Domestic Violence/Homelessness Sub-Committee Meeting Minutes
December 7, 2015

 In attendance: Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rachel Trant, DCF
Regrets: Sarah Cloutier, YWCA, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage

We agreed on our goals:

  • to provide regional support, input and advocacy for the statewide policy recommendations and action plan set forth in the Governor’s Council report Increasing the Effectiveness of Government’s Response to the Intersection of Homelessness, Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and
  • to improve coordination of Western MA’s local and regional response to the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness

We agreed that we will include in our work both individuals and families who suffer from domestic violence and the risk or experience of homelessness.

We reviewed the Governor’s Council report on DV/sexual assault and homelessness (click here). We agreed we need to learn more about the Council and what the Integrated Task Force (created per the report’s recommendation) is doing. Robyn Kennedy of EOHHS and Rose Evans of DHCD, co-chairs of the Integrated Task Force working on this issue, offered to come out and visit with our committee to exchange information and discuss ways to collaborate. They are very excited about the Network’s interest in this issue and look forward to partnering. Pamela will begin the scheduling effort.

We noted the recommendation in the state report to adopt a common assessment tool and protocols for using it. We are interested in learning more about the statewide conversation and bringing our local input to the table.

Gerry discussed her interest in building the local response to this issue, specifically determining how referrals for DV families/individuals happen within our local system (especially pertaining to newly funded rapid rehousing programs with Catholic Charities and HAP that can serve DV families who are not eligible for EA) and how we can ensure there is a referral flow to permanent supportive housing (if needed) and assessments of DV issues within the shelter system. We want to develop our own coordinated assessment and referral flow so there is no wrong door.

Jane shared her knowledge of a pilot program in the Southeast of a couple of years ago with DTA and DV shelters that provided special assessment and referral for families suffering DV. Unclear how that evolved but will investigate and report back.

We brainstormed additional outreach on the committee: Western Mass. Interagency Council members (Pamela will reach out to Joanne of DTA and Ben of DPH and Bonnie of DHCD); Jane will reach out to Crystal Jackson, new director of DTA DV unit.

Pamela will report back after hearing back from Robyn and Rose and will schedule next meeting.

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