In attendance: Grechar Aquino, Friends of the Homeless/CSO, Marcia Crutchfield, BHN, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical Center, Fina Fulla-Kay, City of Springfield, Dave Havens, MHA, Richard Hendrick, social worker, Erika Hensel, FOH/CSO, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, FOH/CSO, Nichole King,FOH/CSO, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, David Rodriguez, Viability, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, FOH/CSO, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Kathy West, Eliot CHS

By-name list update:

  • Gerry reported that we are seeing a few months in a row where outflow was higher than inflow, so the number on our list is dropping and is below 80 for the first time since a year go.  
  • On the outflow side, the Springfield Housing Authority Mainstream vouchers have been a big help – a reminder of the need to be identifying new resources. On a recent call, HUD said they expect the next NOFA for Mainstream vouchers to be out in the next month or two.
  • The place where we have had trouble making a difference is on inflow—this is about diversion, as well as better interventions upstream (for example, hospital data matching and working to get people housed before they become chronic; also the foster care collaboration that is underway).
  • The CoC is sending a team of 6 to the Built for Zero learning session in Atlanta at the end of March, where we will be working on new ideas in these areas.  Stay tuned for the report back.

Youth/Foster Care/Needs Assessment project update

  • EOHHS youth grant: Both programs are staffed up, with flex funds available for youth for prevention/diversion, and some new RRH slots. Gandara is continuing the search for the youth shelter site. 
  • Youth Needs Assessment. This is part of the EOHHS grant which has been used to retain consultants.  Thus far, they have collected data, had a youth focus group, and are currently reaching out to some folks in our community who have expertise in certain areas (for example, sex trafficking, parenting youth, youth who have come from Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria). Our next group meeting is April 3, 9:30-12:30 at UMass Springfield; our consultants will give us some data back and then we will spend some time in a strategy session.
  • HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project: The NOFA is out, due to HUD May 15. The youth team is already working on it with advice from the consultant team. As a reminder, the CoC applies for this grant and if selected, then it submits specific programs for funding. Initial funding is a minimum of $1 million over 2 years, with potential for renewal. The needs assessment meetings are feeding into the information needed for the grant application.  Hoping 3rd time – with so much additional work under our belt – is a charm!
  • Foster Care Collaboration Project. The team from New York processed information from a first journey-mapping session with providers, and took that to Phoenix (the second community that’s part of the project), where it is serving as a launching pad for that community’s conversation. The team is back in town tomorrow to meet with 8-10 young people who have been in foster care to learn more about their experiences of the system. Nathan V., who has been subject of case conferencing sessions, is one of the youth who will be talking to them. The information about foster care is also filtering into our needs assessment.

Heartland Alliance Opportunity: Way Finders is the lead agency applicant for a grant opportunity from Heartland Alliance, a national anti-poverty organization, for a 2.5 year, $75-$100K grant to support system change to join the homeless/re-housing system with the employment system to increase employment and housing stability. The target population must be people experiencing homelessness who are NOT on any priority list for housing. Way Finders is partnering with Friends of the Homeless (an informative focus group with 6 shelter guests occurred there yesterday), career centers and community colleges to create linkages and will use the template created by its very successful Secure Jobs program (workforce development for homeless families) for this effort. The application is due 3/29; 5 communities will be awarded this grant nationwide.

Discharge Planning:  We checked on this issue from last month’s meeting.  We had asked for people to submit anecdotes in their work around discharge challenges from hospitals/other institutions.  We received one comment.  The group decided that the best course forward is to carve out time at each meeting to check in on the topic and whether people have updates to share.  

We learned from Dave Havens about MBHP and Beacon’s new “recovery homes” that are opening that will allow for longer-term stays.  One with 14 beds for all men. We agreed to invite Amy Conklin from MHA who is overseeing this effort.  Pamela will reach out to invite her to our next meeting.  We agreed one of the roles of this committee would be to facilitate an exchange of resources to ensure all are aware of what is available.

Shelter update:

FOH has been full to capacity and using overflow space. They are very close to meeting occupancy limit.  Unclear why the numbers are so high.

The Samaritan Inn is almost full.

Network FY20 Budget and Legislative Priorities:  Pamela reported that the Network is holding meetings with Western MA legislators across the region to share our priorities for the region.  For budget priorities, click here and for legislative priorities click here. Please contact Pamela with any thoughts or if interested in attending the meetings.

Also be sure to sign up for the Annual Resource Fair on June 10 if you haven’t already!
To register to attend: go here.

To register to request table space to share resources: go here

Next Committee meeting: Tuesday, April 16 1 pm – 2 pm, FOH 

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