In attendance: Asia Bradford, YWCA, Lynneanne Brown, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Brenda Garcia, BHN, Holly Florek, CHD, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Anna Lavarreda, Safe Passage, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Monique Osbourne, YWCA, Dorothy Prieto, Head Start CAPV, Jessica Sastre, NEFWC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Amanda Watson, FCRHRA
The Network hosted its “Different Kind of Resource Fair” on June 5 via Zoom with 165 participants, including 16 state legislators, DHCD Undersecretary Jennifer Maddox and many of you! Click here for the Network Presentation and for the inspiring words of Springfield Youth Action Board Leader Leslie Garcia. And be sure to subscribe to the Network blog (go to the big orange subscribe button!) so we can stay connected in our continuing advocacy work!
The Network is also convening state legislators, city and town leaders and shelter providers to discuss how best to coordinate our individual emergency shelter response during COVID-19. This is an opportunity to maximize our use of federal and state resources across all populations, including families. Pamela will continue to provide updates on these meetings as they relate to family homelessness.
New England Farm Workers Council: Office opened up last week. No positive COVID cases in the shelter so far; continuing to place families; most families are remaining at shelter under the new rules (e.g., no visitors allowed, no inspections). They have set aside 2 units – 1 in Springfield, 1 in Holyoke – for families requiring quarantine. So far that has been enough to meet the demand.
Center for Human Development: main office open, 8-10 people working there. Have had very few COVID cases. Still doing re-housing plans, not many families asking for extended leave.
ServiceNet (Greenfield Family Inn) – no confirmed cases. A lot of virtual meetings. It’s been intermittently challenging to work with families re: rules regarding no visitors and no overnights. Right now there are 16 families sheltered in Greenfield and 16 in Pittsfield.
Safe Passage – no confirmed cases; reduced capacity; working on rapid rehousing and alternative housing.
Elizabeth Freeman House – doing ok, no covid cases present; meals are being delivered.
YWCA: no COVID cases; providing support services remotely (via phone); some guests are on extended stay, coordinate with them re: testing prior to return.
Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority – Special RAFT funding for COVID is available. Documentation is more relaxed; application shorter; income eligibility does not take into account the additional $600/weekly unemployment benefit. Online applications are an option. Also offering first-time home buyer workshops and landlord and tenant workshops – building online capacity.
Community Action – funds are available for needs related to COVID, best way to connect is to call Community Resources at 413-475-1570
Head Start – trying to sort through new state guidelines on child care – extensive and complicated (need to keep kids separated!).
Statewide advocacy groups and the Network are pushing for the Legislature to increase RAFT spending to $50 million (using federal funds) to meet the anticipated avalanche of demand once the state eviction moratorium is over. Stay tuned for more action alerts on that.
National Low Income Housing Coalition is sponsoring two national sign-on letters to push Congress for $100 billion in rental assistance in the last coronavirus relief fund bill that may be voted on in late July. Pamela will send out on the blog the two sign-on letters. Please be sure to subscribe to the Network blog by going to http://westernmasshousingfirst.org!
Next meeting date:
Tuesday, July 14
11 am – 12 noon
Please register here