In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Maritza Rios, VOC, Steve Huntley, VOC, Peter Dejnak, Springfield Partners, Suzanne Smith, Network data analyst, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Charlotte Dickerson, Springfield Partners, Kathy Kroll, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Jane Lindfors, DTA DV unit, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Tom Salter, NEFWC, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Toni Hochstadt, Community Action, Alicia Rodriguez, VOC, Marianne Pelletier, Mass. Community Colleges, Pamela Schwartz, Network Coordinator
Marianne Pelletier, the welfare to work coordinator for Mass. Community Colleges, joined us as a guest speaker to share information about her programs across the state that offer education and job training to people living in shelters. Currently, DHCD is funding a program for 85 families at Roxbury Community College. Marianne described the extensive support and case management provided to the people enrolled in these programs and the high rate of employment following program completion.
We discussed the prospects of expanding this type of program to the Holyoke/Springfield area, using the current DTA funded programs there as springboards. Marianne and providers are eager to explore and advocate for growing these programs. We agreed that the Community Action agencies, specifically Holyoke/Chicopee Valley Opportunity Council and Springfield Partners for Community Action, would be the contact agencies for follow-up communication and action on this effort. Community Action of Hampshire/Franklin Counties will also be involved to the extent these counties will also be served by the effort.
- Steve Huntley raised the issue of possible “double-dipping” among consumers and it reminded us all of our intention to do a trial “name exchange” (with releases in hand, of course) on a quarterly basis. We agreed we would make the first quaterly check-in at our January meeting.
- Tom Salter raised the isssue of the challenge posed by the loss of school bus transportation under the McKinney-Vento Act once a family has moved out of a shelter and has a signed lease for an apartment. It is quite problematic to gain a home and lose access to a child’s school in the process.
- We shared the discussion at the DHCD/provider collaboration meeting earlier in the day, where consensus emerged around eliminating the “tier” designations in the family contracts to the extent they were creating barriers to service. Follow-up discussion will take place with ICHH funded family providers.
Next meeting: Tuesday, January 11, 1-3 pm, Holyoke DTA Office, 1-3 pm.