Category Archives: Leadership Council

Leadership Council Decided Network Structural Changes and Focus Going Forward

At the last Leadership Council meeting on February 28 (meeting minutes here), the Leadership Council of the Western MA Network to End Homelessness made some big changes! First among them is redefining the role of the Leadership Council itself:  the Leadership Council is no longer the decision-making body of the Network but instead will play an advisory role on an as-needed basis.  It will no longer be meeting quarterly and instead will convene on an as-needed basis.
The Network’s decision-making body is a newly constituted Steering Committee that is currently under construction (see minutes for more details).  Our interim co-chairs are Gerry McCafferty and Peg Keller.
All Leadership Council members will continue to stay informed of the Steering Committee decisions through the blog and intermittent emails.  The group very clearly affirmed the value of all Leadership Council members and the body as a whole as a vehicle to marshal guidance and resources when the opportunity or need arises.
The Leadership Council also adopted recommendations  for the Network’s focus going forward.
Finally, I want to take this moment to extend what I know are our shared heartfelt thanks to our long-time chair Andrew Morehouse.  He provided so very many hours over these last few years shepherding the Network through many conversations and decisions with many of you, and in particular with me. Let us call this the virtual room of lifting our glass in thanks to him!
I also want to extend thanks to Joyce Tavon, our consultant over these last few months, who did a fantastic job of helping the Leadership Council come to these decisions.  Thank you, Joyce!
The Leadership Council’s  support and participation are a huge part of what makes this Network successful and I have no doubt it will continue to inform our success in the time to come.  Thank you!
Pamela Schwartz, Director
Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 7/27/17

Leadership Council Meeting
July 27, 2017

 In attendance: Jim Ayres, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Mary Jane Bacon, Senator Rosenberg’s office, Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Steve Como, Solider On, Ben Cluff, DPH, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Clare Higgins, Community Action, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council; Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, David Modzelewski, Network, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western Mass. , Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Dr. Christina Royal, Holyoke Community College, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Sandy Sayers, United Way of Franklin County, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Tanner, Friends of the Homeless, Janna Tetrault, Community Action

Motion to Approve Minutes of 4/11/17:
So moved: Tim Brennan
Seconded: Charlie Knight
All in favor with one abstention (Joanne LaCour)

In Memoriam: Ken Demers
The group honored Ken’s enormous contributions to ending homelessness and his steadfast and profound caring for the people he served throughout.  We will sorely miss him.

Welcome to Jim Ayres at United Way of Pioneer Valley
From years-long Leadership Council membership as executive director of the United Way of Hampshire County to now assuming the leadership post at the United Way of Pioneer Valley, the Network’s fiscal sponsor, we are grateful to Jim for his new position. We all look forward to working together to address the Network’s challenges and opportunities.  Welcome, Jim!

Hampden County CoC update:
Gerry provided detailed information regarding the Hampden County CoC’s performance measures as defined by HUD. Please click here for additional detail.

In summary, comparing the last 2 years (ending in 2016):

  • Point in Time count shows 3% decrease in homelessness
  • Annual rate of homelessness down 9%
  • Length of homelessness decreased 9%
  • Average length of stay stayed steady at 210 nights in shelter; median is 129 nights (both for FY16)
  • Placement rate of people from shelter to housing increased from 32 to 40%
  • Reduction in returns to homelessness 8% (1% first 6 months, 1% next 6 months, 6% next 12 -24 months)
  • Largest cause of decrease is reduction in families in shelter (kudos to State interventions)
  • Unsheltered count increased from 35 to 53, all individuals. Biggest driver of increase was extensive outreach and therefore identification of homelessness, especially among youth ages 18-24 years.
  • Youth homelessness overall decreased by 9% (a function of successful new programs)
  • Family homelessness decreased by 7%.
  • Veteran homelessness decreased by 52% – now at 14 identified homeless veterans, down from 50, remaining individuals are largely chronic, difficult to engage, continuing to strategize interventions
  • Chronic homelessness decreased overall by 22%.

Preparation for this year’s HUD application is underway. This data is key. The CoC is investing in a new data system that will be rolled out in September that will enable better integration of CoC’s system with state system and offer to track housing matches within the database. This will make housing placements quicker and more effective.

The CoC is receiving HUD Technical Assistance for a major funding for a youth initiative. Application will be due in December. The Network’s youth committee is providing the umbrella for the meetings in support of this effort.

Three County CoC Update:

Dave Christopolis, the CoC administrator, sent his regrets. Lisa Goldsmith and Brad Gordon reported on the 3 County CoC’s behalf:

  • The CoC is moving forward in its development of its coordinated entry and common assessment tool which will be ready to launch in January. This will include an 800 number (based at Soldier On) to provide immediate assistance with referrals.
  • The by-name lists for homeless veterans and chronically homeless individuals are in development and will be used to prioritize allocation of resources.
  • The CoC itself is in the process of further developing its governance and structure.
  • Brad and Lisa will report back to the CoC about creating a system for delivering more detailed data at the Leadership Council meeting, recognizing the value of LC members being informed about the progress being made.

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Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – April 11, 2017

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes
April 11, 2017

 In attendance: Jim Ayres, United Way of Hampshire County, Mary Jane Bacon, Office of Senator Rosenberg, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Dave Christopolis, Three County CoC, Steve Connor, Hampshire County Veterans Services, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jennifer Kinsman, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Michelle Michaeliann, BHN, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western MA, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Kristin Peterson, YWCA of Western MA, Christina Royal, Holyoke Community College, Jim Seney, VAMC, Janna Tetreault, Community Action

 Minutes of March 1, 2017 meeting:
Kathryn Buckley-Brawner moved to adopt; Steve Huntley
Unanimously in favor

Budget update: Current cash balance for the Network (at United Way of Pioneer Valley) is $4,045 for the remainder of fiscal year, includes receipts and pledges (one outstanding pledges). Partner contributions totaling $5,584 came in during the last couple of months. UWPV will forego its 10% admin fee for the remainder of the year (thanks expressed). Additionally, the Hampden County CoC and Community Action have each separately contracted with Pamela to provide facilitation for the Network committee meetings (dependent on geography of meetings and/or with youth meeting on rotating basis). This allows for the bulk of the UWPV funds to be allocated to the Network’s legislative advocacy work, along with general networking opportunities.

Legislative Update: Pamela reported that the Network has met with a dozen legislators over the last several weeks – Senator Rosenberg, Senator Lesser, Rep. Kulik, Rep. Farley-Bouvier, Rep. Gonzalez, Rep. Kocot, Rep. Mark, Rep. Tosado, Rep. Scibak, Rep. Vega, Rep. Velis, and Rep. Williams – to share Network priorities. At each meeting, different Network partners have attended based on the legislator’s district. Additional meetings are scheduled with Senator Hinds, Senator Humason and Senator Welch. The meetings have been very positive.

Prioritizing the Network’s Budget Priorities: At our last meeting with Senator Rosenberg, Rep. Kulik, Rep. Kocot and Rep. Scibak, the group received a direct ask for the Network’s top priorities among our list of priorities.

The Leadership Council discussion focused on answering the questions:

  1. What priorities will most greatly serve our region in particular?
  2. Where are there no or few other champions on the issue (i.e., our delegation is most needed)?

The group also reviewed the House Ways and Means (HWM) budget in relation to these questions to determine its priorities.

Motion to approve these top priorities list below: Peg Keller. Seconded: Steve Huntley
In favor: 21. Opposed: 1 (Steve Connor expressed preference for MRVP to be among the Network’s top priorities)

Motion to approve these priorities in the order listed below: Kathryn Buckley-Brawner. Seconded: Tim Brennan.
In favor: 20. Abstentions: Jim Ayres, Jay Sacchetti

The Leadership Council priorities are:

  1. Youth program funding ($0 in HWM)
  2. Consortium funding ($0 in HWM)
  3. Network earmark ($0 in HWM)
  4. Secure Jobs Initiative ($500K in HWM budget, down from $800K in Gov.’s budget)
  5. Tenancy Preservation Program ($500K in HWM, level funded; ask is $1m)
  6. RAFT language expansion to define family to include individuals (language not included in Governor or HWM budget)

The LC agreed that these priorities will be qualified by the explicit notation of the importance all of its initial priorities.

Network earmark amount (Motion to accept: Steve Huntley; Seconded: Tim Brennan; All in favor):

The Leadership Council decided after discussion to request the earmark in the amount of $125,000 but make clear to Rep. Kocot that if budget constraints required a reduction, the Network could also manage to continue with an amount between $50-$75,000.

Note: Pamela also raised earlier in the meeting the suggestion posed by Bill Miller (who was unable to attend the meeting) that the earmark be drawn from the family homelessness line-item since it is much larger than the individual services line-item and any earmark will proportionally impact the services less. While the Council heard this suggestion, it was not discussed at greater length. Pamela will inquire of Rep. Kocot for his feedback.

Application for Davis Foundation funding:
Motion for the Network to apply for Davis Foundation funding for FY18: Steve Huntley
Seconded: Gerry McCafferty
All in favor

Next meeting date:
July 27, 10 am- 12 noon
Greenfield, location TBD

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes – 10/26/16

Leadership Council Meeting
October 26, 2016

In attendance: Father Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace Church, Paul Bailey, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Dave Christopolis, Three County Coc/Hilltown CDC, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Jenna Day, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Rose Evans, DHCD, Sue Fortin, DMH, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Mike Hagmaier, Soldier On, Jen Hohn, City of North Adams, Nat Karns, Berkshire Community Development Corporation, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jennifer Kinsman, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Charlie Knight, Rainville/former consumer, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden County CoC, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of Western MA, George Ryan, Hanpden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Seney, VAMC,   Sarah Tanner, Friends of the Homeless, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network

Leadership Council Meeting Minutes of 8/3/16:
Motion to approve: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Nat Karns
Approval: Unanimous

Collective Impact Conference Report: Pamela attended a 3 day conference in San Antonio, TX from October 17-20 sponsored by the Collective Impact Forum ( Click here for the Powerpoint summary of lessons learned. Pamela shared that she was inspired by the framework of Collective Impact and invited the Network to look deeper into what it would mean for the Network to explore this approach. All agreed that that possibility, including the potential allocation of training dollars, would be further discussed at the Steering Committee.

Network to End Homelessness Progress Report:  Click here for the Powerpoint summary data update. Gerry and Dave provided an update on the progress with each population – families, chronically homeless, youth and veterans. Additional comments included:

  • Soldier On has moved many veterans into new veteran housing in Northampton and Chicopee. The Point in Time Count in the 3 County region will go down significantly this year (currently 144 Soldier On beds are occupied out of 266).
  • The advance of using By Name Lists has closed off gaps, preventing more people from slipping through the cracks.
  • Deputy Undersecretary Rose Evans offered TA on the challenges related to releases of information; Gerry also suggested bringing this state level support to the next statewide CoC meeting
  • Gerry provided an update on the Hampden County CoC’s application to HUD for a Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project. This is a highly competitive process – 10 awards nationwide; Boston and Worcester are also applying – that would provide between $1m and $15m for 3 years (then subject to renewal) to support innovative programs to address youth homelessness. The Network Youth Committee is supporting this process (with the 3 County CoC, which did not have the capacity to apply for this particular grant). Decisions on pilot projects for the initial planning period (6 months of TA from HUD) will occur in early 2017.

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