Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes – October 27, 2017
- the Network veteran meetings are very valuable for ensuring communication up and down the 91 corridor and for providing opportunities for innovative collaboration (e.g., the implementation of new systems to identify veterans in Hampden County Corrections flowed from these meetings). Everyone in attendance felt very committed to continuing to meet (and attributed this meeting’s low attendance to known conflicts, noting high level of attendance in preceding meetings)
- Meeting every 2 months, alternating between Springfield and Northampton would be sufficient to accomplish their goals
- Rotating the coordination of scheduling and reminder notice/agenda creation could be accomplished by committee members
- At our next meeting we will discuss assigning “volunteer” facilitation roles and schedule meetings for 2018
- Pamela will relay this discussion to the Network’s interim steering Committee which is meeting on Nov. 20 to discuss next steps for Network planning.
- Confirmed next meeting date (previously scheduled) for Friday, Dec. 1, 9:15 am, MHA
In attendance: Dan Boyea, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, Keegan Hersey, Veterans Inc., Sue Moorman, VA, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Nikki Riello, Hilltown CDC, Denise Rivera, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, HUD VASH, Stephanie Tonelli, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Sabrina Willard, Soldier On
- Soldier On’s dedication of its new veteran housing (Gordon H. Mansfield Veteran Housing) in Agawam will take place on September 18, 1 pm, 702 South Westfield Street, Feeding Hills. 51 units of veteran housing, move-in date slated for end of Sept.
- Stand Down is happening on Friday, 9/29 – Greek Cultural Center, 16 Plainfield St. Springfield
- Northampton Housing Authority now has a trickle of HUD VASH vouchers again (formerly all used for Agawam housing but that need has no been met so acquiring vouchers through attrition, etc.).
- VASH corrections: does not require active duty; can have dishonorable discharge if have a service connection; do not have to be disabled; only real bar is level 3 sex offender (life-time registry)
- For Veterans Inc: disqualified if dishonorably discharged (unless service connected)
- Explain acronyms (e.g., VISPDAT and everything else) – not user friendly to a typical case manager
- Refers to entering into Homelink – presuming that is obsolete as system is about to change?
- Add to VSO section: to find VSO’s from other communities go to http://www.mass.gov/veterans/u
tility/local-veterans-service- officers-3.html or more general info page – http://www.mass.gov/veterans / – which leads you to VSO listing
Nikki Riello reported from the 3 County CoC; she was recently hired by the 3 County CoC to manage the veterans chronic homelessness by-name lists. She was referred to this meeting by the Jim Clark, the Pittsfield VSO. She is happy to learn of the Network and the work going on with the Hampden County CoC. Pamela will connect her with Gerry and referred her to their regular by-name list meetings to exchange information and approaches.
- Elimination of Network earmark – $0 funding
- Elimination of Berkshire Regional Housing Authority
- Elimination of youth housing and services funding (serves 18-24 year olds)
- Elimination of RAFT eligibility expansion (reducing RAFT from $15m to $13m) that would have made RAFT available to individuals
- Elimination of New Lease program funding
- Reduction in Housing Consumer Education funding
- Reduction in Tenancy Preservation Program funding expansion that would have provided for “further upstream” eviction prevention