Leadership Council Meeting
April 26, 2016

In attendance: Mary Jane Bacon, Office of Senate Preisdent Rosenberg, Kathryn Buckley-Brawner, Catholic Charities, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Ben Cluff, DPH, Steve Como, Soldier On, Patricia Crosby, Franklin Regional Employment Board, Sylvia DeHaas-Philips, United Way of Pioneer Valley, Ken Demers, BerkshireWorks, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Doreen Fadus, Mercy Medical Center, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Clare Higgins, Community Action, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Joanne LaCour, DTA, Faith Lafayette, DPH FOR Families, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Andrew Morehouse Food Bank of Western MA, Fran Pheeney, Franklin Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Megan Rhodes, Franklin Regional Council of Governments, George Ryan, Hampden County Regional Employment Board, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Seney, Veterans Administration, Linn Torto, MA ICHH

Review of Jan. 20, 2016 Meeting Minutes: (click here)

Moved to approve: Charlie Knight
Seconded: Jane Banks
All in favor: unanimous
abstention: Joanne LaCour

Budget Update: (click here)
Sylvia deHaas-Phillips reviewed the budget. Sylvia noted that revenue beyond state funding is at $26,000, i.e., state funding is critical to the Network’s continuity.

Review of Network FY17 budget priorities

Pamela reviewed the Network budget priorities in relation to the House adoption of the State budget just last night.

Secure Jobs: The House funded Secure Jobs at $500K, one quarter of the $2 million needed to keep the program fully functional statewide. The Governor funded the program at $750K, so even the “larger” number is less than half of what is needed. What does this mean, especially when the program has demonstrated such success and directly correlates to preventing returns to homelessness. The group agreed we need to approach our legislators and Administration officials to better understand their thinking.   How does the Fireman Foundation’s commitment interface with state government limits response. We will explore these questions with Linn Torto.

Mary Jane Bacon suggested that we pay attention to the lobbying representation on the program; that we must ensure the broad representation (beyond career centers) in our presence with legislators.   Pamela will follow-up with Mary Jane to gain any additional insight from their senate budget analyst.

We also agreed that it would be useful to look at the “home” for Secure Jobs and support a conversation about the best agency fit for the program, e.g., DTA where other employment programs exist. We will raise this with Linn Torto as well for additional feedback.

Increase individual shelter unit rate to $30/night : did not pass in House or Governor’s budget. Will continue advocacy in Senate.

Expand HomeBASE eligibility to include families in domestic violence or substance abuse programs: passed in House and Governor’s budget.

Expand RAFT to include individuals: did not pass in House or Governor’s budget.

Increase TPP to $975,000: did not pass in House.

Network earmark: passed in the House.

Pamela noted the tremendous support of Rep. Peter Kocot (lead sponsor) and Rep. Stephen Kulik in the passage of the Network earmark amendment. She also noted the great support of our Western MA delegation in general as supporters of Network priorities. We expressed our immense gratitude for our great delegation!

Pamela will compile a chart that lays out each priority and its status in each part of the budget process and send that to the Leadership Council.

Steering Committee/3 County CoC meeting and by-laws update:
Andrew informed the group that the Steering Committee and representatives of the Three County CoC are meeting on May 6 to discuss by-law revisions to address better representation of the 3 County CoC and overall process of decision making. All are welcome (9 am at Northampton Senior Center on May 6). The group will bring proposed by-law revisions to the next Leadership Council meeting in June.

Meeting with Senate President Rosenberg on May 13
Pamela reported that Senator Rosenberg has agreed to meet with members of the Network to have a general dialogue about both the Senate Housing Crisis report and Western MA needs. Each CoC has designated 5 people to attend this meeting (we agreed to keep the meeting small in order to maximize the potential for meaningful conversation). The group will report back at its June meeting. We expressed appreciation for Senator Rosenberg’s commitment to the Network and its goals.

T3 Trainings
Pamela reported that thanks to state funding, the Network has sponsored 2 of its 3 trainings thus far this year: Motivational Interviewing and Trauma Informed Care. Coming in June is Critical Time Intervention. The reviews of our trainer, Jen Frey, have been uniformly positive. By the end of these 3 trainings, we will have trained over 150 individuals from organizations across the four counties. Pamela also noted the fantastic support of Mercy Medical Center (through our vice chair Doreen Fadus) and its donation of space and food for all three trainings. We discussed how continued state funding will create an opportunity to expand the reach of these trainings.

Employment Trainings
Pamela reported that as a result of the region’s participation in the national jobs summit in 2014 (sponsored by HUD, DOL and US ICHH), the region received HUD sponsored Technical Assistance from John Rio of Advocates for Human Potential. Over April 12-13, John conducted 3 trainings: Sustainability of Innovative Demonstration Projects, Employment for Homeless Youth and Employment for Tenants in PSH. About 150 people attended all 3 trainings. Reviews were positive.

Participation in Western MA pilot project on new DV assessment tool:
Pamela reported that following a March Network meeting with Rose Evans and Robyn Kennedy regarding statewide efforts pertaining to domestic violence and homelessness, Pamela was contacted by the Katya Smith, director of Full Frame Initiative, a leading partner in the efforts to develop a new assessment tool. Katya asked that the Network convene a focus group of practitioners to obtain feedback on the tool. That meeting will take place in June as a precursor to Western MA providing the pilot location for the new tool.

Progress Report on Ending Homelessness
Three County: Click here and here (Dave Christopolis presented).
Additional comments by Dave: best use of data is to create by-name lists of sub-populations. This is currently in existence for veterans; providers are meeting bi-weekly to review list and housing options; working closely with Soldier On.
Also looking to include prevention efforts – e.g., “at-risk” list for veterans – in order to have a complete look at the homelessness system and interventions at every point on the spectrum.     Three County has retained Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) with Network funding in order to better develop internal systems for both collecting and using data towards desired outcomes. It’s a very positive and productive process.

Hampden County:  Click here for Gerry McCafferty’s powerpoint presentation which summarizes data, successes and current challenges.

Special guest Linn Torto, Executive Director, MA Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness:

First, the Network extended its appreciation to Linn for taking the time to visit with us (a 3 hour drive due to traffic!).   Linn shared her appreciation in return for our regular trips to Boston.

Linn discussed the prospect for continuing consortium funding in the FY17 budget. The House budget did not include such funding and only $1 million for youth funding (last year $2 million was allocated). The group brainstormed possible strategies for “packing this year’s funding forward” and how to address possible shortfalls for FY17. Linn was meeting later today with analysts to discuss advocacy strategies and would be back in touch to advise of any strategies moving forward with the Senate budget.

Linn described the evolving structure of the ICHH, specifically the effort to streamline meetings regarding sub-populations and initiatives.   The following ICHH committees have now been established:

  • Family – the Public Consulting Group is issuing its report that will look at an EA system redesign; EOHHS is looking to increase its partnership with DHCD through its flexible resources
  • Veterans
  • Disability and Housing – looking at aligning the Olmstead Plan (court-based decision to ensure that people with disabilities and elders have access to community-living opportunities and supports that address each individual’s needs) with current targeting and other strategic practices
  • Elder/Chronic Homelessness – DHCD issued vouchers targeted to served the chronically homeless

At the next ICHH meeting in May, the ICHH will consider the recommendation that the Permanent Supportive Housing initiative – which developed over 1,000 PSH units over 3 years – will continue its work under the ICHH. Linn is establishing a flow of quarterly ICHH meetings, and alongside advisory meetings and committee meetings to maximize information sharing and strategic planning.

Discussion of Secure Jobs: Linn noted that discussions are active with the Fireman Foundation about the most appropriate state agency home for the program, e.g., DTA and its employment programs. Linn is meeting with DTA, DHCD and WLD (Labor and Development) to discuss this further.

Best wishes to Jerry Ray!
Jerry Ray is retiring from Mental Health Association after 22 years. He is being honored by MHSA on May 12 (please attend if possible!) and he’s having a going away party at Samuel’s Tavern in Springfield from 5-7 pm on May 5. Thanks to Jerry for his extraordinary commitment and contribution to ending homelessness in Western MA.

Meeting adjourned: 12:15 pm.



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