First, I want to thank Sarah Slautterback of the Department of Education for taking the time to attend our meeting and share important information about her office’s work on behalf of homeless children.  We look forward to continuing this collaboration.

Our next family services meeting will be Tuesday, December 8, 1-3 pm, at the Holyoke DTA Office, 100 Front Street, 3rd floor conference room.  For all our monthly meetings, please let me know of any agenda items you would like to discuss.

Minutes of 11/10/09 meeting

Attendance: Jim Reis, Joanne Glier, Marcia Crutchfield, Jodi Smith, Alicia Rodriguez, Steve Huntley, Tama Vincent, betsy Sanchez, Jane Lindfors, Fran LeMay, Peter Dejnak, Tom Salter, Toni Hocstadt, Tammmie Butler, Pat Boyd, Pamela Schwartz, Sarah Slautterback.

Discussion: The bulk of this meeting was devoted to a presentation by and discussion with Sarah Slautterback of the DOE regarding the services offered by the Office for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.  To learn about their services, please visit their website at  Every school district has a liaison for homeless children.  Our shared goal is to establish a two-way communication between liaisons and providers across the region to maximize support for every homeless child.

We also provided updates regarding the Housing Court collaboration across the region.  The first meeting in Hampden County took place on November 5 and the follow-up will occur on December 3.  Franklin County’s housing court meeting will take place this Friday, November 13, and Berkshire County next Wed., November 18.  Please contact Pamela if you would like to attend any meeting or would like additional information.  This is an important opportunity to increase collaboration and ultimately reduce homelessness.

We also provided updates regarding the Hampden County DHCD/provider collaboration.  Provider support at DTA/DHCD offices in Holyoke and Springfield is beginning this week and will continue to expand over the coming weeks.  The goal is to reduce the number of families entering shelters and motels through prevention and diversion support.

Betsy Sanchez of the Institute for Health and Recovery provided an update about the substance abuse and other counseling services her agency provides.  For families living in shelters, referrals for their services are welcome.  You can reach Betsy at [email protected] or 413-313-3832.

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