Category Archives: Individual Services Committee

image_pdfimage_print

Three County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 9/17/18

Three County Individual Services Meeting
9/17/18
 

In attendance:  Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Life Path, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Andy Klatka, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Danielle McColgan, CHD, Star Mott, ServiceNet, Nikki Riello, Hilltown CDC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Michael Trembley, ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, John Wren, ServiceNet, Chris Zabik, DMH

Coordinated Entry Update
Erin Forbush provided an update regarding weekly Coordinated Entry meetings.  They are taking place at 1 pm every Monday at this ServiceNet location (296 Nonutuck Street).  Every week there is a meeting to discuss individual clients and best housing matches. In the last 2 months there have been no vacancies, largely as a result of ServiceNet’s shift in its HUD contracts for Permanent Supportive Housing.

There are 2 contracts that are in transition, 1 for 15 beds that ends as of Jan. 2019 and the other for 45 beds that ends as of July 2019.  In Northampton, this impacts 38 Hawley Street (12 units) and Pleasant Street (1 unit).  ServiceNet is working diligently with individuals impacted to ensure they are re-housed as needed.  Meanwhile, the Three County CoC has posted an RFP for these housing funds to be administered by another agency.

Network earmark update
Pamela shared the Network Steering Committee conversation regarding the allocation of the Network earmark of $125,000.  The current proposal is to allocate $25,000 to training needs for the Network focused on a range of skills and practices, including trauma-informed care, how to run a housing oriented shelter, and cultural competency.  The remainder would be allocated to flexible funds to assist with prevention and rapid rehousing, including landlord mitigation funds (e.g., repairs, etc.) to encourage renting to tenants. The Committee unanimously supported this proposal.  Members especially noted the need for training on harm reduction and trauma-informed care.  The lack of racial and ethnic diversity in our own group was also noted and the group agreed it would be extremely valuable to allocate resources for training around our cultural competency.  We distributed the newly produced data around race and ethnicity within the region’s homeless population, noting the disproportionate representation of people of color (click here for the report ).

Network Legislative Meeting: November 16, 1-3 pm, Greenfield Community College
The Network is hosting a legislative meeting to introduce the 5 new legislators in the Upper Valley.  It will be region-wide, including all Western MA legislators and local officials and Network partners.  Stay tuned for additional info but mark your calendars for now!

Upcoming training on Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers
This training is taking place on October 4, 9:30-11:30 am at HCC.  Pamela will send a reminder notice just to this group attending in order to provide an opportunity for more 3 County CoC attendance.

Next meeting date:
Monday, October 15
1 pm – 2:30 pm
ServiceNet
296 Nonotuck Street, Florence

 

 

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 7/24/18

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes 
July 24, 2018
 

In Attendance:  Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Olivia Bernstein, Mental Health Association, Lynn Conway, PDPR/BSAS, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical, John Fisher, Way Finders, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Marvin Gonzalez, Eliot CHS, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Hershelle Keaves, BHN, Todd Konlezhny, Lighthouse, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Hospital, John Paglier, Mercy Hospital, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless, Christina Ruest, Friends of the Homeless, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless, Friends of the Homeless, Kathy West, Eliot CHS, Lynn White, Viaiblity, Kimberly Wiggins, BHN Mission West, Chris Zabik, DMH

Built for Zero Update (see attachment Chronic Report July 2018):
Gerry reviewed the Chronic Report with the group, noting that Hampden County just housed 10 people this past month, the highest since last December.  More than 20 individuals are in line to be housed imminently.
Total number of chronically homeless individuals is now at 84.   The data indicates that overall in-flow has exceeded out-flow but this is also a function of the by-name list becoming a more accurate representation of the number of CH homeless individuals in the county, e.g., added in the individuals at Annie’s Houses and Safe Havens. The number of housing placements over the months has varied widely, e.g., 2 in June, 10 in July.
The last Built for Zero conference in Detroit was productive. The Hampden County group decided on 3 things to focus on in the next 3 month period:
1. shortening the speed of referral within the system to husing
2. producing a list of landlords who house people with sex offense histories
3. housing VHA ineligible veterans with HUD VASH vouchers (just waiting on HUD approval to begin that process)
Shelter Inventory List:(see attachment)
The group reviewed the list and noted that the Samaratin Inn (on attachment as Greater Westfield Committee for Homeless) is constantly under-capacity.  The group agreed it would be useful to meet with Donna Nadeau to discuss this.  Pamela will include Gerry, Janice Humason, Sarah Hills and Lizzy Ortiz in an outreach email with Donna Nadeau on this topic.
FY19 State Budget Update:
Pamela reviewed the Conference Committee’s FY19 budget that was recently released and is now subject to the Governor’s review. Housing and homelessness programs did very well overall, including an increase in RAFT funding and the inclusion of funding for individuals in the RAFT program and $3.3 million in funding for youth services.
Note: since this meeting the FY19 budget has been finalized.  The funding outlined above stayed intact. For more information, please go to the Network blog – http://westernmasshousingfirst.org (and please subscribe to the blog where budget updates and other information are regularly posted!).
Network Training Workplan for FY19
Pamela reported on the Network Steering Committee’s decision per committee feedback to support the scheduling of targeted trainings over the course of the coming year, culminating in the Resource Fair in June.  Pamela sought this committee’s feedback on which of the trainings offered at the Resource Fair would be most useful to offer again with more time (and more opportunity to attend since there would be no other trainings offered alongside it).  Based on informal discussion and feedback, the group expressed interest in this order:
  • overcoming tenant screening barriers
  • homelessness and the opioid epidemic
  • domestic violence resources (NOTE: Gerry has arranged a training for the CoC on September 10 – will provide more details to the group shortly)
  • youth services
  • EA and HomeBASE for families
The group also expressed interest in focusing on landlord resources (how to locate landlords!), especially pertaining to housing people with sex offense histories.
Pamela encouraged people to contact her with any additional thoughts and she will provide another opportunity via a targeted email on this topic.
Next meeting date: Tuesday Aug 28, 1 pm, FOH.

Three County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 6/11/18

Three County Individual Services Meeting Minutes
June 11, 2018
 
In attendance:  Colin Blair, Eliot Services, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Jen Glover, Lifepath, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Phyllis Lutsky, VA, Anne Marie Martineau, DMH, Danielle McColgan, CHD, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Nikki Riello, Hilltown CDC, Kate Shapiro, DMH, 
Updates:
  • Youth housing in Northampton:  Thanks to the fundraising and planning of the Hampshire County Friends of the Homeless, 4 new youth housing units are now OPEN. DIAL/SELF is managing it.  Click here for the application and click here for the brochure.
  • Peg announced that a Northampton meeting on encampments – how best to assist and respond to all constituencies – is happening next week.  Will keep the group posted.
  • Shelter update from Friends of the Homeless in Springfield:
  • Coordinated entry update:  big progress with the fact that now all vulnerability assessments can get directly into ETO (the HMIS system that all DHCD and CoC funded programs use) which will afford better tracking and follow-up for all people assessed.  There is still catch-up to do around previously completed assessments and this is in process.
FY19 Budget Update:  Pamela reported the positive outcomes in the Senate budget and the Conference Committee is currently meeting to resolve differences between the House and Senate budgets.  Click here for the summary from CHAPA of recommendations to the Committee. The Conference Committee budget should be decided by the end of this week.
Homelessness Resource Fair: It’s happening!  June 14, 9 am, Kittredge Center, HCC.  The group discussed how the kinds of trainings being offered during this one day event can be offered in a more informal way throughout the year.  The group agreed that regular trainings would be valuable.  One idea was to offer a brown-bag lunch series on various topics. The group will continue to discuss this when it reconvenes.
Meeting schedule: The group decided to meet again in September in ServiceNet’s new building.  The next meeting date will be on Monday, September 17.  This will be a combined meeting of REACH, Coordinated Entry, and the Western MA Network to End Homelessness.

Hampden County Individual Services Minutes – 5/22/18

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/22/18
 
In attendance: Gechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless, Olivia Bernstein, Mental Health Association, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot Services, Janice Humason, FOH, Nichole King, FOH, Todd Koniezhny, Jenifer Lucca, Samaritan Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Digno Ortiz, FOH, John Pagliar, Mercy Medical, Herschelle Reeves, BHN, Keith Rhone, FOH, Denise Rivera, FOH, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Kimberly Wiggins, BHN
 
 
Data Review:  We reviewed the Hampden County data produced as part of the Built for Zero campaign (click here ) that shows the in-flow vs. the out-flow and number of housing placements.  The group discussed the possible reasons for the increased in-flow in recent months, which included(1) the result of “word getting out” that entering the system leads to being housed – a consequence of “success” – so that people who have been chronically homeless are more willing to show up; and (2) better and more thorough outreach flowing from greater collaboration and community awareness.  The general sense was that the increased numbers were not a reflection of new people entering the region but a system better identifying who is there.
On the HMIS shelter data (click here), it was agreed that looking at this data monthly is useful in order to take stock as a group of the demand and any trends (while also recognizing that for FOH staff alone it is not so useful since it is largely their data).  It would be more useful if we could also look at it in relation to Hampshire County’s two shelters – Pamela will reach out to ServiceNet and Craig’s Doors (when in season) and continue to incorporate their shelter numbers in the review.
Gerry will adjust the spreadsheet so that we can see actual months (and probably show only 3-6 months as opposed to the whole year).
We agreed it would be most useful to look at the shelter numbers in relation to the housing numbers, i.e., are people coming into shelter being housed.
Resource Fair: Pamela reported that the Resource Fair has over 150 people registered to attend with 40 organizations tabling. People’s expressed interest in the workshop on housing chronically homeless individuals is high!  Please register if you haven’t already by going here: Registration Form
 
FY19 Budget Update: Pamela distributed information on the Senate budget amendments which are being debated this week.  Click here for CHAPA’s priority amendments.  Call/email your senator to ask for his/her support (on the Senate side, senators can sign-on to amendments up until the vote.  Find her your legislator here. If you are in Senator Rosenberg’s district, the other Western MA legislators have generously committed to representing your interests.  Call Senator Lesser, Senator Hinds or Senator Welch to request their co-sponsorship.
Additionally, Network priorities also include ABE/ESOL funding – Amendment #176 to increase funding from $31 to $33 million – and Secure Jobs funding – Amendment #525 to increase funding from $650,000 to $1 million. Senator Welch is already a co-sponsor for both Amendments (call to thank!) and the others should be contact to request their co-sponsorship.Next meeting date: Tuesday, June 26, 1 pm, Friends of the Homeless, 755 Worthington Street.

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/14/18

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 5/11/18
(Thanks to Jay Levy for facilitating and note-taking in Pamela’s absence)

Shelter Updates:

  • ServiceNet: Grove Shelter is full; they are now down to only one person couching it, as opposed to 3 people due to the overflow from the COT shelter closing down for the season. Several folks were placed in housing from the COT shelter leaving about 7 people that remained homeless and potentially unsheltered in the Northampton area.
  • Friends of the Homeless: April averaged 154 clients per night.  Female numbers were unusually high.  In May, numbers dropped significantly for both women and men.

Homelessness Resource Fair, Thurs., June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm. Please be sure to register if attending – either by going to this Registration Form or emailing Pamela at pschwartz77@gmail.com. Note that the interest in the workshop on chronically homeless individuals is as high as any other interest – people want to understand coordinated entry and how to serve this population!

FY19 Budget Updates:

  • The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its budget last Thursday.  The MA Coalition for the Homeless summarized the provisions that impact individuals:
    • Increased funding for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults from $675,000 in FY’18 to $3.3 million in FY’19
    • Increased Residential Assistance for Families in Transition funding from $15 million in FY’18 to $18.5 million in FY’19, and allowing households without children to access up to $3 million
    • For ABE/ESOL funding (a priority of the Career Services Committee : increased funding for $31 million but this is lower than the House budget and not up to the $34.5 million ABE Coalition ask).  Urging Senators to support Senator Eldridge’s amendment for increased funding to $34.5 million.

    Budget debate will happen next week (5/21) so now is the time to contact Senators to urge their support of these provisions.

  • Next meeting date: Monday, June 11, DMH Haskell Building, 1-2:30 pm (Network meeting 2-2:30 pm)

3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 4/9/18

The Network continued its experiment with merging meetings by joining the 3 County REACH meeting and conducting Network business for the last 30 minutes of it.  All members of both the Hampden County and the 3 County region will stay on the Network’s singular individual services committee email list and receive each other’s meeting minutes as a way of staying connected and learning from each other.

Three County Individual Services Meeting Minutes  – 4/9/11

In attendance:  Charlyn Arnell, Eliot Services, Colin Blair, Eliot Services, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Lillian Coleman, ACC, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Erin Gorry, CHD, Hwei-Ling Greeney, ACC, John Hornik, Town of Amherst, Andy Klatka, Eliot Services, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Anne Marie Martineau, DMH, Charles McDowell, DMH, Danielle McGolgan, CHD, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Sue Moorman, VA, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Nikkie Riello, Hilltown CDC, Pamela Schwartz, Josh Wren, ServiceNet, Chris Zabik, DMH

Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers – June 14
Pamela provided an update on the second annual Homelessness Resource Fair for providers that is taking place on Thurs., June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm at HCC. We reviewed Hampden County’s individual services meeting discussion around the workshop on chronically homeless individuals where it was confirmed that focusing on the definition of chronically homeless, why it matters and how the coordinated entry system works.  Katie Miernecki volunteered to join the planning group (along with Janice Humason from FOH and Laura Robertson from Catholic Charities of Hampden County).  Pamela will also reach out to Erin Forbush of ServiceNet to participate. The rise in the unsheltered population over the last 2 years was also noted; the opioid epidemic was discussed as a contributing factor.

Three County Point in Time Count data:
Jay and Pamela distributed the 2018 PIT data (click here) compiled by Andrea Miller, the 3 County HMIS director. It was noted that there is an overall 5% increase as compared to last year due to the rise in family homelessness while there is a small reduction among the other populations.  The significant drop in the # of chronically homeless individuals since 2015 was due to the change in the definition of CH which made it more restrictive.  We also noted the spike in youth homelessness in 2015 (60) as compared to subsequent years (in the 30’s), which was due to the rise that year in homeless families with young adult parents. It was also noted that the evacuees from Puerto Rico were not yet included in the count due to the challenge of acquiring the data.

Coordinated entry info sharing across sub-regions: Pamela shared that Hampden County was launching a “VI-SPDAT challenge for the month of April” – including prizes and all! – as a tool to increase the number of assessments and help cement the practice of competing assessments to everyone entering the system.  While the 3 County tool is still in process of being integrated, this is one tool to keep in mind.

Shelter Updates:
Pamela shared that at the last Hampden County Individual Services Committee Friends of the Homeless reported notably high occupancy at 172 individuals each night.  It was noted that the Hartford seasonal shelter recently closed which may be a contributing factor.

Katie of ServiceNet reported the last month at the cot shelter saw 13 turn-aways (and the average has been 18-20), 10 due to capacity and 3 due to being under the influence.

Craig’s Doors just hired a new shelter manager so hopefully they will have the capacity to join us at these meetings soon.

Joining Hampden County Individual Services Meetings by Zoom
Pamela noted that it’s possible to join the Hampden County Individual Services meetings by Zoom (tried once at a veterans committee meeting with mixed success – will work on better connection).  Pamela will send out a Zoom link in advance of the Hampden County meetings so people can join at a distance (makes more sense now that the Network portion is only 30 minutes).

For Three County meetings, due to the logistics of the meeting space, Pamela will relay updates from Hampden County.

Next meeting date: Monday, May 13, 1-2:30 pm, DMH Haskel Building.

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 3/27/18

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes
March 27, 2018

In attendance:  Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless (FOH), Olivia Bernstein, Mental Health Association, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Marvin Gonzalez, Eliot Services, Richard Hendrick, social worker, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Digno Ortiz, Friends of the Homeless, Keith Rhone, FOH, Denise Rivera, FOH, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Christina Ruest, FOH, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH, Chris Zabik, DMH

Hampden County Point in Time Count Report (see below):

Gerry provided the following update:

Observations included:

  • The total number, 354, is the lowest number the CoC has had since the CoC became all of Hampden County (2011)
  • The unsheltered number has usually bounced between 30 and 55, except 2015, when the count took place in between two Nor’easters, and was only10
  • The count will not be finalized until people displaced from PR hurricane are accounted for (in hotels through FEMA), still waiting on that number
  • More than 50 of the people counted as chronically homeless in last year’s count have been housed (great progress); there are a number of people newly aging into chronic status and unsheltered people are better counted.  Overall, people are moving through the system into housing at a better rate.

Homelessness Resource Fair:

The Network’s second annual Homelessness Resource Fair is taking place on Thurs., June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm at HCC.  We will offer a series of brief workshops, and feedback from the survey reflected interest in learning about resources for chronically homeless individuals. The group decided to offer a workshop that would feature the following information:

  • defining “chronically homeless” – what is criteria?
  • why are we especially focused on this population?
  • how are we addressing it through “coordinated entry” and other systemwide efforts

Janice has agreed to be a point person for the workshop and Laura Robertson has agreed as well. Other people to consider reaching out to are Kathy West of Eliot CHS Homeless Services and Dave Havens of MHA.  Pamela will also reach out to ServiceNet since this resource fair covers the whole western region.  Gerry will provide a hand-out for the workshop that summarizes how to access the coordinated entry system.

HUD Budget Update:

Congress just passed a nearly 10% increase in HUD spending, the largest single increase in 20 years. Homelessness Assistance received a 5.5% increase.  This is great news!

Emergency Shelter Update

Friends of the Homeless reported a notably high number of 172 individuals per night. It was noted that the Hartford seasonal shelter closes in the 2nd week of March and this may explain some of the FOH rise.

We did not have other 3 county shelter providers at this meeting for their reports.  Pamela will reach out to see if they are interested in participating in the Hampden County meeting by Skype or at minimum to obtain their data so Pamela can report on it at our next Hampden County meeting.

Next Hampden County meeting date: Tuesday, April 24, 1 pm – 1:30 pm, FOH.

Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 2/1/18

 

Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
February 1, 2018

In Attendance: Tanisha Arena, Fenway Health VRP, Steve Connor, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, Nichole King, FOH/CSO, Charlie Knight, Rainville/former consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, FOH/CSO, Digno Ortiz, FOH/CSO, Rosemary Pelletier, YWCA of Western MA, Christina Ruest, Keith Rhone, FOH/CSO, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Delphine Wray, FOH/CSO

Three County CoC Update:

  • Conducted Point in Time Count last week (one week earlier than Hampden).
  • Coordinated Entry launched last week – 1-888 number – 1-888-413-@MAS (9627). This phone number offers resource referrals and access to transportation.  Soldier On is staffing the number; it is available to all.

Coordinated entry meetings are now underway (all providers are welcome):

Berkshire County: Barton’s Crossing, Wednesdays, 2-3:30 pm, 141 North Street, Pittsfield

Franklin County: Franklin Drop-In, Tuesdays, 1-2:30 pm, 60 Wells Street Greenfield

Hampshire County: Hampshire Drop-In, Mondays, 1-2:30 pm, 43 Center St, Northampton

Hampden County CoC:

  • PIT count happened last night;  preliminary data out next week.
  • By-name list – last year at end of Jan had 97 individuals on it; now in high 60’s,  (several left the area or are inactive)
  • New data warehouse allows providers beyond CoC funded recipients – e.g., hospitals, jails – to enter VI-SPDATs, while automatically linking to HMIS record. Soon, the system will allow the list to be updated as changes are made through a given month and will automatically incorporate HMIS record changes as they are uploaded.
  • The CoC board is meeting tomorrow and will vote on a couple of changes to the coordinated entry system, including making rapid re-housing funds available to those up to 50% of median income and changing the referral system so those with high VI-SPDAT scores are not referred to RRH (not a good match).
  • City of Springfield is putting out notice of funding opportunities through ESG and HOPWA.
  • CoC team is continuing to attend Build for Zero learning sessions to advance the work of ending chronic and veteran homelessness
  • HUD FEMA numbers: Hampden County has 238 households in motels (substantially more are doubled up); all housing authority applicants are given priority based on displacement by disaster.

Network earmark funding update:  Pamela reported the good news that the Network’s FY18 earmark actually was released.  The Network Steering Committee agreed to allocate the $125K in funds to direct assistance to fill some of the gaps resulting from the cut in youth funding and Consortium (prevention) funds.  The agencies funded – Gandara and Catholic Charities in Hampden County and Community Action, DIAL/SELF and Berkshire Regional Housing Authority in 3 County – are all those that previously administered these funds and have existing staff to distribute these new monies.

Update from Tanisha Arena of Fenway Health: Tanisha works as an advocate for Fenway Health’s violence recover program, based in Springfield out of the Out Now office, and offers counseling and advocacy to LGBTQ victims of violence.  You can reach Tanisha at: tarena@fenwayhealth.org.

Network evaluation update:  Pamela reminded everyone that there is a general network meeting to discuss its future on Monday, 2/12, 1 pm at HCC, Kittredge Center.  We had a brief discussion to elicit more feedback now and we heard the following from people around the table:

  • updates and information sharing are useful
  • helps with isolation when working on one’s own in a shelter setting
  • concerned about ensuring clarity and outcomes for the meeting – who should be at the table and why
  • more detailed agenda to assess utility of attending would be useful
  • appreciates quick and easy view of big picture on homelessness

Pamela will send out interview questions again to invite additional feedback.

Next meeting: in Northampton; will revisit date due to conflict with first Thursday in March.  Please stay tuned.