Individual Services Meeting Minutes
April 14, 2016

In attendance: Jane Braaen, Amherst Community Connections, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections , Michael LaMothe, consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, David Modzelewski, Network, Terry Maxey, Open Door, Jennifer Schmitt, Craig’s Doors, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Lynn White, HRU, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’sDoors

Special Presentation on SNAP policy changes impact Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents( (ABAWDs): We enjoyed a presentation by Jayna Mistry of UMass on the policy changes impacting ABAWDs’ access to SNAP. Please  click here for the powerpoint presentation. Thank you to Jayna, her colleague Shannon, and Lauren Arms-Ledwith of DTA for this learning opportunity.

Three County Update:
Jay Levy reported that there has been good progress in the implementation of the veterans by-name list to facilitate housing matches for homeless veterans. For non-veterans, progress is underway in the development of a vulnerability assessment tool to be used across the sub-region, specifically the use of the AZ Matrix Tool. The REACH meetings will be used to share results from the assessments and prioritize housing resources. Right now, Andrea is looking into linkages between HMIS and this tool to see if unduplicated data entry is possible. We agreed that it will be interesting to compare the use of the VI-SPDAT in Hampden County with the AZ Matrix tool in the 3 county area. Jay described the AZ tool as a more trauma informed care approach to engagement; also quicker and easier to use.

Hampden County Update:

  • Still focused on Homelink implementation. At next week’s REACH meeting we will have a first early use of it as we review who is on the by-name list.
  • Also moving forward on implementation of EOHHS grant–programs to start in the next two weeks
  • We are getting TA from Zero 2016 related to using our By-Name List to better understand inflow/outflow and how many PSH units/placements we need
  • Police/BHN street outreach is still happening regularly (twice a week) which has given us a much deeper understanding of our unsheltered population
  • Youth Count coming up 5/2-5/15 – would like to solicit volunteers to help with outreach since population includes 18-24 year olds and crosses over with general shelter population

Amherst homelessness in the media:

Rebekah Wilder updated the group about the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s recent front page article regarding incidents involving guests at Craig’s Doors or others thought to be homeless (not necessarily the case). Rebekah noted that this is an educational opportunity to better inform the community around the inter-relationship between addiction and homelessness. Dave Modzelewski raised the possibility of having an opioid expert, Dr. Potee, based in Franklin County, come speak to our group to learn more. Dave will reach out to her and report back. All agreed that we need to build collaborations with addiction treatment partners.

Rebekah also pointed out recent data that showed that most shelter residents are from the region, although many (35%) are staying at a shelter in a town other than the resident’s original location. This goes to where shelters are located and the movement among the population.

Shelter Capacity Update:

Northampton Cot Shelter full each night (turned away 5 last month; other months about 20); Grove Street is full with 55 people on the wait list.

Barton’s Crossing (Pittsfield): emergency shelter full at 20. Did not need to turn people away. Non-seasonal shelter full.

Wells Street (Greenfield) – full with 20 beds

Craig’s Doors (Amherst)– full

Hwei-Ling shared about her upcoming information sessions around ACC’s 3 year, $150,000 grant to provide housing to chronically homeless individuals. Last step is Town Meeting approval. Information sessions on this Housing First initiative will be held over the next few weeks. Please click here for more information.

Next meeting:
Thursday, May 5, 10:30 am – noon, Friends of the Homeless

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