Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes
April 11, 2016

In attendance: Yoshi Bird, CHD, Bonnie Caldwell, DHCD, Wendy Coco, CCA, Hillary Cronin, VAMC, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet (Berkshires), Sean Hemingway, CHD, Jamal Jacobs, Community Action, Cheryl LaChance, HAP, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet (Greenfield), Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freemen Center, Cris Merrill, CHD, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janette Vigo, HAP, Lauren Voyer, HAP

Family Homelessness Data Review
Special thanks to Deputy Undersecretary Rose Evans who provided this summary data:

EA Caseload:

  • Hotels/Motels
    601 as of Friday April 8, 2016 – 56% reduction from same time last year, 62% reduction since January 2015; lower than when the system came over from DTA in 2009
  • State Contracted Beds:
    3279 as of Friday April 8, 2016
  • Statewide Caseload: 3880 as of Friday April 8, 2016 – 14% reduction since January 2015

Diversion: As of March 2016: 25% Diversion for the month of March2016

HomeBASE: All numbers are as of February 29, 2016

  • 1445 exits from shelter with HomeBASE (49%)
  • 521 exits from hotels/motels with HomeBASE (18%)
  • 980 families diverted with HomeBASE (33%)
  • Western MA specifically – 368 families have utilized HomeBASE; 253 exits from shelter; 47 exits from hotels/motels; 68 diversions

Lauren Voyer announced that only 29 families remain in motels in Hampden CountyFran Lemay announced that only 3 families in remain in motels in Franklin County

Congratulations on the tremendous work across the region, and thanks to DHCD’s support to make it possible. We agreed we will plan a little celebration to mark this progress.

Bassuk Center Report: Services Matter: How Housing and Services Can End Family Homelessness

 Thanks to Lauren Voyer’s initiative, HAPHousing hosted a forum that featured the Bassuk Center’s recently released report on family homelessness and specifically focused on the importance of combined housing and support services in making a lasting difference.

The report is available at

 The report emphasizes the critical importance of trauma-informed care in the provision of services. We discussed the Network’s recent sponsorship of a very successful training on Trauma Informed Care (by T3, Center for Social Innovation) and our desire to focus on this approach and embed it in an entire organization’s staff (the forum stressed the importance of a whole organizational embrace of this approach for it to be effective).

We discussed and shared the Bassuk Center’s tools such as the “TICometer” – an in-house tool to take stock of an organization’s use of trauma informed care. More detail is available at:

And we discussed the Center’s assessment tool check list – available at:

We agreed that at our next meeting we will look at that check list in relation to the HUD assessment tool that must be done when a family enters the front door. Lauren and Janette will prepare to facilitate the conversation.

The Bassuk Center is also asking organizations to sign on as supporters of this report. Everyone is encouraged to bring this back to their organizations and consider signing on. The sign-on link can be found on the bottom of the main page of the report.

We agreed to use our meetings to further the study of this shift to a trauma informed care approach and use the committee to support the effort.

EOHHS Grant updates:

Hampden County (provide by Gerry McCafferty via email):
The City, on behalf of the CoC, has entered into contract with EOHHS. The contract is for the 15-month period April 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. The amount is $275,000, which is for this fiscal year; our understanding is that more funds will be added to the contract for next fiscal year.
Programs will be operated by subrecipients, which were procured during the period we were applying for the grant. We are currently working on subrecipient contracts, which will be subject to final approval at the April 15 CoC Board meeting. Once approved, programs can start immediately, which they are all poised to do.  Here’s where the funds are going and what they will be used for:

  • HAP, $65,000, prevention and raid rehousing direct assistance funds for families;
  • Catholic Charities, $45,000, prevention and rapid rehousing direct assistance funds for individuals;
  • Youth program: Gandara, prevention, host/kinship homes for 30 day emergency stays, and rapid rehousing for youth. For the youth programming, the funds cover 3.5 staff plus the housing costs for youth. Youth will be assessed using the TAY-VISPDAT.

With HAP and Catholic Charities, the programs are adding the funds to existing, staffed programs. In the case of Catholic Charities, they were completely out of funds, so this enables them to restart the prevention/rapid rehousing program.

Three County (provided by Janna Tetrault, via email)

  • Community Action, as the Lead Entity for the 3-County CoC signed an agreement with EOHHS. The contract runs through 06/30/2017.
  • Full contract for 268,796: 125,000 for CA and 143,796 for Dial/Self for youth component for FY16. Additional funds will be available for FY17 but the amounts are not known yet (EOHHS anticipates at least level funding for the Consortium and likely an increase for Youth).
  • Subcontracting with Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority to cover Berkshire county activities. Subcontracts are not in place yet but will be soon.
  • Activities will include the coordination of assessment, triage, prevention and diversion practices, including the development of a coordinated assessment tool with the 3 county Coc and the distribution of upstream financial assistance. Extensive outreach to service providers, housing providers, etc.
  • 93,900 in flexible financial assistance through Community Action
  • 80,000 in flexible financial assistance for Youth through Dial/Self
  • Youth component is for 3 FTE; CA will hire 1 FTE to act as Consortium Coordinator.
  • Anticipating ready to accept applications by May but will notify Network.

Next meeting 5/10, 1 pm, 1:00, Northampton (note different than the usual meeting time of 9:30 due to a conflict).

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.