In attendance: Leslie Garcia, Springfield YAB, Pamela Ferguson, DDS, Lisa Goldsmith, Three County CoC, Kim Lee, MHA, Gerry McCaffferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Christine Palmieri, MHA, Jordana O’Connell, CHD, Nancy Pierce, Cutchins Program, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Phil Ringwood, DIAL/SELF, Jean Rogers, CHD, Heather Warner, SPIFFY, Dana White, True Colors
Gandara Center (Emily): Transitional Housing (TH) and Rapid Re-housing (RRH) getting up and running in Hampden and Franklin Counties – located TH in Hampden for 5 beds. Hiring process for TH coordinator that will work with RRH program as well; 2 coordinated entry navigator positions; more Coordinated Entry planning. Job postings are here: SHINE Young Adult Coordinated Entry Navigator and Young Adult Transitional Housing Coordinator
DIAL/SELF (Phil): July there was an uptick in emergency need. Housing youth in campgrounds, providing camping gear kits. 34 of 36 units that DIAL/SELF manages are occupied (2 vacant are temporary due to COVID protocols). They have seen an increase in recovery slips and mental health issues. Staff is working hard to provide support.
Mental Health Association (Kim): Dual track of trying to hire and develop apartments. Funded as part of YHDP – in Hampden County, 8 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH); in Franklin County: 8 units of PSH. Working on job descriptions for those positions. Also providing navigation and RRH (2 positions). Working in close collaboration with other YHDP providers and CoCs.
Center for Human Development (Jordana): Update re: school district decisions. Springfield is going remote for the first quarter and many other districts are the same or hybrid. Something to be aware of re: the impact on access to and tracking of how students at risk are doing, as well as impact on their learning depending on their access to internet/computers.
CHD Transitional Living Program (Jean): program provides 5 young adults 18-22 years housing and wrap-around support in scattered site apartments.
SPIFFY (Heather): Hampshire County based coalition that focuses on substance use prevention, mental health services and trauma-informed care. Most recently partnering with Franklin County Opioid Task Force and has received new funding to hire staff to do youth involved work. Also just received 2 large grants to work on building youth leadership, undoing racism; and to do prevention work around alcohol, marijuana and tobacco, all with a racial equity lens. Right now in the process of outreach and planning (hiring 6 people) and committed to broad-based community engagement. Looks forward to collaborating.
Cutchins Flex Program (Nancy): Provides therapeutic support and case management for youth and adults in Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin. The pandemic has posed some challenges for engagement, but working remotely and accepting new clients. Contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Three County YHDP (Lisa): Meeting every other week with the projects; making progress on planning around landlord outreach, also planning for a virtual job fair. Establishing a 3 County YYA committee that will meet in September. Newly funded Coordinated Entry and HMIS will advance efforts for YYA data collection. Community Action is hiring Coordinated Entry Specialist. Please see job description here.
Hampden County YHDP: Programs in process of launching; one last RFP about to go our for RRH grant. Working with Matt Aronson to design a year-long training series for project staff on working with young adults (e.g., what it means to practice anti-adultism, positive youth development, trauma informed care, housing first.). Will incorporate the youth-oriented racial equity plan for goals and action items into ongoing YHDP work. New hire to run YHDP starts August 31: Lizzy Ortiz! Great news for us all!
National Center for Homeless Education – Hampden County CoC got technical assistance for 2 part convening via Zoom with youth providers and education providers. Doing a survey to create next piece of work – helping to make sure that middle and high schools are identifying people who are unstably housed; some training around that for them; how to make good referrals. On higher ed, how to support young people in envisioning college being part of their plan to get their needs met so they can pursue higher ed.
True Colors United, Dana White – 3 County YHDP is working with Dana White of True Colors United and Dana will offer a small training for our core committee members in anti-adultism and developing common understanding and expectations about what authentic collaboration looks like. This work will provide a foundation for the continuing training to the broader community over the course of the year.
Mental Health Association is launching two new dual diagnosis (mental health, substance use) programs, one in Springfield for young adults 18-26 and one in Holyoke for LGBTQ+ 18 years and older. Learn more here: https://www.mhainc.org/GRIT/
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 – http://westernmasshousingfirst.org (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 full committee meeting (Sep. meeting will be smaller training): Wed., October 21 9:30 – 11 am Contact the Network for Zoom info.