Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes
July 5, 2012

In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire Sheriff’s Office and DOC Reentry Services, Karen Dean, Hampden County Sheriff Dept., Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet,  Gena Dube, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Dean Lagrottera, Highland Valley, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless services, Dave Modzelewski, network housing coordinator, Claudia Phillips, Mercy Medical Center/Health Care for the Homeless, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Wanda Rolon, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Reikka Simula Gooden, Housing for All/Peer Solutions & Support, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network, Laura Waskiewicz, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Rebecca Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Kurt Zellen, Veterans Administration Medical Center

Budget update:  Reviewed Conference Committee recommendations per CHAPA’s summary.  See for details.

Network funding update:  The Network did not receive state funding.  However, the Network currently has funding secured through December, 2012, and other funding possibilities pending.  The Steering Committee is working on a resource development plan and Pamela will keep Network committee members posted.

CoC update:  The City of Northampton has decided to terminate its coordination of the Three County CoC.  Berkshire CoC also in transition.  Hampden County programs within the Three County CoC will become part of the Springfield CoC.  A few organizations have expressed interested in coordinating the Three County/Berkshire CoCs and the City of Northampton will be facilitating a meeting within the month with these organizations to discuss options and the decision-making process.

Shelter update:

Craig’s Place (Amherst):  closed now for season.  Working on increasing capacity by 8 beds.  Seeking to have a separate room for women.

Upon closing in April:  placed about 30 people in housing or another shelter (Samaratin Inn or Turners Falls).  Another 20-30 found jobs but not high enough pay to be able to rent a place.  Some couch surfing or living in car or outside.  Seeing a few more people around Amherst as a consequence of shelter closing.

Grove Street:  status quo.  Full as always.  Wait list is anywhere from 3 days to 2 months, but prioritization depends on state of situation (e.g., living with relative vs. living on street).  Hasn’t seen rise due to heat.  Capacity is 21 total, men and women.  6 female beds, 13 male beds, 2 handicapped accessible, but able to switch a room from male to female depending on demand.  Average stay: 70-90 days.  Right now, all first-time shelter residents.

Drop-In Center:  In temporary location (cot shelter) until October 15th  when they must relocate to prepare for new shelter season.  In conversation with First Churches for use of their basement space.  Will know by 7/19 whether this situation will work.

SMOCBowdoin Street – new facility – SRO – 13 beds – women only – 8 of them promised to MissionWest (SAMHSA program) – supportive services attached to the house with expectation that people will be involved in recovery.  $85/week.

Referrals for housing can go through SMOC  – Ann Marie Vivenzio is contact – or through REACH, Dave Modzelewski, who is no longer working with MHA but is working as consultant for Network and be reached at [email protected]. Open Door contact – Ann Marie Vivenzio who can be reached at [email protected].  Will reach out to her to invite her to meeting.

Friends of the Homeless (via email update from Bill Miller): FOH is seeing high numbers this summer. Averaging about 150 per night right now which is as high as we were in January.

We are pleased that the legislature has passed an amendment requiring that no shelter receive less than $25 per contracted bed per night. This provides an increase to about a dozen or more programs across the state including Westfield, FOH, as well as a substantial increase for the Boston city shelters. The state average rate is $30 so we will go back next year but in these contentious times, this increase was a nice victory for services, most of whom had seen no increases in a decade or more.

Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories:  Attending MHSA meeting on 7/9 to present on our group’s work.  Will attend with Laurie Guidry and Joe Critelli.  A great opportunity to share our progress.  Also meeting with Steve Donato at HAP on 8/1 to discuss HAP’s tenant policies with regard to sex offenders.

Housing authority collaboration update:  Successful second meeting on 6/18.  Over 40 attended, including solid representation from housing authorities across the region. Biggest take-away:  need to building stronger partnerships between housing authorities and support services so tenancies can be preserved.  Housing authorities flagged concern around cost of evictions, from court costs to lost rent and apartment repair.  Click here for more details.  Pamela will meet with smaller group to brainstorm next steps and will report back.

Farewell and thanks to Laura Waskiewicz of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department.  She is retiring this summer.  We are grateful to all of her work and wish her well!

Next meeting date:  Thursday, September 27, 9:30-11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center.  Pamela will be in touch with work group updates in the interim.

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