Category Archives: SAMHSA Mission West Community Consortium

Mission West Final Report Issued (SAMHSA project for chronically homeless individuals)

Three years ago, the Western/Central region received a 3 year, 1.5. million grant (administered by UMass Medical School) to provide clinical support services to 120 chronically homeless individuals suffering from mental health and substance issue issues.  UMass issued its final data presentation at our closing meeting yesterday, which you can find here.  We are proud to report that 92% of program participants were housed over the course of the project, with an 88% retention rate.  Thanks to the program partners Behavioral Health Network, Soldier On, and Community Health Link (Worcester) and the housing partners Mental Health Association, Springfield Housing Authority, Friends of the Homeless and SMOC and the agency partners Eliot CHS-Homeless Services and the MA Department of Mental Health among others for making this success possible.

This initiative also made possible the Housing Options Tool, created by Andrea Miller, which provides the virtual capacity to learn about housing opportunities for chronically homeless individuals and make the best match possible for success.  We look forward to continuing to develop and adapt this tool for maximum use across the region.

Congratulations to everyone involved for a great partnership with great outcomes.

Community Consortium – SAMHSA – Minutes – 11/17/14

Community Consortium Meeting
November 17, 2014

In attendance: Brian Bickford, Community Health Link, Nate Guevremont, UMass, David Modzelewski, Network, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Chris Zabik, DMH, Heather Zayjowski, UMass

Evaluation Update (Heather):
Click here for evaluation data. Overview: not many changes in numbers since enrollment completed and now just finishing up surveys for those enrolled (collecting data until the end of the grant extension in Feb. 2015). A poster on the project was produced and presented at the American Public Health Association conference this week.   The poster highlights two features: changes in mental health and substance abuse and housing status. In general, findings demonstrate a decline in mental health problems, and a huge leap from homelessness to permanently housed, the ultimate measure of success.

MA DPH received CABHI grant but for Eastern Mass. Neither BHN or ServiceNet were funded. Only Eastern MA received funding. They should receive feedback.

Funding ends in February. Will continue to collect data, will finish up the services. After February, UMass will provide an end of services report.

We agreed our Western Mass group should convene to do our own informal evaluation, specifically around how successfully individuals have been connected to services post SAMHSA grant.

UMass updates (Nate):

Got a new project officer from SAMHSA. Will be planning our next steering committee meeting. David and Leon at APHA conference. Will send poster and Pamela will put on blog.

CHL (Brian):

Working on transitions of Year 3 folks. People are doing pretty well. Still have one person really struggling and just recently moved her into her own apartment.

Network (Pamela and Dave):

Pamela reported that conversations are underway with our region’s CoC’s about how to continue the work of the Housing Options Tool (currently out of funding) and if/how to integrate it into the work of the Hampden County CoC’s Zero 2016 campaign (which also offers housing tracking tools).

Dave reported that the coordinated intake and assessment tool, the VI-SPDAT, is slowly being implemented across the region under the guidance of the CoC’s.

Pamela and Dave noted that with the end of this grant, funding for the REACH meetings is no longer available.  Pamela will follow-up with the Western region group to brainstorm how to close the gap.

BHN (Jennifer, via email): No new information.

Next meeting:  Monday, January 12, 11 am, same number

SAMHSA Mission West Community Consortium Meeting Minutes – 9/29/14

Community Consortium Meeting Minutes
September 29, 2014

In attendance: Brian Bickford, Community Health Link, Nathan Guevremont, UMass, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network, Chris Zabik, DMH, Heather Zaykowski, UMass Boston

Evaluation Update (Heather):
Please click here for the latest evaluation report.  We are now closing out Year 3 (September 30). We are meeting our goals for follow-up with 90% of clients housed. A few new people enrolled at Soldier On. Heather compiled data for David Smelson for presentation to funders, which Nate will pass on to us FYI. With the approval for a no-cost extension, we have additional time to provide services. A final report is due 90 days after the end of the grant, so final evaluation will come with the end of the extension.

UMass Update (Nate):
Confirmed no-cost extension until end of February. This is for the continuation of services, not new enrollments. This time period will enable providers to have better and more thorough closure with clients.

Behavioral Health Network (Jennnifer):
Winding down. Working with 14 active clients, about 4-5 discharges will occur within the next week, reducing the client load significantly. The team is feeling positive about successes. Still no word about funding for Mission West 2.

Community Health Link (Brian):
Also winding down with 10 active clients. Transitioning them off of services. Almost all are going smoothly. A few challenges.

Network (Pamela and Dave):
Pamela reported on the Housing Option Tool (HOT), a major by-product of this grant; that it is a tool in the regional implementation of the coordinated intake and assessment process to ensure “best fits” for housing options for homeless individuals. Integration of this tool for housing providers is underway. Dave reported on his interview by UMass staff re: broader perspectives on this project. He also announced the region’s Housing First conference – to learn latest best practices and more – on October 16 at Holyoke Community College. You can register at

We agreed we would meet again in November. Pamela will poll the group for best meeting dates and times.






Community Consortium (SAMHSA) Meeting Minutes – 7/15/13

Community Consortium Meeting Minutes
July 15, 2013

In attendance:  Bob Guerino, MassHealth, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Julianne Siegfried, UMass, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network, Heather Zaykowski, UMass-Boston

Note: regrets from Steve Como of Soldier On and Nicole Gagne of Community Health Link, unable to make it due to vacation and other conflicts.

Evaluation Update:  80% to annual goal.  More than 90% follow-up rate for 6 months.  Above 80% housed.  Reduction in alcohol use.  Mixed results around drug use.  Looking at 6 months to discharge, seeing some declines in substance abuse and significant declines in mental health problems.

UMass update:  Sent new version of manual to editor.  Trained the CHL peer.

Behavioral Health Network:  just enrolled two new people on Friday.  Great to be fully staffed.  Shared challenge of provider transition for clients, the disruption that causes.  Jennifer has a relationship with one client with whom it is difficult to arrange meetings (due to organizational issues), including the discharge assessment.  She has worked with him from the start and is concerned about the loss of consistency in provider support.  He is currently still housed, which is excellent, and  she and others are continuing efforts to get ongoing support through VNA and the VA.  Homeless outreach team (Eliot Services) is most stable provider.  Also, particular housing provider – Valley CDC – has been especially supportive in this instance.  Will continue to facilitate support during this transition.  More generally, this transition issue is one that exists across the program and will continue to need attention to enlist as much support as possible to ensure smooth transitions.

Network:  no new updates.

Next meeting, 9/23, 11 am  Will move to conference call meetings and use bi-annual Steering Committee for our in-person check-in.