Category Archives: Training


Opioid crisis in small and rural communities forum – April 11

The Massachusetts Health Policy Forum invites you to save the date:

Join us on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at the UMass Amherst Campus Center for a forum entitled, “Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Small and Rural Communities in Western Massachusetts.”

This forum will focus on the numerous ways in which the opioid crisis has impacted Western Massachusetts, with particular attention paid to the social and economic consequences on employers and small and rural communities. Unique challenges and innovative solutions will be highlighted. A detailed agenda and email invitation will be distributed shortly.

Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Amherst Room (10th Floor), Campus Center, 1 Campus Center Way, Amherst, MA 01003

OrgCode PowerPoint Presentations on Trauma Informed Care and Progressive Engagement/Diversion

On January 31, over 100 Network partners attended trainings offered by OrgCode on Trauma Informed Care and Progressive Engagement/Diversion.

I am pleased to provide their PowerPoint presentations here:

Trauma Informed Care

Progressive Engagement and Diversion

It was a day filled with important learning that we look forward to reviewing through our Network committees and supporting best practice implementation across the region.

Available Space in Diversion Training 1/31, 2 pm, Holyoke

The Network is sponsoring an upcoming training offered by OrgCode, a well-reputed, national training group on ending homelessness, on the issue of Progressive Engagement and Diversion.  

Please see below for the description and for the registration link.  We have a good turn-out of 50 attendees but we reserved a big room (up to 100!) to allow for maximum participation.  So please join us if you can.

Progressive Engagement and Diversion (for all populations)
Thursday, January 31
2 pm – 5 pm
Kittredge Center, Room 301-303
Holyoke Community College

Training Description:
Diversion is often misunderstood as turning people away or saying “no”. That is the wrong mindset. Diversion is about saying “yes” to helping them navigate a safe alternative to shelter that is appropriate to their specific circumstances through an investment of staff time (often dedicated staff) that have specific problem-solving skills and access to flexible resources to put the solution into action.  In this session we will review how Aggressive Engagement should be used when working with persons experiencing homelessness and how Diversion is a critical step in any homelessness response system.  There are nine steps to an effective diversion practice, with each step progressing more deeply into resolving the current housing crisis while concurrently determining if shelter access will be required.

Please register here.

IMPORTANT MEETING on MassHealth’s new program to reduce homelessness – 2/5

Please read below about this important opportunity to learn about MassHealth’s Flexible Service Program, a new resource for people experiencing homelessness. There is a call-in option. 

Flexible Services Informational Meeting Announcement

MassHealth will be hosting an informational meeting on the Flexible Services Program on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM in Boston, MA or via phone. This new program will allow Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) to pay for services within the domains of nutrition and housing supports, including for example:

  • Pre-tenancy (e.g., assisting members with obtaining and completing housing applications; transitional assistance including one-time household set up costs and first/last month’s rent)
  • Tenancy Sustaining (e.g., assisting members with communicating with landlords; obtaining adaptive skills needed to live independently in the community)
  • Home Modifications needed to ensure member’s health and safety (e.g., installation of grab bars and hand showers; doorway modifications; in-home environmental risk assessments)
  • Nutrition (e.g., home-delivered meals for members; assisting members with obtaining nutritional benefits and entitlements such as SNAP and WIC)

The meeting will be geared towards Social Service Organization (SSOs) that may potentially contract with ACOs to provide Flexible Services, although other stakeholders are welcome to attend.  Please share widely within your own network of SSOs.

All are welcome to attend in person or via phone (due to phone option, please send only one representative per organization in person). Please RSVP to the FS Program mailbox (FlexibleServices@MassMail.State.MA.US) to confirm your attendance. If you have any questions about this meeting, please direct them to FlexibleServices@MassMail.State.MA.US.

Meeting Information:

  • Date: Tuesday, 2/5 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM
  • Location: 1 Ashburton Pl, 21st Floor Rm 1, 2 & 3; Boston, MA
  • Conference Line: 1 646 876 9923  Meeting ID: 846 221 583
  • Webinar Link:

Cliff Effects Webinar: Jan. 29

Registration is Open!

The Center for Social Policy, the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition, and On Solid Ground are excited to announce that registration is now open for our upcoming webinar:

Cliff Effects: Turning Research into Action for Economic Mobility

to take place on

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019: 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

The webinar will feature speakers from:

  • Center for Social Policy
  • Learn to Earn
  • Holyoke Community College 
  • Springfield WORKS
  • On Solid Ground

Register now to reserve your spot!

Detailed agenda is forthcoming.

EA and HomeBASE Powerpoint Presentations Available

On December 6, the Western MA Network to End Homelessness hosted a training on the Emergency Assistance shelter system and the HomeBASE program.  Our trainers, Alvina Brevard, Director of Field Operations for the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and Amy Mullen, HomeBASE and RAFT Contract Compliance Coordinator, led a group of over 70 Network partners in a morning of learning.  They produced two excellent PowerPoint presentations that provide a comprehensive overview of the programs: Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE and have generously volunteered them to our larger blog audience.

A huge thanks to Alvina and Amy for such an excellent training and thanks to our Network partners for their commitment to help families avoid and end homelessness.

Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers: PowerPoint Presentation

Last Thursday, October 4, the Network hosted a training on Overcoming Tenant Screening Barriers at Holyoke Community College. Over 60 people attended from across the 4 Western Counties.  Attorney Jane Edmonstone from Community Legal Aid offered an excellent training, which included this PowerPoint Presentation. I wanted to offer it to you all!

Attorney Edmonstone is happy to offer similar community based organizations to your own organization or a group of organizations on this topic. Feel free to contact her at with an inquiry of this nature.  To make an inquiry about an individual case, please go to this page on CLA’s website to find out the process.

Finally, Esther Darko, an attorney with Central-West Justice (a sister organization of CLA), also offered her assistance, especially in situations where housing applicants are suffering barriers as a result of being a victim of a crime (e.g., sexual assault or domestic violence).  You can reach her at or 413-727-7102.

Thanks to our partners in the legal community for their great work!