Family Services Committee Meeting
November 14, 2017

In attendance: Christina Aliengena, NEFWC, Jane Banks, DHCD, Shelley Benoit, BHN, Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Public Schools, Joel Cox, NEFWC, YWCA, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Steve Huntley, VOC, Jill Fijal, Chcopee Public Schools, Holly Florek, CHD, Fran Lemay, Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Stephen Plummer, Springfield Partners for Community Action. Jenni Pothier, TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Lauren Voyer, Way Finders, Melissa White, VOC

Jane Banks, Assistant Undersecretary, DHCD:

We welcomed Jane as our special guest!

Jane provided the following update:

  • DHCD is currently planning meetings with Western MA shelter provides to provide support for housing placement efforts;
  • Planning for the FY19 re-procurement is underway.  A consultant has been retained to support the process. A statewide summit for both individuals and families is being planned for Feb., 2018, as well as regional meetings.  Looking forward to maximizing the input and the innovation around this process.
  • DHCD is working closely in concert with MEMA and FEMA around the relocation of families from Puerto Rico. DHCD has received 174 inquiries thus far and sheltered 4 families. Now with federally declared mandatory evacuations, families will have hotel benefits paid for by FFEMA through Jan. 13.  All providers should direct families to their local Family Resource Centers for information about available resources and support. (note: our school liaisons reported these numbers for new students from PR: Springfield 220; Holyoke 82; Chicopee 26).

More on the procurement process: DHCD is looking at the prospect of a stronger congregate model with larger facilities, 24 hour staffing, more active partnerships across agencies. There will likely be a move away from both scattered sites and co-sheltering. Consider the question: what do you think the shelter system should look like? Consider a vision that includes every relevant partner from schools to CAP agencies to health care providers, etc.

Discussion of Network funding and future: 

Pamela reported on the Network’s funding status.  As a result of the Governor’s veto of Network funding, the Network’s earmark is presumed unfunded. The Network Leadership Council met a couple of weeks ago and decided to use these last 2 months of the calendar year to plan for a new iteration of the Network that did not require staffing.  While the Network’s Interim Steering Committee meets later this month, Pamela will collect feedback from Network committees around if/how they would like to see the Network continue.  This is the first opportunity for that conversation.

The group today expressed a unanimous and strong commitment to continue to the Network; they expressed the critical value of collaboration and coordination to identify and address systemic problems; the importance of offerings such as the Resource Fair and other trainings; the value of a united umbrella for legislative advocacy.  Jane Banks shared the universal recognition of the Network’s strength on a statewide level and the importance of it continuing.

There was discussion about the possibility of a rotating core group that could convene the monthly meetings. There was a clear preference to continue to meet monthly (as opposed to bi-monthly).

We agreed we would continue to meet and plan for Network continuity at next month’s meeting.

Next meeting date:
December 12
1-2:30 pm
184 Mill St Springfield

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