This update includes brief summaries of Network activities this week.  Hats off to over 50 Network members (not including the hundreds of volunteers who made Project Homeless Connect possible!) who contributed significant time this week to grow our Network and get us closer to our goals.  We are making great strides!

Collaboration, Funds and Outreach Underway to Families and Individuals

For Families:  Our Network providers, Valley Opportunity Council, New England Farm Workers’ Council and HapHousing, all continue to provide on-site or phone assistance at DTA offices in Holyoke and Springfield to support the diversion of families from shelter.  The monthly report on numbers of families served will be available on October 10th.  All family sub-grantees have signed contracts and their readiness to accept applications and distribute funds is either imminent or already underway.

Today,  HAPHousing, New England Farm Workers’ Council and Valley Opportunity Council are meeting to discuss collaboration in the provision of services in Hampden County and uniform guidelines in administration of ICHH funds.  Results from this meeting will be brought to the next regional meeting of all family service providers on Tuesday, October 13, 9:30 -11:00 am at the Holyoke DTA office.  We will post uniform eligibility criteria and other resources as soon as available.

For Individuals: Several sub-grantees have signed contracts; others are close.  Meanwhile, all are continuing to implement the REACH model of identifying, reaching out to and assessing chronically homeless individuals in their communities in preparation for making matches for services and housing.

The next meeting of all ICHH funded individual service providers will take place on Monday, October 5, 9:30 -11 am at the DMH Haskell Building in Northampton.

To see a complete list of sub-grantees and contact information, click here.

Leadership Council

We had an excellent meeting of our Network’s Leadership Council on Wednesday, September 30th (minutes are provided in an earlier blog post).  In short, with 35 members in attendance, we made significant decisions in the building of our Network. The energy was high and the commitment to action matched it.  Also special thanks to Jeffrey Naylor and Diane Sullivan of Homes for Families for attending and providing excellent information and inspiration for building our Consumer Advisory Group.

Data Analyst Position

The data committee met twice in the last week to review applicants for the position and interview one of them (minutes in a previous blog post).  While one applicant is a solid candidate, the committee decided to repost the position to create the opportunity for expanded outreach and a larger applicant pool.  The position will be posted next week and applications will be due two weeks following.  Meanwhile, with Andrea Miller’s expert guidance, the committee began the work of understanding and crafting an evaluation plan.  The committee will continue this work as the application process unfolds so that when the data analyst begins, we can offer him/her an evaluation plan to assist with a speedy start.

Housing Court Collaboration

As follow-up to the meeting of a couple weeks ago, the Western Division Housing Court has offered to host a meeting of our regional ICHH and HPRP funded service providers to discuss how providers and Housing Court staff can best work together to leverage these additional resources to prevent homelessness.  The meeting was just scheduled for November 5, 1-2 pm, and if you are a provider, expect an invitation by email in the coming week.  A special thanks to Judge Robert Fields, a Leadership Council member, for facilitating this important collaboration.

Network Presented at Mass. Coalition for the Homeless Training

Thanks to Kelly Turley of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless for inviting me to speak about the Network at its Springfield training for Homelessness Prevention on October 1st.  Roughly 25 people coalition members in the region attended and learned about the Network’s goals and funded programs.  They will hopefully join the blog and get connected to our family and individual services committees to expand our collaboration in the region.

Project Homeless Connect

Click here to read an earlier post this week describing this day in Springfield where an estimated 1,000 guests received an extraordinary array of services with a lasting impact.

A New Network Logo!

Thanks to the donated work of Laura Radwell of Radwell Design and Communication, the Network has a new logo!  Click here to check out the design and its many applications.  Laura crafted a logo that can apply across networks if desired.  Stay tuned to see it on this blog and please contact Pamela Schwartz at [email protected] if you’re from a neighboring Network and would like to consider adapting it for your use.

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