Category Archives: Training


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!

Cliff Effects Conference – November 28

Save the date from the Commonwealth Workforce Coalition:

We are pleased to announce our event on Cliff Effects: Progress and Possibilities to be held on November 28th at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Worcester from 9:30 – 3:30.

Learn about the latest initiatives and policy efforts to address cliff effects, and engage in peer learning to develop solutions.

Stay tuned for more details and registration information coming soon!

Basic Mediation Training – 6/8-6/23

From Community Action of Pioneer Valley (click here for the flyer)

June 8-23, 2018:  Basic Mediation Training

Offered by The Mediation & Training Collaborative, a program of Community Action Pioneer Valley, in collaboration with Holyoke Community College

  • 40 hour training for anyone interested in learning simple steps for dealing with fights or disagreements effectively, and gaining skills and confidence in handling, and helping others manage, challenging situations.
  • Interactive training includes practice with basic mediation steps and skills, experienced coach and trainer feedback with role-plays, and lively discussion sessions.
  • Court- and bar-approved mediation program. MA TAFL CLEs (or VT CLEs) generally available.
  • Five full-day sessions (June 8, 9, 15, 16 and 23, 2018, 8:30 to 5:30 each day). Held in Holyoke, MA (details with registration).
  • $840 fee. Flexible payment arrangements and general scholarship support may be available, and we have special scholarship support for a few bilingual (Spanish/English) individuals interested in contributing to a pilot Training Development project. Please inquire for details.
  • For more details, contact TMTC (413-475-1505,, or see our website:

Job Fairs; Resources for PR Evacuees

At our Career Services Committee meeting yesterday, the following job fair, resources and training information was provided and I wanted to make sure you were all aware:

MGM/STCC English Language training for PR evacuees: Info sessions on May 9, 10 and 11. Trainings from May 15 to May 31. For more information, click here for the English language flyer; and click here for the Spanish language flyer.

Martin Brower Job Fair: Wed., May 16, 1 pm – 3 pm, CareerPoint, 850 High Street, Holyoke. Available Jobs: associate drivers, yard jockeys; fueler/trailer washers; warehouse associates; diesel mechanic A; class A drivers

CareerPoint Job Fair: Thursday, May 31, 10 am – 12 pm, CareerPoint, 850 High Street, Holyoke. MasterCorp is recruiting for housekeeping and houseman positions for Oak n Spruce Resort and Jiminy Peak Resort.  Master Corp is Spanish speaking friendly, seeking qualified candidates with a concentration on evacuees from Puerto Rico. Each resort will provide transportation to and from the resort for employees.  For more information or transportation needs, please contact: Frank Martinez at  or Robert Wojcik at

FutureWorks Job Fair: Monday, June 4, 4 pm – 7 pm, Basketball Hall of Fame. Check the website at the week before to see the list of employers attending and types of positions available.  

National Emergency Grant for Evacuees is a resource offered through each Career Center in the region which includes employment support (job development, placement, ESOL) for people from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands who were evacuated due to the hurricane. 

CareerPoint offers sessions every Wed. at 1 pm – contact Frank Martinez at with questions

FutureWorks: Contact Maria Adorno, 413-858-2856, or Richard Berrena at 413-858-2885,

Franklin Hampshire Career Center: Contact Lisa Lapierre at, 413-774-4361 x 332.

BerkshireWorks: Contact Pamela Wojrkowski at, 413-499-2220 x183.

If you haven’t already, please be sure to register the Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers on Thurs., June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, by going to Registration Form.