In attendance:  Keith Benoit, City of Northampton, Lynn Conway, Eliot Community Services, Sam Cunningham, ServiceNet, Trevor Dayton, Northampton Recovery Center, Shaundell Diaz, Stavros, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Jen Glover, Life Path, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, John Hornik, Amherst Affordable Housing Trust/Affordable Housing Coalition, Laura Hudson, Positive Place, Michele LaFleur, Three County CoC, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaritan Inn, Luis Martinez, CHD, Brooke Murphy, Three County CoC, Kevin Noonan, Carig’s Doors, Mary Beth Ogulewicz, Town of Amherst, Keleigh Pereira, Three County CoC, Keith Rhone, Friends of the Homeless, Susan White, Life Path, Josh Wren, ServiceNet, Chris Zabik, DMH

Shelter updates:
ServiceNet: Greenfield:  status quo: operating out of 2 floors on Well Street; sheltering 20 people, wait list

Pittsfield: operating out of Barton’s Crossing with 10 individuals (emergency shelter out of St. Joe’s high school was closed); there is an encampment in a local park that has gathered a lot of attention.  Some have declined to stay at Barton’s Crossing.  Continuing to work with folks and the City. 

Northampton: 10 beds at “cot shelter” that is now under the auspices of Grove Street shelter (since no longer just seasonal); 15 at Grove St. Current challenge is the process for being Covid tested – has many steps and can cause delay in gaining shelter entry – so right now there are only 6 people at the cot shelter despite greater demand for empty beds.  Shelter staff are working with the Northampton BOH (very supportive); talking with Health Care for the Homeless doctor and Cooley – more conversations underway, Pamela and Keleigh will follow-up to see if/how the Network can provide any additional support.  It was also noted that a new program director will be hired soon; right now there is a shortage of case management support. 

On winter/fall: ServiceNet is in conversation with all 3 communities around shelter sites.  Each community is looking at best response.  ServiceNet received ESG Round1 funding and is waiting on Round 2, which would pay for staff and some rapid rehousing of individuals.

Amherst:ESG application approved for Craig’s Doors to pay for 20 units in a motel – good news! Now figuring out exact budget breakdown.  Will open in October; also in meetings with First Baptist Church and signs are good for reopening there with 10 beds (socially distant). Concerned about the impact of COVID and economic fall-out and more people becoming homeless. Craig’s Doors is also providing support for the local encampment.  Installed a shower behind their trailer.  

Samaratin Inn – new Executive Director hired, Walt Flood.  Site rehab is taking place and now starting to figure out how to bring new people in. Current census is 6; space for 27 women and 10 men.  Hoping to work with Health Care for the Homeless.  It is a sober shelter.  Call first and application process will follow. 

Friends of the Homeless (Springfield): contracted for 133 beds, but using Resource Center at night to shelter more people (lost some beds due to social distancing). Need for more beds for women. Received first round of ESG; awaiting second round of ESG – hopefully funded to allow for more expansion.

CoC update:Coordinated Entry:

  • 4 move-ins to Millers Falls; 5 more in the works – should be at full capacity soon. CE partners very engaged and supportive. Great work!
  • ServiceNet Shelter Plus Care: ACCS – Adult Community Clinical Services slots have opened – a requirement to utilize Shelter Plus Care beds – so now housing search is happening with those vouchers 
  • Louison House open – a family unit open – preparing for communication and outreach
  • Coordinated Entry work group – first meeting this Wed. (contact Brooke if interested) – 7 or 8 meetings through October for CE planning
  • Trainings in the fall – 4 part training series – for all CoC membership – to do this orientation to the 3 County CoC, CE, triage tool, assessment, diversion practices
  • CoC is hiring for a CE specialist – more info here!

Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP): after a 8-10 month planning process, projects will start this Fall.  

  • Gandara Center – joint component program – Transitional housing (TH) and Rapid rehousing (RRH)  – 6 TH beds; 12 RRH vouchers.  
  • DIAL/SELF – RRH with 4 beds
  • MHA – PSH program 8 beds; navigators’ program working with young people and with partner agencies (also with RRH dollars).  Housing opportunities coming for youth and young adults!  
  • Coordinated Entry and HMIS grant is coming with this.

3 County CoC annual meeting 9/29 2-4 pm.  Stay tuned for more info.

HMIS work group – DHCD is no longer supporting CoCs in their HMIS – need to be out of it by end of 2021 – started an HMIS work group to choose a new system.  Meeting every other week until a contract with new vendor signed.  Thursdays, 9-10 am, still determining which week.  If want to be a part, contact Michele.
Fair Housing update:  Way Finders has funding for a Fair Housing Initiatives Program this year, fun jointly with the MA Fair Housing Center, providing education and outreach and in certain instances legal advocacy. Also: The Fair Housing Civil Rights Conference (initially slated for last April) – has been rescheduled for October 1 and 2 – stay tuned for more.

State Budget and Policy Update: See CHAPA’s update here for the latest news (that Pamela summarized).  The Network is pushing hard for the Act to Guarantee Housing Stability to stave off the tsunami of evictions that will occur when the eviction moratorium ends on 10/17 (20,000 eviction filings predicted) and Right to Counsel Pilot Program that will provide low-income tenants representation in eviction cases in areas hard hit by COVID.  Be sure to subscribe to the Western MA Network blog – (the big orange subscribe button!) to get in the loop on action alerts.  Your quick email or call to YOUR legislator makes a BIG difference, so please get plugged in!

Next meeting date: Monday, Sept 14 1:30-2:45

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