Leadership Council Meeting
April 24, 2013

In attendance: Jim Ayres, United Way of Hampshire County, Mary Jane Bacon, Office of Senator Rosenberg, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Tim Beaudry, Office of Mayor Alex Morse, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown Community Development Corporation, Steve Como, Soldier On, Michael DeChiara, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Rose Evans, DHCD Associate Director of Division of Housing Stabilization Doreen Fadus, Health Care for the Homeless, Paul Fitzsimons, DCF, Harry Duschene, Judge Rob Fields, Western Mass. Housing Court, Paul Gage, Family Life Center, Peter Gagliardi, HAPHousing, Joanne Glier, DTA, Brad Gordon, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Jennifer Hohn, City of North Adams, Mary Reardon Johnson, YWCA of Western Mass., Nat Karns, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Ann Lentini, Domus, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Bill Messner, Holyoke Community College, Andrea Miller, data analyst, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Dave Modzelewski, Network housing coordinator, Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of esternJerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Jim Reis, HAPHousing,George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Linda Stacy, United Way of Franklin County, Lynne Wallace, Network co-chair and Dietz&Co. Architects, Pam Wells, Springfield Housing Authority

Motion to approve January 24, 2013 meeting minutes: Charlie Knight moved.  Jay Levy seconded.
All in favor, with one abstention (Andrew Morehouse).

Grant updates:

Fireman Foundation (Secure Jobs Connect):  program well underway since kick-off of 3/5/13. 28 individuals enrolled in program; 6 placed in jobs (2 pending).  Also now looking at new funding opportunity through Commonwealth Corporation.

SAMHSA/MissionWest (clinical services for chronically homeless individuals with dual diagnoses of mental health/substance abuse):  In year 2.  Meeting goals.  Network contribution via Andrea Miller as data analyst who has created HOT – Housing Options Tool – an online tool for matching homeless individuals with housing units/services.  Very exciting innovation.  Will be launched mid-May.

Six Point Creative:  Lynne reported on initial efforts with this branding/marketing firm that are being donated pro bono to assist the Network with its own branding and sustainability efforts.  An initial meeting was held a couple of weeks ago with brainstorming and information collection.  We will keep LC posted as the process unfolds.

High End Utilization Program: Doreen Fadus of Mercy Medical Center’s Health Care for the Homeless reported out on this grant to reduce ER use by high end users.  Serving 40 individuals thus far and making a significant impact.

Continuum of Care Update:
Dave Christopolis, coordinator of the Three county CoC and executive director of the Hilltown Community Development Corporation, provided an update about efforts to better connect the CoCs – the federal funding resource for homelessness programs in the region – with Network efforts. The CoCs distribute close to $4 million/year to fund homelessness programs.  Believes it is both possible and wise to build collaboration so that both Network and HUD needs are met simultaneously with minimum duplication of meetings and efforts.  Hopes to leverage HUD funding to serve the Network and coordinate systems.  Will put out survey to Network participants to explore potential for coordinated system of governance and will report back to Leadership Council for further discussion.

Rose Evans, DHCD Associate Director of Division of Housing Stabilization

The Leadership Council welcomed Rose to her new position and to the Network.  Rose expressed her thanks for being with us and for the Network’s great work.  Rose is overseeing all the shelter operations for individuals and families and works closely with DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein.  She looks forward to meeting individually with Network partners and learning more about individual homelessness issues (she worked for decades on the family side with Center for Human Development).

Discussion of information sharing system across programs to maximize services to homeless individuals.  Rose shared that there is ongoing work to build a coordinated intake and integrated data warehouse.  Andrea Miller is part of that effort.  Will keep us informed as the system develops.

FY 14 Budget discussion:

Pamela reviewed the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless and CHAPA legislative priorities in the House budget process.  At the time of meeting, the House was taking votes on the housing amendments, so there was some confusion about the value of an LC vote in support of or against particular House amendments.  Regardless, it was clear that our discussion could inform our actions on the Senate side.

Discussion focused primarily on the issue of the House amendment to change the EA regulation to allow families to become eligible for EA if they are at imminent risk of sleeping in a place not fit for human habitation.  The Family Services Committee, which met the previous day, voted unanimously to recommend that the LC support this amendment.

There was extensive discussion about this amendment, focusing on the issue of whether this amendment was the most effective way to address the universal concern that families stay safe and sheltered.  Peter Gagliardi of HAP pointed out that HAP’s discretionary contribution of motel money to families falling through the safety net (since October, they have temporarily housed in motels 55 families at a cost of $19,000) may be a more cost-effective use of funds overall than placing these families into the EA system where the costs rise so quickly over a longer period of time.  Peter noted that a better course may be to focus on amending RAFT regulations to permit RAFT funds to be used for these families caught in emergency situations.

Bill Messner moved to adopt the Family Services Committee recommendation to support the House budget amendment as stated above (to change the EA regulation to allow for eligibility if at imminent risk of sleeping in a place not fit for human habitation).  Charlie Knight seconded.

In favor:  4
Against: 9
Abstained: 7
Motion failed.

There was agreement that a sub-committee would meet and discuss alternative amendment language to push in the Senate.  Pamela will facilitate this meeting ASAP.

Pamela will also provide an updated list of Network priorities to LC members in advance of the Senate debate to facilitate LC members’ participation on behalf of the Network.

There was also discussion of the House amendment to increase the individual shelter bed rate to $30/night.  Bill Miller pointed out that this increase would benefit many shelters in the region, including in Boston, Westfield and Springfield, as well as shelters across the state; that this increase is vital to being able to continue to provide sufficient emergency shelter and housing services to homeless individuals.  The LC did not have an opportunity to vote on this amendment but Pamela will follow-up via email to clarify the Network’s position on this and other issues we discussed (e.g., increased funding for the Tenancy Preservation Program)

Network Membership Dues Discussion:

The FY 13 and FY 14 Network budgets were distributed for review (see attached).  As of now, as of 7/1/13, the Network has no guaranteed funding.  Foundation and other funding pursuits are underway, and one of them for LC consideration is membership dues.  Lynne shared her extensive research about possible models from similar organizations and offered these models for consideration (see attached).

Motion made to move forward to accept concept of membership dues and develop details of application for the Network:  Jerry  Ray
Seconded:  Charlie Knight
All in favor:  unanimous
Absentions: Joanne Glier, Paul Fitzsimmons

General discussion points:
Need to consider how to address municipalities.
Consider relying on some fixed percentage of an organization’s budget.
Must create development committee to address other 75% of budget fundraising needs!

Next meeting date:  Thursday, July 25, 10 am – 12 noon, Franklin County, location to be confirmed.



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