Category Archives: Meeting Minutes

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – 6/30/17

Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
June 30, 2017


In attendance:  Beth Barbara, Veterans Inc, Dan Boyea, Hampden County Sheriff, Steve Connor, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, David Felty, SAVE, Keegan Hersey, Veterans Inc, Netshari Ortiz, Soldier On, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Pamela Schwartz, Network 

Hampden County By-Name List Update:

As reported via email by Gerry McCafferty: 13 homeless veterans, plus any veterans who are in transitional housing at 52 Maple Court, which is operated by the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center.  We do not have good data or regular updates on the people staying there. Of the 13 veterans we know about:

  • 9 are in shelter and 4 are unsheltered
  • 4 are chronically homeless
  • Eligibility status: 1 is VHA eligible (individual had VASH and did not use it; plan is to apply for Soldier On Agawam housing; 4 are only eligible for SSVF (they are working with Vets Inc or Soldier On); 5 are not eligible for any veteran homeless/housing program; 3 eligibility status not yet known (1 is new; 2 are unsheltered in Chicopee/Holyoke and Eliot is working with them separate from by-name list meetings)

Follow-up clarifying question from group: what does it mean that 5 are not eligible for any veteran homeless/housing program.  Dishonorable discharge? Or calling themselves veterans but not in fact veterans – but if so, then why still on the list at all?  Pamela will relay to Gerry and report back.

Three County Update:

Steve Connor reported a recent disappointment that Three County’s by-name list showed that 3 new veterans were in non-veteran family shelter and there had been no referrals made to the veterans services providers. Some gaps need to be closed through staff training, especially in light of turnover.  Steve will be following up with the family provider and the 3 County CoC to see what support can be provided.  The good news is that the existence of the by-name list revealed this gap!  The group acknowledged the positive process that is underway.

Steve also reported that the the Three County CoC, through Soldier On funds, recently hired a staff person to be administer the by-name lists  This is also a very promising development.

Family Homelessness Resource Fair Debrief:

Everyone agreed that the family homelessness resource fair of 6/8/17 was a great success.  The veterans providers felt it was a great opportunity to share resources to other providers and to network more generally.  All are on board for doing it again next year.

Pamela announced the offer of space from Holyoke Community College at the Kittredge Center and the determination of a date:  Thursday, June 14, 9 am – 1 pm.  HCC has generously provided the large multi-purpose room and 4 classrooms for break-out groups. The group is looking forward to working on it next year!

Statewide Updates:

Steve reported on the collaboration between the Division of Veterans Services and the Department of Corrections.  The SAVE team is now going into the DOC to provide support services and referrals to veterans.  For Western MA, the closest state correctional facility is in Worcester; however, there are approximately 100 DOC inmates at the county jails in Western MA, so the collaboration is still relevant for Western MA.

Hampden County Sheriff efforts to identify veterans:

Dan reported the great progress in identifying veterans who are in the Hampden County Jail.  First, it was discovered that the Jail actually had SQUARES and the capacity to identify veterans – this was great (and surprising) news.  Roughly 30 veterans are currently residing in the jail system. Now that connections are being made the data is being run and veterans are being referred to Veterans Court.  Next up is getting the data on veteran inmates to the Veterans Services Officers from the appropriate area (vast majority in Ludlow, some others in Springfield and Chicopee).  Dan’s plan is to work with the VSO’s to request contact info in the service of public safety.  This should enable direct outreach and service provision within 60 days of inmates’ release.  We all acknowledged this significant progress in identifying and reaching veterans in the Hampden County jail system.

Network Outreach to new VSO’s:

It was noted that there are new VSO’s that should be invited to the Network: Jesus Ferrara in Holyoke; Stephanie Shaw in Chicopee and Lena (need last name) in Longmeadow.  Pamela will follow-up with Steve to get contact info.

Next meeting date: Friday, July 28, 9 am – 10:30 am, Northampton Senior Center

Family Services Meeting Minutes – 6/13/17

Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
June 13, 2017
In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Shelly Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Joel Cox, NEFWC, Hilary Cronin, VA HUD/VASH, Anthia Eliott, Safe Passage, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV Unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Luis Martinez, CHD, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, Tenancy Preservation Project, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Mandy Winalski, Community Legal Aid

Family Homelessness Resource Fair Feedback Discussion:
See attached summary of attendees (based on sign-in sheet) and feedback provided at the event.  Overwhelmingly positive – great information, great energy, great way to meet people and discover resources –  with agreed upon suggestions for improvement:
  • more space
  • more time for break-outs
  •  bigger separation between break-out groups and main hall
  • break-out schedule more broadly posted (suggestion to have it posted on a big screen in the main room)
  • names and contact info of all participants provided in one hand-out
Additional comments from the meeting today:
Program staff really liked it; it was great to finally attach faces to names; great to feel the unity; impressed with breadth of experience and diversity of providers; so well set-up and professional (huge kudos once again to CHD)
HCC has offered to try to secure us the whole multi-purpose room with classrooms next year.  Advised to get them a date ASAP.
So the group decided first choice was: Thursday, June 7, 2018, 8:30-1:30, 4 classrooms allowing for 4 break-outs  to be repeated twice (with 45 minutes for each break-out group)
Second choice: Thurs., 7/14
[NOTE: since this meeting date, HCC reported that 7/7 is not available but 7/14 is, so the Fair date is confirmed for Thurs., July 14]
We celebrated this accomplishment with a toast and cake!  (Thanks again to Jane for providing).  And we had the bonus celebration of Janette’s birthday!
FY18 State Budget:
Pamela reported that the budget is now in Conference Committee where differences between the House and Senate budgets are being resolved.  The estimated revenue shortfall is appropriately concerning; unclear what will unfold, but it’s important to weigh in with the Committee.  Pamela will send a summary advocacy email early next week.
Homes for Families Visioning Day: 8/10, 9:30 am – 2:30 pm at Worcester Centrum.  A great and inspiring day.  Join if you can!  Jane will send out notice and Pamela will relay.
Next meeting dates:
Tuesday, July 11, 1-2:30 pm, CHD
Tuesday, Sept. 12, 9:30-11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center
Attachments area

Family Homelessness Resource Fair: A Great Success!

What an amazing morning!  45 providers from every sector and every county of Western Massachusetts came together today – housing and shelter providers, domestic violence service providers, mental health and substance use treatment providers, child care, health care and youth providers, veterans services, employment services, secondary and higher education providers and state agencies all under one roof at CHD.  Roughly 200 people attended!  You can get a sense of the crowd in the room from the pictures below. The room teemed with the excitement of people connecting, learning, and building relationships, all in service of our shared goal to support families in their efforts at greater housing stability.

The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive: “This was amazing!” “What a great event!” “I learned so much.”  “Great information.”  And so much more of the same.

Special thanks to CHD (and Jane Banks) for their fiscal sponsorship of the event and provision of space and related supplies.  We could not have done it without them!

Thanks also to our additional planning partners at Way Finders (Janette Vigo) and Community Action of Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin (Janna Tetreault).  And finally thanks to every single Network partner who showed up to share or to learn or (mostly) do both.  It was a fine moment reflecting what this Network is all about: collaboration and coordination towards preventing and ending homelessness.

Congratulations to all!

Check out the coverage on Channel 22 here.

Family Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers: TOMORROW

The Family Homelessness Resource Fair for providers is taking place TOMORROW: Thursday, June 8, 9:30 am – 12 noon, 69 Capital Drive, West Springfield.   

43 providers are attending, bringing information on their services and who to contact if you need them. See the list below.

4 break-out sessions will take place:
10:00 am: How the  EA system works
10:30 am – Domestic Violence Interventions and Services
11:00 am: Veterans Services
11:30 am: Employment Services

Please join us!

Western Massachusetts Family Homelessness Resource Fair
June 8, 2017

Housing, Shelter, Stabilization and Prevention Providers:
Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Berkshire County
Catholic Charities, Hampden County
Center for Human Development, Hampden and Hampshire Counties
Community Action of Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin
Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Franklin County
New England Farm Workers Council, Hampden County
ServiceNet, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties
Springfield Community Partners, Springfield
Springfield Housing Authority, Springfield
Tenancy Preservation Program, 4 Western Counties
Valley Opportunity Council, Holyoke and Chicopee
Way Finders, Hampden and  Hampshire Counties

Domestic Violence Providers:
Elizabeth Freeman House, Berkshire County
Safe Passage, Hampshire County
WomanShelter, Hampden County
YWCA of Western MA, Hampden County

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Providers/Child Care Providers
DIAL/SELF, Franklin and Hampshire Counties
Gandara Center, Hampden County
Safety Zone – Center for Human Development, Hampden and Hampshire Counties
Start at Square One, Hampden County

Career Centers/Workforce Development:
BerkshireWorks, Berkshire County (based in Pittsfield)
CareerPoint, Hampden County (based in Holyoke)
Franklin/Hampshire Career Center, Franklin and Hampshire Counties, North Quabbin (based in Greenfield and Northampton)
FutureWorks, Hampden County (based in Springfield)
Secure Jobs Initiative, Hampden County

Holyoke Public Schools
Holyoke Community College
Springfield Technical Community College

Health Care:
Behavioral Health Network, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin Counties
Clean Slate Centers, 4 Western counties
Eliot  CHS – Homeless Services, 4 Western counties
Springfield Health Services, Springfield
WIC – West Springfield

Center for New Americans – 4 Western Counties

Community Legal Aid, 4 Western Counties
Mass Fair Housing Center, 4 Western Counties
Central West Justice Center, 4 Western Counties

Post-Incarceration Services:
After Incarceration Support Services – Hampden County

Veterans Services
Soldier On, 4 Western Counties
VA Medical Center, 4 Western Counties
Veterans Services, Hampshire County
Veterans Inc, 4 Western Counties
Soldier On, 4 Western Counties