Category Archives: Network

image_pdfimage_print

150 Leaders Gathered to Combat Homelessness in Western Massachusetts

Over 150 leaders from across the four Western Massachusetts counties came together today to combat homelessness in the region and to learn from a newly released report by the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness.

In a packed room at GreenfieldCommunity College, a dozen state legislators, including the five just elected from the Upper Pioneer Valley, two sheriffs, 7 mayors, 2 town administrators, 8housing authorities, state agency leaders, every community college, career center and major hospital in each county, and over 100 others across every sector showed up to find out what it will take to prevent and end homelessness inWestern Massachusetts.

“Today our region made an extraordinary demonstration of its commitment to end homelessness,” said Pamela Schwartz, Director of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. “And today our Network shared some vital tools that will bring us all closer to making thatgoal a reality.”

The report found that since 2012 in Western Massachusetts:

  • Chronic homelessness declined 38 per cent
  • Veteran homelessness declined 24 per cent
  • Family homelessness remained level

Read more in the report here. 

Today was a big step forward to help us do even better tomorrow. See here for “What you can do next.”

Registration OPEN for Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers – June 14

Above all, go to this Registration Form.

Then read more and click on this flyer for printing and distribution!

The 2nd Annual Western Massachusetts Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers

Thursday, June 14
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
(9 am for checking in and refreshments)
Kittredge Center, Rooms 301-302
Holyoke Community College

Come learn, share and exchange information and resources among providers working to prevent and end homelessness across all four counties of Western Massachusetts.

In addition to tables staffed by provider agencies, brief workshops will be offered by experts with information and referral resources related to:

  • Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE programs for families
  • chronically homeless individuals
  • veterans
  • unaccompanied homeless youth
  • domestic violence victims
  • career services
  • opioid crisis and homelessness
  • overcoming tenant screening barriers

Please go to this Registration Form  to register to attend and/or to request agency space at a fair table.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Pamela Schwartz, Director

Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness

413-219-5658

http://westernmasshousingfirst.org

NEW Network Individual and Veterans Services Meeting Structure

Following the Network evaluation process of the last few months, the Network, in collaboration with the Hampden County and Three County CoC’s, has decided to merge its Individual Services and Veterans Committee meetings with the ongoing CoC meetings in each sub-region. As a result, the next meetings will be as follows:

Individual Services

Hampden County
Tuesday, March 27
1:00 – 1:30 pm (the first part of the by-name list meeting that will end at 2:30 pm)
Friends of the Homeless
755 Worthington Street, Springfield
Three County
Monday, April 9
2:00 – 2:30 pm (the last part of the REACH meeting that starts at 1 pm)
DMH/Haskell Building, 2nd floor conference room
1 Prince Street (Village Hill Drive), Northampton
 
The Network agenda will include items such as state budget and policy updates, emergency shelter needs and other regional issues that arise.
Veterans Services
With input from the Three County CoC and Hampden County CoC Veterans by-name list meetings, it was decided that the goal of regional exchange could be most efficiently accomplished by adding Network business to the monthly Hampden County CoC Veterans meeting.  There is already overlap between the two CoCs at this meeting so Three County CoC decided it was sufficient to have this Network addition to just the Hampden County meeting (as opposed to the 3 County veterans meeting as well).
This meeting will take place on the first Wednesday of the month, from 2:00-2:30 pm, with the remainder of the by-name list meeting to follow from 2:30-3:30 pm.
The Committee will meet next on:
Wednesday, April 4
2:00 – 2:30 pm
Friends of the Homeless
755 Worthington Street, Springfield
 
The Network agenda will include items such as state budget and policy updates, Statewide Veterans Commission updates, and other regional items.
Network partners also understand this more limited meeting time suggests that special meetings will be called when there are specific topics to address. Above all, this Network collaboration is continually an evolving process that will be adapted based on what best serves the goal of productive work towards  ending homelessness in Western Massachusetts.

Art and History on SRO Housing: Friday, 3/9, Northampton

Single Room Occupancy: 
Portraits and Stories from Northampton Lodging 1976 – 2016

Opening Reception | Friday, March 9th 5-8PM
Arts Night Out

Historic Northampton
46 Bridge Street
Northampton, MA

Northampton Lodging occupied an awkward place in town. Positioned just past Hampton Court, it marked the transition from the brightly lit storefronts, galleries, and restaurants of Main and upper Pleasant Streets to the less pedestrian friendly stretch of road that connects the city to the highway.

Initially constructed in 1967 as a dormitory for the now-defunct Northampton Commercial College, in recent decades, the property offered 58 single-room rentals with common kitchens and baths.

In the fall of 2016, the building was demolished and the newly constructed, yellow brick, Live 155 has risen in its place.

For the past two years, Cassandra Holden has been interviewing former residents of the Lodging and members of the community about what it was like to live in and/or interact with that place. The stories of camaraderie and mutual support stand in stark contrast to those found in the police blotter.

Photographer Paul Shoul got to know many of the former residents and captured thoughtful portraits of them just before they were relocated.

The exhibition, which will run from March 9th – June 10th, traces the waning years of boarding house living in Northampton and raises questions about how we enfold those at the edges of our community.

This project was made possible with the generous support of Way FindersNorthampton Arts Council, and Historic Northampton.

Network Request for Consultant Bids – Responses Due 12/15/17

The Network has issued this Request for Bids to provide the Network assistance in evaluating and determining its path forward as it continues to provide the collaborative vehicle for preventing and ending homelessness in the Western MA region. Please click here to learn more.  Deadline is 12/15/17.

Please contact Pamela Schwartz, Network Coordinator, at pschwartz77@gmail.com with any questions.

Our own Jane Banks off to DHCD Leadership!

Jane Banks, a leader at Center for Human Development for over 20 years and a stalwart partner to the Network, will be joining DHCD as the new Assistant Undersecretary for the Division of Housing Stabilization (replacing Rose Evans). While her leaving CHD is such a loss for our immediate community, it is fair to say we – and the Commonwealth – have so much to gain with her in this new position.  Please see DHCD’s formal announcement below.

The Network’s Family Services Committee will have an opportunity to relay our thanks and best wishes at its meeting tomorrow.  For others who would like to send thanks and congratulations directly, please contact Jane at jbanks@chd.org.

Congratulations, Jane!

 

DHCD Announcement:

Dear Providers:

I am excited to formally announce that Jane Banks will be joining the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as the new Assistant Undersecretary for the Division of Housing Stabilization.  Jane is coming to us from the Center for Human Development in Springfield where she worked for nearly twenty years.  While there she held leadership roles with oversight of an array of multi-services programs serving families, children and individuals. She has managed a number of programs including: one of the Commonwealths largest EA shelter programs with shelter capacity of 297 families within their portfolio, HUD funded Supportive Housing Programs, Community Housing Supportive Program for families and individuals in Northampton, a Single Room Occupancy Program, and an very successful EA diversion program.

We are excited to be able to draw on Jane’s extensive experience in management and supervision, program development as well as her deep understanding of housing and homelessness, ranging from emergency shelters to permanent supportive housing

I know you will be as thrilled as I am that Jane has accepted the Assistant Undersecretary position.  She will be transitioning into her new role on July 31st.

Please anticipate that Jane will be reaching out to you all, once she arrives at DHCD.

Ita Mullarkey

Associate Director

Division of Housing Stabilization

 

Important Correction: Network Funding Cut

An announcement from the Western MA Network to End Homelessness Leadership Council Chair Andrew Morehouse:

I am writing to inform you that much to our surprise, the Network’s earmark funding for Fiscal Year 2017 was actually cut through the Governor’s 9C budget authority.

This cut had not been recorded in any public documentation, which was the source of the Network’s misunderstanding. After sharing the “false positive” news on this blog last week, we received a call from DHCD advising us of the administrative error. We have since received more verbal confirmation and still await written record of the actual correction. Our big mistake!

The Network Steering Committee and Leadership Council will start planning for this funding loss now.  Based on an analysis of expenditures, revenues to date and cash in reserves, the Network has funds to cover projected expenses for approximately three more months, which would bring us to the end of February.

While we may not know the final chapter on this year’s funding, the Network will plan accordingly.

We will be in touch as this process unfolds.

Best,

Andrew Morehouse
Executive Director
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
97 North Hatfield Road
PO Box 160
Hatfield, MA  01038
413-247-9738  Ext. #115
www.foodbankwma.org