In attendance: Grechar Aquino, FOH, Aumani Harris, Boston Medical Center, Dave Havens, MHA, Janice Humason, FOH/CSO, Mark Jachym, FOH/CSO, Nichole King, FOH/CSO, Todd Koniezhny, Viability, Jay Levy, Eliot Services, Bill Miller, FOH/CSO, Denise Rivera-Nunez, FOH/CSO, Christina Ruest, FOH/CSO, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Dennis Sheehan, FOH/CSO, Delphine Wray, FOH/CSO, Chris Zabik, DMH

Point in Time Count: happening TOMORROW. Dave Havens is coordinating; In Springfield it’s kicking off at 4:30 from two soup kitchens; teams are assigned to geographic areas.  

Governor’s FY21 budget released: On individual shelter line-item, Governor level funded from last year which is still far below the amount necessary to meet the costs (if the cost of living increase is factored out, it’s been a 1% increase in spending over the last 8 years).  Ultimate target is to fund this line-item at $86 million; for this year, the goal is to move funding from the current $55 million to $58 million

Shelter update: 200 people slept in shelter last night; averaging 160/night.  Number of meals served up by 10,000 over the year.  Number of people resuscitated with Narcan is as high as ever.  And number of older guests who are facing end-of-life health issues is also higher and extremely challenging.

HEALing Communities Study to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40%:
Aumani Harris, Community Engagement Facilitator, joined us to introduce the HEALing Communities Study, an NIH funded grant based out of Boston Medical Center, that is working in Holyoke in this first 2 years and then Springfield for the 3rd year.  We are one of 4 states funded from across the country. The goal is to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40%.  The first stage of the work is to bring the community together in coalition, which has had an initial meeting including many Holyoke leaders (e.g., Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke City officials, Tapestry, etc.) but welcomes more partners and referrals to appropriate connections. The first stage of the coalition is to develop a coalition charter, obtain community data and develop an action plan with the goal of programs being up and running by summertime.

Next Coalition meeting Feb.11, 3 pm – 4 pm, Holyoke Health Center, 230 Maple Street, first floor in large conference room.  Janice will be the liaison for FOH. All are welcome!

Network training updates:The Network just hosted a successful state budget and legislative training for 100 people, led by Annette Duke of Mass Law Reform Institute. FYI: Powerpoint Presentation is here.
Upcoming trainings:

  • SSI/SSDI – how to maximize benefits for housing security – 4/16 -register here
  • Housing People with Sex Offense Histories – 4/30 (reg to come)
  • Sealing CORI/Appealing Housing Authority Denials – 5/7 (reg to come)
  • Working with LGBTQ and trans people experiencing homelessness – 3 offerings in Pittsfield, Turners Falls, Holyoke – sometime in May (reg to come)

Next meeting dates: we had scheduled 2/25 but since we met Pamela discovered a conflict with a statewide meeting in Boston so she will be in touch to confirm whether the meeting occurs then or is rescheduled.
March meeting:  Tues., 3/24, 1 pm – 2:15 pm
We agreed in general we would meet the 4th Tuesday of the month at 1 pm.

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