Community Consortium Meeting Minutes
May 23, 2013

In attendance:  Steve Como, Soldier On, Bob Guerino, MassHealth, Nicole Gagne, Community Health Link, Jay Levy, David Modzelewski, Network, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Julianne Siegfried, UMass, David Smelson, UMass, Jennifer Wuest, Behavioral Health Network, Chris Zabik, Department of Mental Health, Heather Zajowski, UMass-Boston


Heather:  Enrollment:  to date 85 individuals in program,  overall 82% have housing;  48 6 month assessments (just over 83% follow-up rate).  Progress to annual goal:  over ½ way there in terms of enrollment.  By end of May, up to 85% of where we want to be.

Data update:    Numbers are similar to last month’s numbers – no significant changes. Re: mental health numbers – shows people at intake and discharge, people show significant decline in mental health problems.  Program demonstrates effectiveness in terms of improving mental health.

Jennifer:  very exciting to see improvement in mental health.  A great positive.

Heather:  drug use over the past 30 days seems to be about the same.

Specific types of drugs:  marijuana use tends to be most predicted by marijuana use in the last 30 days.  Heavier drug use (eg heroin) is not driving marijuana use.

Marijuana use is presumed/analyzed as non-prescription use, as illegal.  UMass will check with project officer re: how to treat this for intake and evaluation purposes.

UMass update:  Expecting a few more 6 month assessments by the end of the year.

Re: impact of sequestration:  bottom line message from SAMHSA:  “for now our grants are ok.”  There is no reason to believe we would not be funded next year.

Thanked our group for their contribution to next CABHI grant – focusing on Boston, Cambridge, Somerville – with state as principal grantee, but our work played a role in this effort and was duly cited.

Dave M and Jerry pray provided  update on sequestration impact re: housing availability:  Section 8 project based program allows for persons who after 1 year have fulfilled obligations as tenant to solicit housing authority for mobile voucher.  Housing authority has put a hold those moves; this means less turnover and some back-up in project based Section 8 units.  It will not affect units that become vacant for other reasons.  They will continue to fill vacancies but will not be able to issue new vouchers.  Hurts us because we rely heavily on turn-over of these units.

David Smelson: Year 3 we are supposed to recruit 45 individuals.  If we think this will be difficult due to housing unit shortage, we should communicate this to SAMHSA.  All confirmed this should be communicated.

Agreed that documenting sequestration effects would be useful.  Grantees will make note of when sequestration is considered a factor in housing availability or other areas and we will check in on this on a regular basis.

Dave M will talk to City of Springfield and Springfield Housing Authority to get data on rate of turnover due to mobile vouchers.  Will be able to compare to future rates.

On CoC level, more emphasis on serving families than individuals; could also impact future vouchers.

Agency updates: 

Behavioral Health Network:  Fully staffed for first time in a while.  Will be able to push through increase in enrollments and services provided; better position to move forward.  Newest clinical case manager comes with extensive experience and a great match for this grant.

Community Health Link:  Hired a peer counselor.  Starting within the next couple of weeks, a veteran and in recovery for the last 20 years.  Great news!  All else is continuing.  A couple more housing slots available in housing program.

Soldier On:  notified by VA that all 35 HUD VASH units have been assigned.  Now on to housing placement.

Network:  Provided HOT tool update.  Shared decision that it is not appropriate to launch tool without the funding necessary to fully populate tool and maintain it.  Will discuss further off-line with David S and Julianne.

Next meeting date:

Monday, 6/17, at 11 am, will be call-in meeting.  Julianne will check on phone number.

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