In attendance: Sam Cunningham, Resource Center/Cot Shelter/ServiceNet, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Erin Forbush, Chris Hughes, ServiceNet, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Mike Trembley, Hampshire County Resource Center/ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging
- Kate Shapiro, DMH: at least one Shelter Plus Care voucher is available – Eliot Services is connecting with individuals who are eligible to use it
- Jay Levy, Eliot Services: updated the group on CSO’s new 2-year SAMHSA grant a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic – CCBHC program) that will run out of Northampton, Greenfield and Amherst and provide outreach services to dually diagnosed individuals who are reticent to receive clinical services – an exciting partnership opportunity for housing providers. They are also launching a Living Room model drop-in program (a similar model exists in Springfield through BHN). They are hiring now and hopefully will be up and running within 2 months.
- Coordinated Entry Update: With Nikki Riello’s departure from Hilltown CDC (she was the keeper of the list) and the CoC transition to Community Action, there is not a new update on coordinated entry or the by-name list.
- ServiceNet update: Greenfield and Northampton beds are full. Beds are available in Pittsfield. 2 female beds for PSH (through MHSA contract) (3 bedroom apt; chronicity is not a requirement). Barton’s Crossing also has beds available (within the shelter setting; good for early recovery). Do not need to be chronic.
- SMOC: has 5 openings in Easthampton; also an opening in Chicopee. We agreed that Pamela and Hayley and Mike would be contacting Terry Maxey, director, to gain a better understanding of why these units are not being filled.
Discussion of eligibility flow for Shelter Plus Care vouchers:We discussed at great length the current system challenges of expedient use of shelter plus car vouchers. DMH must establish eligibility for these units, and individuals being assessed for them are linked through ACCS (Adult Community Clinical Services), a ServiceNet program that is funded through DMH. Right now, ACCS does NOT intersect with 3 county’s Coordinated Entry system. It was agreed we need to fix that! Erin will reach out to the ACCS staff person and invite them to this meeting. We also agreed that in order to close the gap between DMH assessment and timely use of an available voucher, the system should move towards assessing eligibility (assuming willing individual, of course) PRIOR to voucher becoming available; that this eligibility info is part of the data tracking in the CE list so as soon as the voucher becomes available, the list can provide quick distribution of it. This requires coordination with ACCS which is our next step in the coordination process.
Point in Time Count Update from January, 2019:
Jay reported a total of 28 unsheltered individuals in the 3 county region:7 in Amherst, 6 in Northampton, 6 in Pittsfield, 3 in Greenfield, 3 in Hadley, 2 in Great Barrington, 1 in Leverett.Shelters were all over-capacity.
Outreach by Julie Federman, Amherst Homelessness Systems:Julie Federman reached out to Pamela to discuss how best to approach the follow-up on “how to run an awesome shelter” so that the response is regionally developed. We agreed to initially use this meeting as the place to start this dialogue. Pamela will invite Julie (and she can invite others; in particular Craig’s Doors) to join us at our next meeting on March 11. We agreed this is an exciting step forward to expand the scope of this important discussion.
We also discussed how “systems work” in the 3 county region must incorporate the THREE different sub-systems within, one for each county, due to the wide geography and variations in population for each area. This geographic expanse brings an additional challenge to the coordination and we recognize the goal is to create the shared best practices that join shelter and re-housing practice across the region.
Racial Equity in Homelessness Training coming up:Pamela reminded all of this 3-part training – March 7, April 25, June 6 – that will launch our region’s process to have racial equity inform Western Mass.’ homelessness response system. Please let Pamela know if you want additional information.
Next meeting date: March 11, 1 pm, ServiceNet, 196 Nonotuck Street, Florence