Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Hampden County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 9/25/18

Hampden County Individual Services Committee
September 25, 2018

In attendance:  Grechar Aquino, FOH/CSO, Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Olivia Bernstein, MHA, Jennifer Bisceglia, Dept. of Correction, Nichole Bodiford, FOH/CSO, Ashley Brehm, Way Finders, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, John Fisher, Way Finders, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Bill Miller, FOH/CSO, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, John Paglier, Mercy Medical Center, Christine Ruest, FOH/CSO, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, FOH/CSO, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, Paul Thomas, Dept. of Correction, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Kathy West, Eliot-CHS, Lynn White, Viability, Delphine Wray, FOH/CSO

RAFT available for individuals: Ashley Brehm of Way Finders presented on RAFT prevention benefits that are available this fiscal year to individuals facing eviction. Please contact Ashley for more details about program eligibility, etc. at abrehm@wayfindersma.org.

Welcome to Jen Bisceglia and Paul Thomas of Reentry Service Division, MA Dept. of Correction: Jen and Paul attended to begin to establish more active relationships with Western MA providers as part of their housing search efforts for people being released from prison.  While there are no state prisons in Western MA, Springfield is the third highest release destination (behind Boston and Cambridge). We will continue to connect on our rapid rehousing efforts and other housing options in the area.

Built for Zero Update: Gerry reported that the next Learning Collaborative is mid-October.  Attendees will return with “action items” and at our next meeting the committee will discuss and brainstorm how to make progress.

The monthly report was distributed (click here). At the end of August, the by-name list was at 93 individuals. That is now creeping upwards (July was 85; a year ago this month it was 62).  Contributing factors: people are kept on the list longer now before being removed; more people living on the streets have been housed which has created an internal “referral” loop that has more people seeking housing. Good news is that housing has been identified for 20 of these 93  individuals so we can anticipate good “exit” data next month.

 

Holyoke partnerships continue to grow, including ongoing meetings with Holyoke housing providers, health care providers and the police department. The Holyoke Housing Authority has also agreed to set aside 10-15 Section 8 vouchers for chronically homeless individuals – this is a great advance!  The CoC has also funded an additional 6 housing units for chronically homeless people.

 

A committee work plan for FY19:

Per the Network Steering Committee’s request, this committee discussed developing a work plan for FY19, including broad goals and strategies.  We had an initial brainstorm, building off of the Built for Zero campaign that is currently underway.  We agreed we would focus on the items raised in this discussion at our next month’s meeting.

 

A recap of Build for Zero’s broader goals: 

  • increase number of housing placements for chronically homeless people
  • increase the speed at which they happen
  • decreasing the inflow into homelessness

The overarching pursuit: how do we get more resources and how do we use them better

 

One upcoming resource is another round of mainstream vouchers being made available to housing authorities in October and January.  How do we get as many housing authorities as possible to apply for these vouchers across the region, including Amherst and Greenfield. Steve Connor agreed to reach out to these housing authorities to advocate for their acquisition of these vouchers. Committee members also noted the critical importance of support services alongside these vouchers in order for the housing to work.

 

The non-chronic homeless population: members noted the need to focus on this population as well, to better identify who they are, their experience of homelessness and their needs to get and stay stable.  Employment and income needs are a crucial part of this conversation.

 

CoC – ESG standards:  Gerry noted that the CoC will be launching a process to re-examine its ESG standards. Stay tuned for more.

 

Network earmark update: The Steering Committee met and has a proposal into DHCD for its $125,000 earmark which will include the creation of a flexible fund for prevention and rapid re-housing across the region as well as substantial training opportunities for our providers. The flexible fund will also include the opportunity to pilot the use of landlord mitigation and incentive funds to create housing options for difficult-to-house tenants (modeled on best practices in other parts of the country).  The proposed budget and Scope of Services are being reviewed by DHCD now.

 

Network Legislative event:  The Steering Committee decided to host a legislative gathering on Friday, November 16, 1 pm – 3 pm, at Greenfield Community College (the Dining Commons) to meet the 5 new presumed legislators from the Upper Pioneer Valley (candidate Jo Comerford for State Senate, and for State Representative: Natalie Blais, Dan Carey, Mindy Domb and Lindsay Sabadosa).  If you are interested in attending, register here.

 

Next meeting date: Tuesday, October 23, 1 pm – 2 pm, followed by case conferencing til 2:30 pm.

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 9/18/18

Family Services Committee Meeting
September 18, 2018
 
In attendance: Shelley Benoit, BHN, Melissa Blisset, Square One, Lynnanne Brown, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Portia Bullock?, NEFWC, Ellen Broadhurst, Chicopee Public Schools, Hillary Cronin, VA HUD VASH, Anthia Elliott, BHN, Fran Lemay, Greenfield Family Inn/ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman House, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Teatrault, Community Action, Melissa White, Valley Opportunity Council
DHCD data review – click here
We reviewed the data provided by DHCD and confirmed our continued need for greater clarity, e.g., to include the transfer number in the number of entries and exits does not provide us with meaningful data.  We also agreed it would be useful to understand:
  • among the number of EA applicants, how many were diverted, and within that number, how many used RAFT, how many used HomeBASE
  • on the data sheet that details “where client went upon exit” the first box says “emergency shelter” – need to clarify that
We also agreed that once Donna has returned (10/1), we will ask for her placement numbers to be added to the monthly report.
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.
Family Services Committee work plan
The Network Steering Committee also requested that the Network committees consider its goals and broad work plan for this fiscal year.  After discussion, the group recommended these broad goals:
  • relationship building and information sharing (supports motivation and positive energy in the work)
  • legislative advocacy – a unified voice and opportunity to meet with legislators
  • professional development through Network sponsored trainings
We agreed to further brainstorm outcome measures related to # of legislative meetings and legislative outcomes and # of people attending trainings, broken down by agency type and sub-region so we can best assess Network reach and impact.
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 regionwide, including all Western MA legislators and local officials and Network partners.  Stay tuned for additional info but mark your calendars for now!
Next meeting dates/times
Our previous meeting time of 1 pm on Tuesday permanently conflicts with Hampden County’s individual case conferencing meetings which precludes Gerry McCafferty, the Hampden CoC liaison, from ever attending these meetings.  All agreed that it was no problem (and for some, even preferred!) to move the time to at least afford the opportunity for her to join us.
In general, we will move our meeting time to 11 am-12:30 pm but due to a conflict in October, for the October meeting we will meet from 12 noon-1:30 pm.
So our upcoming meeting schedule is:
 
Tues., 10/9, 12 noon – 1:30 pm
Tues., 11/13, 11 am – 12:30 pm
Tues., 12/11, 11 am – 12:30 pm
Note: Unfortunately, the Holyoke Public Library is not available, but HCC’s Frost Room 309 is.  So our meetings will take place there.

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

 

 

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes 9/5/18

Veterans Committee Meeting Committee Minutes
9/5/18
In attendance:  Heather Cahillane, Soldier On, Janice Humason, FOH/CSO, Gerry McCafferty, Hampden County CoC, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Catherine Torres, FOH/CSO
Built for Zero Update – click here for the report 
note: the report is titled August but the numbers listed are through July, 2018
The numbers are creeping up a bit but the analysis suggests that that is a function of more veterans willing to self-identify as word gets around re: housing options and support. We noted how it is important to explicitly explain these upticks to the extent they are a paradoxical reflection of progress in the system.
It was also noted that there were zero placements in July and August, a reflection of the challenge in finding affordable and suitable housing (a segue to the later topic on the approval of HUD VASH vouchers for VA ineligible veterans!).
The group discussed increasing coordination with the Three County CoC to better identify veterans that are moving between the sub-regions so as to best understand veterans’ status and needed outreach/support.  Committee members will reach out to 3 County CoC to learn meeting schedule and will attend.
HUD VASH vouchers for VA ineligible veterans:  We are still experiencing an extremely frustrating challenge with HUD’s bureaucracy as the only thing standing in the way of using these vouchers for VA ineligible veterans is HUD approval. Gerry is reaching out to Bob Pulser of US ICCH for assistance. The community is at the ready to house 8-10 VA ineligible veterans as soon as the vouchers and support service plan (with ServiceNet) is approved. We will keep pushing!
Built for zero learning sessions – Gerry put the word out that the next learning session is October 10-12 in Detroit.  Expenses paid. Participants must commit to participating in improvement projects between learning sessions. Please contact Gerry if interested.
Network update:
  •  The Network was allocated its $125,000 earmark in this FY19 budget.  The Steering Committee will be meeting next week to discuss its allocation across the region and will report back.
Next meeting date:
Wednesday, October 3
2 pm – 2:30 pm (case conferencing to follow)
Friends of the Homeless,
755 Worthington Street, Springfield