Three County Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 12/9/19

Three County Individual Services Meeting Minutes – 12/9/19
In attendance: Carlyn Arnell, Eliot Services, Diana Canales, CHD, Steve Connor, Veteran Services, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Andy Klatka, Eliot Services, Michele LaFleur, CAPV/CoC, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Brooke Murphy, CAPV/CoC, Kevin Noonan, Craig’s Doors, Keleigh Pereira, CAPV/CoC, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Susan White, LifePath, Chris Zabik, DMH

Decisions around regular report-outs each month: We discussed and agreed on the following standing report-outs for our monthly meetings:

  • Coordinated entry
  • Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) unit availability
  • Shelter plus care voucher availability
  • Shelter updates 

Coordinated Entry:

  • 27 new people entered the by-name list in November (not all chronically homeless)
  • 0 housing placements in November
  • Placements will be happening in December as new PSH units become available 
  • Not yet accounting for how many people removed from the list for no contact until the list itself is sufficiently reviewed
  • 313 people in total on list right now

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) update:

  • CHD reported that the first 4 units in Millers Falls should be available imminently. Aiming for 12/20 for another 8 units and for 1/2 for another 7, although based on construction progress this is likely to be pushed back.
  • Also a unit is available in Barton’s Cove in Pittsfield.

Shelter Plus Care update:Either one or two vouchers are currently available (it is only one if Franklin County takes the other – currently unclear). Good news: 2 people graduated from shelter plus care into permanent housing. Note reminder that to be eligible for shelter plus care, the individual must be on the by-names list AND be receiving DMH services. 

Emergency shelter update: We reviewed the monthly reporting template and provided feedback, particularly around capturing consequences of extreme cold.  Michele and Pamela will follow-up with revised template. 

  • Northampton Cot Shelter: 49 unique individuals in November, at capacity
  • Craig’s Doors: 50 unique individuals in November 
  • Pittsfield seasonal shelter: 36 unique individuals in November, a few nights at capacity but more frequently in 12-15 range (more than typical Novembers). Year round shelter is at capacity with a wait list of 30.
  • Greenfield Warming Center: notably low census, from 0-5 people.  Discussed using it as overflow for when Northampton and Amherst are full – need to address transportation challenge.  Contact Wells St shelter in Greenfield to confirm openings.  Warming center located at 72 Chapman Street, Greenfield. 

We also discussed reaching out to Afiya and crisis/respite services to include them in our monthly meetings (they are frequently used as a critical resource for shelter guests in crisis).  Kate will reach out to invite them.

Request for input on individual shelter system from DHCD:As part of DHCD’s preparation for the potential additional funding in the individual shelter system (and determining whether to re-procure the system), DHCD is seeking written input following its listening sessions.  Comments are due on January 8.  Pamela sent out DHCD questions on a separate email but please contact her if you want her to resend or contact directly Adam Schaffer, the DHCD liaison on this effort, at adam.schaffer@state.ma.us.

Section 811 Mainstream vouchers update: Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton and Franklin Region all received mainstream vouchers to house non-elderly people with disabilities.  They have all agreed to use Coordinated Entry as the process for allocating the vouchers.  This requires some wait list rule changes for the housing authorities which is more complicated than anticipated.  Housing authorities are anticipating getting the vouchers out by April or May.  Meanwhile, provider meetings are being scheduled to plan for the support services that will be provided.  Brooke is working on compiling a list of available support services by each agency to help housing authorities find quick and reliable support.  We also discussed the funding gap for first, last and security deposit.  We will continue to brainstorm around that. 

Legislative Update
Sam provided an update on the work of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center’s campaign to pass a state law that would allow drivers licenses for all.  This would address the critical need for a license facing many clients who are immigrants. Sam requested organizations to consider signing on in support of this campaign. Please go here for more information on the campaign and to sign on.

Announcements:

  • Susan White of Life Path announced that there can frequently be units available at Winslow Wentworth House in Turners Falls.  Please be sure to contact her if working with an elderly (over 60) or disabled person.  swhite@lifepathma.org
  • 413Cares is a new online resource database.  Make sure your organization is on there and you “claim” it so it’s properly listed.  See attachment for more information.
  • Census funding available!  MA is offering up to $250,000 in grants to support census work.  Applications due 12/20.  Go here for more info: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/census2020/grant-program.html 
  • Elder homelessness community conversation: Friday, Jan. 17, 1-4 pm, Northampton Senior Center

Next meeting date: Monday, January 13, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, ServiceNet, 21 Olander Drive, Northampton.