The Network creates collaborative solutions across Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire Counties to prevent and end homelessness through a Housing First approach that makes homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. It provides:
- Coordinated responses to state and federal funding opportunities
- Trainings on current policies and best practices, including a training series on Racial Equity in Ending Homelessness
- Coordinated advocacy on state budget and policy priorities
Annual regional gatherings to review impact and exchange resources
The Network’s Leadership Council (see our members below) provides the broad cross-section of unified support for the Network’s mission. The Steering Committee constitutes a sub-set of the Leadership Council with decision-making authority for the Network. The Network executes its work through a committee structure based largely on populations that experience homelessness:
- Unaccompanied Youth
- Career Services (spanning all populations)
These committees meet regularly, its agenda defined by its participants and in conjunction with the region’s two Continuums of Care (CoC), Springfield-Hampden CoC and Three County (Hampshire, Franklin, Berkshire) CoC, the federal HUD-mandated entities through which federal homelessness dollars are allocated. The Network provides an umbrella for coordination and collaboration across our region’s two CoC’s.
The Network includes participants from every sector of our region: state agencies and organizations providing housing and emergency shelter, mental and physical health care and substance use treatment, higher education, workforce development, early education and child care, domestic violence shelter, public transportation, adult basic education, youth services, and more. From elected officials to state agency leaders to community and business leaders to front-line staff, the Network connects to over 300 people across Western MA and the Commonwealth.