Dear Network Members:

I hope everyone had a great end of summer.   In the midst of alternating vacations, a lot of Network business took place and I wanted to provide you with some of the highlights below:

  • Yesterday, the ICHH officially approved our contract extension through March 31, 2011. The extension is for $114,236 and is allocated among 3 providers:  Mental Health Association ($78,936), ServiceNet ($21,000) and The Brien Center ($14,300).  All funds were part of each provider’s original contract and were not spent due to a delay in the start of the contracts and resulting staffing delays or turnover.  The extension will allow us to house an additional 11 individuals, bringing our total served to at least 42 chronically homeless individuals (the original contract promised to house 38).  So this is great news!  Please click here to read the contract extension request if you would like additional detail.
  • The ICHH also approved contract amendments for this last month of the pilot period, permitting $18,953.00 in additional unspent funds from The Brien Center and from the data budget line (due to our data analyst Suzanne Smith’s late hire) to be moved to family providers to immediately help rehouse additional families currently living in motels. The process, overseen by the Steering Committee, exemplified the very best of our Network development: 4 Hampden County providers, Center for Human Development, HAPHousing, New England Farm Workers Council and Valley Opportunity Council, brainstormed the best use of the dollars and decided together how to ensure the quickest and largest impact on rehousing families in our region.  Hats off to them and to so many Network members for making this possible.
  • In addition to the ICHH contract extension, the Network – that is, Suzanne’s and my positions – will continue to be supported beyond September 30, thanks to remaining funds from the United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV).  We are incredibly grateful for their support and look forward to continuing to build our partnership.  Please click here to read the report to the United Way, which offers an overview of what we have accomplished thus far and a sampling of what lies ahead.   This report is a starting point for a more organized and developed fundraising effort that is in our immediate future.  At our next Leadership Council meeting on October 27, we will be reviewing more in-depth development and workplan proposals.
  • One Family, Inc.,  with ICHH, is sponsoring a statewide end-of-pilot-period event in Worcester on September 23rd. I have been invited to sit on a panel to speak about Network successes and challenges.  We should all feel honored by the ask!
  • I want to take this opportunity to welcome Bill Miller, executive director of Friends of the Homeless, as a new member of the Leadership Council.    As a director of the largest shelter for homeless individuals in the western region and already an active member of our individual services committee,  joining the Leadership Council is a natural extension of the collaboration currently underway.  Welcome, Bill!

As this pilot period comes to a close, we can pause to celebrate not only what we have accomplished thus far but the promise of what lies ahead.  I look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make this Network the engine for ending homelessness in our region.  Your commitment and determination are what make it possible.

Wishing you all a healthy fall season.

Director, Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness

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