In attendance: Joanna Berube, Horizons for Homeless Children, Tamicha Colon, WomanShelter, Hillary Cronin, VA HUD-VASH, Shaundell Diaz, Stavros, Jennifer Gonzalez, Holyoke Public Schools, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Anna Lavarreda, Safe Passage, Fran LeMay, ServiceNet/Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Dorothy Prieto, Head Start, Ehra Rodriguez, WomanShelter, Jessica Sastre, New England Farm Workers Council, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Anthony Thomas, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Melissa White, VOC, Janette Vigo, Way Finders, Lauren Voyer, Way Finders, Amanda Watson, FCRHRA
Family Shelter Updates:
Way Finders: no known COVID-19 positives in shelter thus far; taking 6 scattered sites off-line to have isolation/quarantine space if needed; good on PPE supplies from MEMA; seeking ESG funding; things going smoothly.
New England Farm Workers Council – things going well; have sufficient PPE from MEMA
Valley Opportunity Council – one participant tested positive but have plan to isolate and quarantine. Also good on PPE. Chrome books delivered to all children in shelter.
CHD – no known COVID-19 positives at this point; things going well; shelter at full capacity at 253 families; continuing to re-house families. Working with Boys and Girls Club to feed families; providing increased internet for families. Implementing protocol around social distancing and masks, etc.
Greenfield Family Inn – no known COVID-19 positive cases at this time; 2 scattered site units set aside in case needed for I/Q. PPE in good supply. Stressing good protocol.
Domestic Violence Shelter Updates:
Safe Passage – no known COVID-19 positive cases so far; it’s a very small shelter in small space so treating the space as “one pod” and having good practices (although can be challenging when people want to go visit family outside the shelter; working this out).
Womanshelter – Also challenges obtaining compliance with protocol but making good progress; good on PPE; shelter advocates are providing support remotely. Receiving many calls and sheltering women in hotels when necessary.
Elizabeth Freeman House – things are going smoothly; practicing social distancing and other protocol; providing food for all residents; main office still open through emergencies; all counselors have cell phones for ready access; linked up with hotels/motels in case need of shelter. Good news: no new cases in Berkshire County over the last 2 days.
There are almost 300 empty beds statewide to address families’ isolation and quarantine needs in the face of positive test results. DHCD has loosened its regulations re: extended stay, allowing families to leave shelter and stay in an alternative safe space indefinitely.
Update on family shelter re-procurement:There is not yet an official decision on timing. No awards have been made yet.
Hampden/Hampshire County: Way Finders reported roughly 1,600 applications have been submitted for RAFT funds. They are training people in other departments in order to assist with streamlining the process. They are still spending down FY20 funds and have upstream RAFT and additional COVID-19 funds. DHCD has relaxed its requirements re: documentation which make eligibility easier to meet.
Franklin County: FCRHRA reported they have COVID-19 related funding available as well as FY20 RAFT funds. Number of applications are rising.
ESG and FEMA funds – maximizing housing opportunities
Pamela shared the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ COVID-19 Framework for Homelessness Response. DHCD also issued its NOFA for Emergency Solution Grant (ESG) funds – $16.4 million to allocate statewide for emergency response for street outreach and shelter needs. Learn more from its Bidders Conference Presentation on May 12.
Pamela will follow-up on this bigger picture discussion in concert with state and regional work.
Racial Equity Series: The Network is sponsoring and the Three County CoC and Hampden County CoC are offering a series of workshops on racial equity and homelessness, an issue that is especially prominent right now through this pandemic. Dates are June 4, 11, 18, 2:30-4:30 pm. Click here to register.
Annual Resource Fair converted to online legislative update:
Our “4th annual Resource Fair” slated for June 5 will likely be converted to an opportunity to connect virtually with our state legislators. Stay tuned for more details.
Next meeting: Tuesday, June 9, 11 am – 12:30 pm. Zoom link to come.