3 County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 9/23/19

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Michele LaFleur, Three County CoC, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Luis Martinez, CHD, Katie Miernecki, Earl Miller, DMH, ServiceNet, Brooke Murphy, 3 County CoC, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Keleigh Pereira, Community Action/CoC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, Network, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Chris Zabik, DMH

Three County CoC Update:
The CoC convened its annual meeting on 9/20, confirming its Board and committee structure. CoC staff is now in place, including Brooke Murphy who will work on coordinated entry and other support, and Michele LaFleur, who will provide data support and analysis. HUD’s NOFA (the application for all homelessness program funding) will be finalized and submitted in the next few days – congratulations to Keleigh and the entire CoC!

The CoC was awarded $1.9 million in HUD funding for its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) for Franklin County. This is a monumental achievement towards the effort of preventing and ending youth homelessness in Franklin County (and eventually the other 2 counties; Franklin County was the focus this time because they applied under the “rural” category and Franklin is the most rural and offered the greatest shot at winning the funding). Congratulations to all! The funding process begins with plan development over the next 4 months, working with the leadership of young people through the Youth Action Board. That plan is due at the end of December and then feedback with HUD is slated for the next 4 months with funding for programs aiming to start by next April.

Housing Authorities apply for Mainstream Vouchers: HUD made available a new round of “mainstream vouchers” (Section 811) for non-elderly disabled individuals (a critical resource for chronically homeless individuals). With CoC and municipal support, housing authorities in Northampton, Greenfield, Amherst, and Franklin Regional all applied. If funded, this will mean 45 new vouchers for the region, which will be a huge advance for the region’s affordable housing supply.

Coordinated Entry: meetings are ongoing; right now the assessment tool is available on the CoC page on Community Action’s website although a CoC only website is in formation (due to HUD requirements).

CHD update on Permanent Supportive Housing units: Units are coming on line and being filled in Greenfield, Millers Falls and Pittsfield.

Dial/SELF also has openings for it transitional and permanent housing program – 10 CoC-funded beds in total. Available to 18-24 year olds.

Shelter plus care vouchers are tentatively taken but due to tenuous situations, always open to referrals.

Elder homelessness training discussion: A sub-committee met to plan this training. Agreed on 3 parts, including prevention, re-housing and a possible pilot program to address specific needs facing elders experiencing homelessness. Earl Miller, Director of Recovery for DMH, suggested using DMH’s structure of community events to host this discussion (regular convenings across the region of 60-100 people). The group enthusiastically agreed this was a great idea. Earl will follow-up with the sub-committee.

Craig’s Doors: Jay Levy is on the Board (thank you, Jay!) and reported that interviews are underway to hire new staff. It is unclear when exactly the shelter will reopen but presumably sometime in November. This is great news.

Franklin County Regional Network is hosting a legislative breakfast for the entire community on October 18. Pamela will forward the invitation.

Next meeting dates:

Monday, November 18
1 pm – 2 pm
DMH Haskell Building, 2nd floor large conference room

Monday, December 9
1 pm – 2 pm
ServiceNet
21 Olander Drive, Board Room, Northampton