Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
August 7, 2018
In attendance: Melissa Blissett, Square One, Joel Cox, NEFWC, Hillary Cronin, VA, Christine Cullen, Holyoke Chicopee Family Community Program,
Jennifer Gonzalez, Holyoke Public Schools, Jessica Jacobs, TPP, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Theresa Nicholson, CHD, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Shuman, WomanShelter, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter, Janna Tetrault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools
State EA Data Review (click here)
Follow-up questions for DHCD:
- Do the number of applicants listed in Pittsfield and Greenfield include phone applications?
- Can we get families entering shelter excluding transfers?
- Can we get diversion numbers (at the front door)?
- Is there tracking of returns to shelter post end of HomeBASE benefit?
Pamela will follow-up with Andrew and Donna in advance of the next meeting.
FY19 State budget
Family homelessness related highlights include:
- RAFT funded at $20m (including at least $3m for individuals)
- HomeBASE benefit increased from $8,000 to $10,000
- Elimination of family cap (so families are not penalized if they have another child while receiving benefits)
- Youth homelessness was funded at $3.3m – will be used to develop a youth homelessness program in 10 regions across the state – Western MA is counted as 2 regions with Hampden County and Three County.
- Tenancy Preservation Project funded at $1.3m (up from $500,000); the bulk of the increase will go to serve new housing court expansion in other parts of the state
- The Network received its earmark of $125,000. The Steering Committee will be meeting at the end of August to discuss budget planning.
Update on Puerto Rico evacuees
Way Finders is administering the METAR program (MA Evacuee Temporary Assistance Reserve Program) and has hired a team of housing case managers and a program case manager. The program provides up to $8,000 for families and $4,000 for individuals. Thus far they have assessed 109 households (103 are living in hotels) and 22 families have been housed thus far. Way Finders has walk-in hours, Tues.,Wed. and Thurs, 9 am – 1 pm.
Springfield Public Schools has 650 student evacuees.
Holyoke Public Schools has 250 registered student evacuees.
Hampden County CoC Update (from Gerry McCafferty via email):
- Springfield-Hampden CoC is moving into coordinated entry for Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for families. Way Finders and NEFWC have been trained on electronic system, CHD and VOC will be trained soon.
- CoC competition applications due by 8/8/18, 4 pm. The RFP is available: Springfield-Hampden CoC Competition RFP FY18
- CoC has just released RFP looking for local partners to apply for Mass Homeless Youth Program. Note that target population are all youth 18-24, including parenting youth. Responses are due 8/29/18 and the CoC will hold a bidders’ conference on 8/17, 18, 10 am, Springfield Municipal Operations Center, 70 Tapley St. Springfield. Go to: 19-025 Homeless Youth Services and 19-025 Addendum No. 1
DHCD Procurement Meeting Debrief: On July 26, DHCD (Jane Banks and Donna Nadeau) convened a meeting of Western MA EA shelter providers to begin the conversation around the upcoming re-procurement process (not due out until next year). The consensus was that it was a good start; for some newcomers to the system, it was a good way to learn more about our current systems. There was emphasis on the need for greater and more in-depth continuity of service – ensuring families are in the right program model that best meets kids’ and parents’ needs, especially related to mental health. The group discussed the particularly complex challenges facing larger families.
It was noted that this was the first meeting and there will be opportunity for further discussion and planning together. Pamela offered the Network as a resource in facilitating further regional conversations.
Announcement: Holyoke and Chicopee Family and Community Program (662 High Street, Holyoke) is offering a nurturing place program for infants and toddlers – meets weekly on Tuesdays. Call 413-536-0363 for more information.
Meeting schedule: all at Holyoke Public Library
Sept. 18 – 1-2:30 pm
Oct. 9, 1-2:30 pm
Nov. 13, 1-2:30 pm
Dec. 11, 1-2:30 pm