Category Archives: Leadership Council

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 6/4/15

Leadership Council Meeting
June 4, 2015

In attendance: Jim Ayres, United Way of Hampshire County, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Kathy Buckley Brawner, Catholic Charities, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Steve Como, Soldier On, Patricia Crosby, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Sylvia deHaas-Phillips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Diana McLean, City of Westfield, Dave Modzelewski, Network/REACH, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass., Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Representative Aaron Vega, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing, Sue White, Veterans Administration Medical Center

 The group welcomed Representative Aaron Vega to the Leadership Council and thanked him for his commitment to these issues and to the Network as a whole. We are thrilled to have him with us!

Review of Leadership Council April 28 Meeting Minutes  (click here)
Charlie Knight: motion to approve
Gerry McCafferty: seconded

Discussion: Pamela pointed out that she clarified the language in the minutes on the blog (but failed to include it in the copy distributed at today’s meeting) to reflect that votes were not “unanimous” but “all in favor with Joanne LaCour abstaining” per Joanne’s request.

All in favor: unanimous
Opposed: none; Abstentions: none

FY16 State budget update:

Pamela updated the group on the budget process: The budget is currently in Conference Committee where Senate and House budget differences will be resolved. Pamela will summarize in a forthcoming email the status of the Network priorities and next steps. With regard to the Network funding, the House budget includes an earmark for the $125,000, and the Senate budget does not. We will continue to advocate for Network funding, as well as for our remaining priorities regarding Secure Jobs, Housing Consumer Education Centers and funding for housing and services for unaccompanied homeless youth.

Network’s proposed FY16 budgets (click here):
Charlie Knight: motion to accept budgets
Seconded: Patricia Crosby

Discussion: Andrew talked through both scenarios, one without state funding and one with it.

In the first scenario without state funding, we are looking at a total gap of over $33K. We discussed “sustaining contributions” and how they were lower than expected (state funding last year slowed contributions). The Steering Committee will revisit this and restart contribution outreach.

Rep. Vega suggested we consider 3 year commitments for planning purposes.

Question regarding Simtech tools/consultancy in state funding budget: The consultant amount is a placeholder for further planning and discussion. The cost of the tools is fixed ($3K /month) and is vital to producing regional data (offers a “data warehouse” and capacity to collate data from multiple sources and produce meaningful outcome measures). Gerry McCafferty also pointed out that if we use Simtech, it could save her CoC funds and the CoC could be in a position to contribute to the cost as well.

Robin Sherman suggested the Steering Committee devise an “expense budget” that would match the income budget relying only on revenue sources that we are confident we have.

All agreed that moving forward we will need to address how we sustain ourselves beyond State funding.

Jerry Ray suggested that this is a “limited time budget” – that we all understand once numbers are finally known, we will make a final budget.

Doreen Fadus: this is a “good faith budget” – that we vote understanding there is no guarantee on revenue right now.

Alternative is to not vote on a budget at all today and convene an emergency meeting of the LC by 6/30/15.

We agreed to look into electronic voting – a change to by-laws – to create this option in the future.

If we pass a budget today, the Steering Committee would be empowered to modify the budget as circumstances dictate. It will also tackle the fundraising plan.

Vote on the Motion:
Opposed: Jane Banks, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Dave Christopolis, Patricia Crosby, Robin Sherman
In Favor: all others in attendance
Abstentions: none

Motion carried. Andrew acknowledged that this was the first time in a long time that the Leadership Council lacked consensus and the Steering Committee will be very sensitive to that as it moves forward with budget and fundraising planning.

Confirmed FY16 Leadership Council Meeting Schedule:
Thurs., 9/17 – Berkshire County
Wed., 1/20 – Hampshire County
Thurs., 4/28 – Franklin County
Wed., 6/21 – Hamden County

Meeting adjourned 1 pm.

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 4/28/15

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes
April 28, 2015

In attendance: Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Jim Ayres, United Way of Hampshire County, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Patricia Crosby, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Sylvia deHaas-Phillips, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center, Health Care for the Homeless, Judge Robert Fields, Housing Court, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Dave Gadaire, CareerPoint, Heidi Gold, Simtech Solutions, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Jen Hohn, City of North Adams, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Joan Kagan, Square One, Charlie Knight, consumer, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Andrea Miller, Waypoints Consulting, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, REACH, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass., Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Mary Reardon Johnson, YWCA, Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Sherbo, People’s Bank, Robin Sherman, Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Matt Simmonds, Simtech Solutions, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network

Motion to approve minutes of January 21, 2015 Leadership Council meeting
Motion:: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Jen Hohn
Vote: All in favor with one abstention (Joanne LaCour)

Western Massachusetts Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness:
Draft plan summary presented by Andrea Miller, Matt Simmonds and Heidi Gold
Please click here to review.

Comments:

Numbers on family homelessness are skewed in relation to national numbers due to our state’s right to shelter law – it creates a unique phenomenon

Our very low unsheltered population (as compared nationally) is a great success for our region, although it should also be noted our New England weather is a factor (makes it more difficult to sleep outside many months of the year).

Unaccompanied homeless youth are not showing up on baseline statistics but of course they are out there. HUD’s definition of homeless youth is so narrow that it misses many who should be counted. It’s also very difficult to “find” homeless youth when doing the Point in Time count. We have more to do around figuring out how to find and track population.

Do we track people moving from homeless to chronic homeless in terms of meeting the definition. HUD is changing the definition of “chronic” right now; this will have an impact on our count in due course.

Our solutions will be limited until we meet the shortage of affordable housing units.

This Plan and data tools are intended to maximize the investment made in housing so that the “right” people (those who are most in need) are occupying the available units.

There are other costs not measured strictly by housing need, e.g., dislocation of kids with multiple moves, health issues – the question is how expansive is the cost-benefit analysis, which is especially relevant in rural areas.

In order to provide complete baselines and tracking, we need to have access to DHCD data, which DHCD is not permitting at this point. We will continue to engage DHCD and HUD about this and seek a more workable solution with DHCD.

Most national trends demonstrate the rate of homelessness going down, but MA is going up. Why is that? With family homelessness, we can’t get the data to understand why we’re there.

This Plan is intended to educate all of us to say we need to understand where problems are to have an impact. At some point, the LC may say to the State it’s outrageous that we have so many hundreds of homeless families and we can’t get any data on them to understand how to get them into housing –

The Leadership Council has a role in trying to get performance measures at a high enough level so people who are not in the “homelessness” world can understand it and can pull out the largest pieces to determine what we can impact.

We know some communities have ended veteran homelessness. How have they done it? Can we do what they do? If not, why not? This Plan will give us a level of detail to push us to the necessary changes; to look at what we’re doing as a collective of agencies and how we can drive closer to our goal of ending homelessness.

We need to have housing subsidies and supportive services to make a lasting difference.

But we can measure how much is just enough assistance?

Homelessness is part of the larger problem of poverty – there are so many variables impacting what it will take to meet the problem of homelessness; it can be more difficult to measure

We will use our Network committees to wrestle with this. We need to hear from the ground what is necessary and can pursue the data needed to meaningful measure the work.

Community education is critical to the work – how do we combat the “not in my back yard” attitude that is pervasive. We are losing the PR battle where so many people think MA is a “chump” for having a right to shelter law. We need to educate and personalize the story of homelessness. Need to work on our messaging and framing.

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Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 1/21/15

Leadership Council Meeting
January 21, 2015

In attendance: Mary Jane Bacon, Senator Rosenberg’s office, Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Patrica Crosby, Franklin Regional Employment Board, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Linda Dunlavy, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center, Judge Robert Fields, Western MA Housing Court, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Jennifer Hohn, North Adams Housing Authority, Lori Ingraham, Easthampton Savings Bank, Mary Reardon Johnson, YWCA, Nat Karns, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, consumer, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Diana McLean, City of Westfield, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass., Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Carmen Rivera, Home City Housing, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Matt Simmonds, Simtech Consulting, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Linda Stacy, United Way of Franklin County, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network,

Minutes of 10/23/14 Leadership Council meeting:
Robin noted that the minutes inaccurately named two states as having the “right to shelter.” However, MA is the only state; New York City, not New York State, also has the right to shelter.  See corrected minutes here.

Motion to approve: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Tim Brennan
All in favor: unanimous

New Network Vice-Chair: Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center:

The Network Steering Committee reached out to Doreen to ask her to serve as the Network vice-chair, replacing Lynne Wallace (after he many years of extraordinary service as chair and then vice chair). We all expressed our appreciation for Doreen’s willingness to serve in this capacity – the Network is extremely fortunate to have her!

Motion in support of Doreen Fadus as vice-chair of the Network: Mary Reardon Johnson
Seconded: Charlie Knight
All in favor: unanimous

Charlie seconded the motion

Administration Update:

Pamela noted the Baker Administration has given very public attention to the family homelessness crisis and his stated intention to explore new solutions. He has also made explicit mention of “regional networks” as part of the solution, an intriguing possibility for our ongoing efforts.

Secure Jobs Celebration – 2/6/15:

Pamela reminded everyone that our upcoming second annual Secure Jobs Celebration is taking place on Friday, 2/6, 10 am – 11:30 am, Kittredge Center, Holyoke Community College. This will be a celebration of all of our workforce development efforts for homeless families and individuals. 18 legislators, several mayors, DHCD Undersecretary and many more will be attending. Come if you can!

Legislative Priorities Discussion for FY16

Pamela referred to the draft of legislative priorities that is based on Network committee recommendations (click here). Continue reading

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 10/23/14

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes
October 23, 2014

In attendance: Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Parish, Paul Bailey, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Sara Cummings, Community Action, Sylvia deHaas-Phillips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Harry Duchesne, New England Farm Workers Council, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center/Health Care for the Homeless, Dave Gadaire, CareerPoint, Brad Gordon, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Jennifer Hohn, North Adams Housing Authority, Steve Huntley Valley Opportunity Council, Mary  Reardon Johnson, YWCA of Western Mass., Nat Karns, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Kim Lee, Square One, Ann Lentini, Domus Inc., Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Diana McClean, City of Westfield, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, W. MA Network to End Homelessness, Andrew Morehouse, The Food Bank of Western Mass., George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, W. Mass. Network to End Homelessness, Robin Sherman, Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Nancy Stoll, United Way of Berkshire County, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Lynne Wallace, HAPHousing, Alicia Zoeller, City of Springfield

Special Guests: DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein, DHCD Associate Director of the Divison of Housing Stabilization Rose Evans, MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness Liz Rogers, US Interagency Council on Homelessness Regional Representative Bob Pulster

Minutes of June 25, 2014 Leadership Council meeting

Motion to approve: Jane Banks
Seconded: Jay Levy
Approved: unanimous

Network Update

Pamela reported on the recent trip to Washington, DC to share the success of our Secure Jobs program. Western MA was 1 of 11 communities (in the company of Chicago, LA, Twin Cities, etc) invited to attend a national summit on workforce development for homeless job seekers. Sponsored by the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, US Department of Labor, HUD and the Butler Family Fund, our team of 5 included Lisa Lapierre, SJ program director and Corporation for Public Management, Lynne Wallace, Chief Operating Officer of HAPHousing, David Gadaire, Executive Director of CareerPoint and Phyllis White, Director of Programs of Franklin Hampshire Career Center. It was a productive gathering that included concrete brainstorming of recommendations for changes in federal policy that would help reduce barriers and increase opportunities for this population. Our own Lisa Lapierre shared one of those recommendations with DOL Secretary Perez and HUD Secretary Castro directly (the Secretaries attended the event to share and receive insights). It was a very proud day for Western Massachusetts!

Pamela also reported on the FY15 state budget earmark of $125,000 to the Network to support our plan to integrate our efforts with the US Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness. We are now navigating a technical glitch of the Network being named in the earmark but not being a 501©(3) organization (the United Way of Pioneer Valley is our fiscal agent), so now we are in discussion with our legislators who are assisting with an amendment in the supplemental budget process to correct this oversight and name United Way directly. Our legislators are optimistic this will be resolved favorably. Meanwhile, we are in the middle of the hiring process for a consultant who will lead this project and will hopefully have an outcome from this process in the next couple of weeks.

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