In attendance:  Grechar Aquino, FOH-CSO, Lynn Conway, Eliot Services, Shaundell Diaz, Stavros, Mark Goodwin, DMH, Mark Jachym, FOH-CSO, Nichole King, FOH/CSO, Jay Levy, Eliot, Jennifer Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Bill Miller, FOH/CSO, Israel Ortiz, MHA, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, Keith Rhone, FOH/CSO, Laura Robertson, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kathy West, Eliot, Chris Zabik, DMH

COVID-19 Update
Friends of the Homeless: no one at this site has tested positive yet.  At Taylor Street shelter, a total of 8 people have tested positive – they are staying at Northampton’s MEMA hotel.   Others who have been exposed are staying in FOH tent site. Continuing to refine protocols and practices, taking new people in; census is fairly low b/c people are being housed and/or b/c people  are stretching to find other places to sleep.  The staff at FOH are doing a phenomenal job!  

MEMA motel report: Jay Levy reported 22 referrals from Northampton hotel – Eliot Services is providing tele-health and follow-up care.  20 of the 22 are from Hampden County.  There was one referral each from Hampshire and Franklin. Commonwealth Care Corp is providing support at the hotels; Red Cross is managing them. Upon exit, some individuals are doubling up (returning to a prior doubling up situation) or returning to shelter. 
Jay will provide contact info to Bill for site directors so they can discuss a communication plan for connecting around exits to shelter. 

On rapid-rehousing: Catholic Charities has some capacity to provide short-term funds for hotel stays as part of transition into housing; and short-term Rapid Rehousing (RRH) funds for first, last, security deposit. 
Contact Laura Robertson at [email protected] to access these resources.

As of 7/1, Catholic Charities will have longer term RRH funds to provide support for up to a year (subsidy covers rent over 30% of income, then every 3 months increases 10% til end of support over 60% of income)

Will start using data warehouse to screen people in for this resource.  In view of the infusion of federal and state resources, the greater challenge is finding housing, as opposed to accessing funds. Gerry noted that this is where a hotel stay could be useful as it allows the opportunity to maintain contact while housing search and documentation collection occurs. 

On the unsheltered population: Eliot Services noted they are not seeing as many people as usual – unclear if it’s because there is nowhere to go (no places are open) or whether there is actually a reduction in numbers. There still are high numbers at the meal sites.  

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP) Update
The YHDP project produced a plan that was approved by HUD.  Next stage was an RFP which was issued and new programs have been funded to start July 1.  Six young adults were part of the decision making team and their input was very significant. 
Funded projects include: 
1. Coordinated Entry “plus” – CE with flexible funds attached.  Gandara and CHD were jointly funded on this.  It will operate largely out of the Impact Center.  
2. Permanent Supportive Housing for young adults – Mental Health Association will run PSH for 4 young adults who have mental health and/or substance use challenges. 
3. Combined Transitional Housing(TH)/Rapid Rehousing (RRH) – Gandara will run this program.  TH will operate as crisis housing during housing search.  5 units for short-term transitional housing; 6 additional units of RRH.
4. To be allocated: 30 units of RRH.   Still looking for a provider – aiming to get RFP out in the next week or so.  Stay tuned.

The Network is hosting its “alternative Resource Fair” on Zoom with the DHCD Undersecretary and 20 Western MA State Legislators on June 5 at 10 am – check out the flyer – you can register within the flyer or go straight to the link here!  

The Network is participating in statewide efforts to maximize federal and state resources for the region (and the state) in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to permanently house as many people as possible.  Conversations with statewide partners and our legislative delegation continue.  Pamela will continue to provide updates as they unfold. 

Next meeting date: Tuesday, June 23, 1 pm – 2 pm. Zoom registration link here

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