is whether there is funding
Discussion of committee meeting value and content going forward:
Pamela updated the group on a conversation she and Gerry had several weeks prior regarding checking in with the larger group on how our committee meetings were going.  We thought this would be useful as we start the new fiscal year.  People shared the following feedback about the meetings:
  • they are a great way to get a broader view of what’s happening across the region, e.g., what’s happening with the youth initiative.
  • they are a great way to share across the two CoC’s; to see what’s working and what’s not and to have an opportunity to share
  • they are an important opportunity to hear what’s happening at shelters across the region
There was unanimity around these values.
Gerry raised the desire to use these meetings to discuss the progress around the Built for Zero initiative but was concerned that it would be too Hampden County focused for the group as a whole.  The group discussed this and decided that it would be valuable to all across the region to learn from this effort.  It was decided to structure to the meetings so that when they occurred in Hampden County, the agenda would have as its primary focus this Hampden County effort; and conversely when the meetings were in the Three County region (Northampton), the agenda would focus on Three County efforts.  However, at both meetings, the agenda would always include shelter and any related updates for the entire region.
Shelter updates:
Northampton: Katie reported that the cot shelter is closed for the season; the resource center is very busy, roughly 25 people coming in the mornings (afternoons are by appointment only); Grove Street shelter is over-full right now.
Craig’s Doors (Amherst): Rachel reported that they just opened a new Resource Center.  It is open Mon, Tues, Thurs, 8 am – 3 pm, Wed., 10 am – 3 pm, located next to the church in a re-purposed trailer.  Congratulations on this development!
Friends of the Homeless: Janice reported that capacity averaged about 152 people in June.  Last summer too there was not a significant decrease in shelter demand.
All shelter providers noted an up-tick in demand for shelter among women. The group noted that it could be useful to track and discuss this issue and possible responses.
Next meeting dates:
Thursday, August 4, 9:30-11, Northampton Senior Center
Thursday, Sept. 14, 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless (note: usual first Thursday in Sept. is delayed by a week due to Learning Session in Chicago)

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/4/17

Individual Services Meeting
May 4, 2017

In attendance: Steve Connor, Hampshire County veterans services, John Hornik, Amherst Housing Committee, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Dave Modzelewski, REACH, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lynn White, HRU

Community Solutions Learning Session Report-Out:
The bulk of today’s meeting included a presentation and discussion of a special  2 day “Learning Session” in Washington, DC, that took place a couple of weeks ago.  It included 75 communities from across the country working on ending chronic and veteran homelessness.  The Hampden County CoC attended, represented by 6 participants (from Health Care for the Homeless, MHA, FOH, Eliot Services and the CoC).

It was an exciting and rewarding time, filled with concrete action plan creation and goal setting. Community Solutions is a non-profit that is driving the analysis and experimentation with ending homelessness strategies, all data-driven.  HUD is present and supportive of the effort.

Community Solutions will be convening this same group of 75 2 more times over the next year (next gathering in Chicago in September, then another gathering in January) on the premise that this effort will encapsulate 12 months of continuous improvement, i.e., real time experimentation with strategies and quick feedback, exchanges and next round of experimentation.

Gerry talked us through Hampden County’s summary action plan. Click here for their “Storyboard.” The goal is to reduce the number of chronically homeless people by 47% over the next 4 months.  This will be accomplished by both increasing the number of people housed and reducing the number of people coming into chronic homelessness.  This will involve several strategies which were also discussed, including the creation of “pipeline units” in order to maintain engagement with CH individual while searching out permanent housing unit and the shifting of resources to allow for greater prevention efforts.  Friends of the Homeless’ Coordinated Entry effort will also dedicate an employee to housing search/landlord contact development.  Conversations with Springfield Housing Authority have also led to a new partnership around their Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) subsidies.  Gerry will also be reaching out to Holyoke Housing Authority (and other Holyoke city officials) to explore partnerships there.

The group observed how reducing the numbers of homeless individuals requires very “in-the-weeds” work – extremely exacting, individualized, concrete.  The by-name list is a critical component of the effort.

We discussed how lessons learned from this effort can be utilized across the region. Gerry will send out the link to general materials available through Community Solutions.

Note: click here: And go to the “new user” button at the upper right of the page

We agreed that it would be useful to incorporate in our monthly meetings a report-out on progress: how many people entered homelessness; how many people housed in a given month. Steve will explore whether this is possible via the Three County’s list.

Quick Summary of Federal Budget for FY17:
We noted the passage of the Continuing Resolution for the FY17 federal budget; that US Interagency Council on Homelessness is still funded and there have been increases in funding for homeless assistance programs.  This is a pleasant surprise.  But it has no bearing on what may lie ahead for FY18.

Hampshire/Franklin REACH Meeting: Monday, 5/8, 1 pm, DMH building
Dave Modzelewski announced that this meeting is being convened upon request by participants to discuss the future of this REACH meeting and if/how it may modify itself to support the by-name list work in the Three County region.

Next meeting date:
Thursday, June 1, 10:30 am- 12 noon, Friends of the Homeless, 755 Worthington Street.

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 4/13/17

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes

In attendance:  Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, John Fisher, Way Finders, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Charlie Knight, SCARF/Rainville, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Digno Oritz, Friends of the Homeless, Luz Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Katie Roberts, Clean SlateWS, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Lynn White, HRU

Hampden County Update:
Just conducted a Coordinated Entry training – about 40 people attended, including PSH and shelter providers – PSH providers, shelter providers – on the mechanics of coordinated entry, e.g., documenting chronic homelessness status, prioritizing based on vulnerability assessment, using a centrally coordinated list.  Outreach still to do to health care providers.  Continuing to tackle the challenge of creating systems for street population and other shelters for coordinated entry.

HUD CoC Competition underway and must produce updated policies and procedures on Coordinated Entry – stay tuned

2 applications going in for 5 year SAMHSA grant to work with CH individuals with dual diagnoses – one from BHN, the other from FOH/CSO. Hopefully one will get funded and these resources will be available.

Three County CoC Update:
Making progress on by-name list for CH individuals, targeting use of the assessment tool.  Working on the mechanics of a Release of Information across agencies (Gerry noted a sharing of best practices that has an ROI referring to a web-based listing which allows for the changing nature of organizations and the continuing application of the signed ROI).

It was noted that when the total by-name list of CH individuals (just under 60) is broken down by county, the challenge is less overwhelming – brings home the value of targeting

The by-name list of veterans is in full use, targeting the homeless veterans who are not “covered” in the new per diem “bed type” categories as dictated by the VA (and implemented by Soldier On). Soldier On is opening new housing in Agawam in August (an earlier than anticipated opening date), bringing 51 housing units on line for homeless veterans.

There was discussion of cross-referencing between Hampden and Three County lists in order to zero in on people who are from Hampden County and sleep outside in the warmer months and utilize Hampshire County shelters in the colder months. Gerry is trying to connect to the dots on outreach to these people. Jay Levy and Stephanie Tonelli will talk more about this.

Data Template Review
The group discussed the effort thus far to collate data from individual shelters to analyze demand and learn about gaps. We recounted that last month was our first month of exchanging the data template for all shelters where we agreed that without a more focused data analysis it was difficult to utilize the data well. Pamela, Gerry and Bill met prior to this meeting to discuss the goals further. We reported back that some concern was raised around focusing on the geographic origin of people attending since it could inadvertently foster concerns around serving “out-of-town” people in need of shelter. We agreed that our concern is providing emergency shelter to those in need, not a “my people vs. your people” approach.

Gerry noted that if the goal is determining where there is high need, we can do that through the Point in Time Count (e.g., Holyoke has a high number of unsheltered people and no emergency shelter).

We also noted the capacity issue around data analysis, i.e., we have none! So we do not want to add to people’s work load in data production without clarity around how it will be used.

Gerry noted that DHCD is very interested in enhancing data around homeless individuals in general, wanting to set targets and goals but needing good data to do so. DHCD is looking at creating a data warehouse to look at de-identified and de-duplicated data.  Gerry noted that within the next 6-9 months, there be increased capacity to examine data at both a State and CoC level.

Meanwhile, we can get clear on what data we are looking for and why. Gerry noted that looking at the unsheltered population more deeply may reveal more information about gaps in needs; that the development of the by-name list has also been a great source of learning about the population. We agreed that at our next meeting, Gerry could share this information as well as a look at what HMIS could provide very readily. We agreed that we do not want to reinvent the wheel in data production but instead draw on what currently exists and delve more deeply.

Jay noted the importance of ensuring access to shelter for all those who need it in the community in which they live.

It was also noted that the best response to the high shelter numbers is to institute a diversion program that offers stable housing as an alternative to shelter.

Shelter update:
Craig’s Doors and Northampton cot shelter closing 5/1
Taylor Street is seasonal but not closing 5/1, will be open until funds run out, likely June/July
FOH: transitioning overflow population to main shelter; looking by end of month not to have anyone in overflow; women no longer in overflow.

Next meeting date: Thurs May 4, 9:30-11 am, Northampton Senior Center, subject to confirmation.


Topics for next meeting:

Learn more about what the by-name list tells us as compared to HMIS – what additional insight does it provide?            What does HMIS provide in terms of our demand/gap analysis?

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).


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:

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).