In attendance:  Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Mike Hagmaier, Soldier On, Michele LaFleur, Three County CoC, Justin Maynard, VA, Brooke Murphy, Three County CoC, Jesus Pereira, Holyoke Veterans Services, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetster-Owens, VA, Sue White, VA

Soldier On is still taking applicants for their Pittsfield site (VA is requiring no new people at Leeds).  Can get to intake online. 

At Leeds campus, two people tested positive on campus (asymptomatic but around someone who tested positive); residents of both buildings were tested and all negative; everyone lived in quarantine (ending today).  
Mutual appreciation expressed around Soldier On and VA’s responsiveness to crisis.  Great partnership, great work. 

SSVF received $200 million nationwide through the CARES Act as part of the pandemic relief response.  Funds are available NOW and eligibility criteria has been relaxed, allowing funds for any veteran household who is behind in rent.  Pandemic SSVF rules also allow for long-term rent payments and hotel payments for emergency housing.  Mike will provide summary info that Pamela will get out to the whole Network.  

New permanent housing for women veterans is about to open! Soldier On has completed the development of 10 units with HUD-VASH vouchers. Hoping for move-ins to happen in May and June.  Please contact Mike Hagmaier for more information: [email protected].  Pamela will forward this information to the entire Network.

HUD-VASH update: Way Finders is not giving any new vouchers at this time but moving forward with those who do have vouchers.  Northampton Housing Authority has started issuing some vouchers, targeted most in need veterans (in relation to pandemic). 

Holyoke: Jesus reported on Holyoke’s creation of a housing and homelessness committee to address this issue in relation to the pandemic.  Currently, there is not a plan to open a shelter so the city is placing porta-potties and hand washing stations in strategic areas in town.  Providers are coming together to create a support service network at stations.

3 County CoC: Coordinated Entry continues via Zoom; still accepting assessments.  Bring progress: HMIS and Green River data warehouse have been aligned so data entry can go directly into the warehouse.  Michele gave us a preview of the system and will follow-up with appropriate point people for a full training, including case managers for the programs. 

Steve Connor on food distribution: He has organized a food distribution system to veterans up and down the Pioneer Valley.  If anyone knows of a vet in need, contact Steve at [email protected]. (Note: SSVF also allows for up to $500 per veteran household for emergency food supplies). Springfield update via Gerry McCafferty email:  Veterans by-name list is downt o 6 veterans, 2 of whom have HUD-VASH.  Everyone has continued to plug away at housing veterans, and Mark from FOH has been doing an especially amazing job. 

Next meeting: 5/21 at 2 pm. Pamela will send Zoom link. 

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