Note:The Network’s 3rd Annual Housing/Homelessness Resource Fair for Providers – Monday, June 10, 9 am – 12:30 pm, Holyoke Community College:
To register to attend: go here.
To register to request table space to share resources: go here

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Sara Cummings, Community Action, Eleanor Dodson, ServiceNet, Julie Federman, Town of Amherst, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Andy Klatka, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Jade Lovett, Craig’s Doors, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Theresa Nicholson, Center for Human Development, Aidan Novo, Craig’s Doors, Brendan Plante, Eliot Services, Mena Regan, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Shapiro, DMH, Michael Trembley, ServiceNet, Hayley Wood, Easthampton Council on Aging, Josh Wren, ServiceNet

Coordinated Entry update: currently on hold as the transition between CoCs has created some complications. Community Action is working on it and will keep us all posted.

Shelter Plus Care beds: we learned more as a group from both DMH and ServiceNet about how these beds are allocated. They are funded with CoC dollars through ServiceNet. Eligibility for the housing subsidy requires DMH eligibility (for support services). The challenge can happen in the process of obtaining DMH eligibility. This is a statewide issue, not unique to the 3 county region. Right now there are possibly 2 shelter plus care vouchers available which are not being utilized b/c of the gap in DMH eligibility. We agreed we would discuss this more as a sub-group. Pamela will reach out to Erin Forbush, Jay Levy, Theresa Nicholson Elizabeth Bienz, Chris Zabik, Kate Shaprio and Dan Bustler (sp?) to participate in this meeting.

SMOC housing units in Easthampton: We followed up after the last meeting regarding vacancies in these units. Various partners reached out and Pamela received an update prior to this meeting from SMOC that reported significant progress in filling the vacancies. There are currently 5 units out of total 11 that are still available and receiving applications. We agreed to stay in touch on this and hope for quick filling of vacancies.

Racial Equity in Ending Homelessness training: Pamela reported out on the first of a 3 part training that took place on March 7. About 100 Network partners participated. The trainer, Marc Dones, was extremely well-received and the feedback has been excellent. The presentation can be found by going to this link.

There are 2 other sessions in April and June and Pamela reported the Network’s commitment to continue this work for the duration of the Network. The next 2 sessions will address more concrete actions we can take. Pamela will continue to report back.

Network FY20 budget and legislative priorities: Click here for the FY20 Budget Priorities and here for the FY20 legislative priorities. The Network is scheduling meetings with Western MA legislators across the region to discuss its FY20 budget and legislative priorities. Please contact Pamela Schwartz at [email protected] if you are interested in seeing the schedule and participating in any meetings.

Supplemental Security Income training – Monday, April 8, 9 am -12:30 pm, Holyoke Public Library, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke. Pamela reminded all of this upcoming training about how to access SSI to help end homelessness and how the benefit relates to eligibility for other resources. Caitlin Thomas, an SSI disability expert, is leading the training, along with other partners. Please email Caitlin directly at [email protected] to RSVP.

Opioid Prevention and Treatment training: Wed., April 10, 9 am – 3 pm, Sheraton Springfield Hotel, Springfield, sponsored by the statewide Health Resources in Action. Promising policies and practices will be shared around the topic of opioid overdoes prevention, responses and postvention. Register here

Shelter updates: Grove Street, Cot Shelter, Craig’s Doors – all shelters are full (over-full) with wait lists.

Big picture discussion on meeting structure/location, etc.
The group checked in on how best to promote our goals of advancing our regional model of Housing First, including diversion, harm reduction and housing focused, all within the coordinated entry system. Jade shared the challenge of limited staff capacity alongside a desire to participate in the regional effort. In addition to their seasonal shelter, they are running a rapid rehousing program, case management, community breakfasts and a daytime resource center. We agreed that the OrgCode trainings were very useful. ServiceNet shared that they are in the process of implementing changes that were reflected in the trainings. Erin noted the variations within each county and the need to account for them in the change process. We agreed it would be useful to spend time as a group sharing more on this process. We acknowledged that the transition between CoC leads offers both a short-term challenge and opportunity for the long-term. We affirmed meeting continuing to meet at our regularly scheduled time and place for now.

Next meeting date: Monday, April 8, 1 pm, ServiceNet, 296 Nonotuck Street, Northampton

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