On April 15, the Network submitted its fourth quarter report to ICHH, covering January through March, 2010.  Click here for the workplan update and see below for the report highlights.  Thanks to all for your fantastic work – we are making great progress!

Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness
ICHH Fourth Quarter Report Highlights
January – March, 2010


Family Services

  • 184 families provided prevention, diversion and rapid rehousing assistance.  25 families provided diversion; 159 provided prevention.  (4th quarter benchmark: 185 families; on target to meet and exceed grant goal of 310 families)
  • The number of families living in motels in Western Mass. has dropped from 312 as of the week of January 27th to 247 by the week of April 6th.   A total of 150 families have been rehoused since July, 2009.
  • The number of homeless families in the region has increased by 51% between 2009 and 2010, as measured by the annual PIT count. This increase follows other state and national trends due to the state of the economy.
  • Family Services Committee convened monthly to facilitate exchange of new information and collaboration, including a meeting with the Department of Children and Families staff and a gathering of 30 providers across the region to discuss programmatic issues with high level DHCD and ICHH staff.
  • Collaborations flowing from the Family Services Committee include:
    • Development of a local “triage model” that will ultimately give local control of shelter and motel placement to local providers, enhancing the speed and efficiency of housing placement;
    • Coordination with Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Domestic Violence initiative to create better flow of housing assistance to homeless domestic violence victims;
    • Coordination of Emergency Shelter Grant applications among both family and individual service providers
  • Conducted consumer focus group at family congregate shelter on 2/9/10.

Individual Services

  • 18 REACH individuals in housing as of the end of the quarter; 15 were newly housed during the quarter (4th quarter benchmark: 30 individuals, total of 38 by end of grant – will meet this goal subject to available housing stock).
  • 57 homeless individuals referred to agencies.  Of these:  8 refused services, 14 ineligible and 43 enrolled in engagement process towards housing (17 in Jan, 8 in Feb and 18 in Mar.)
  • Individual Services Committee convened monthly to exchange information and establish reporting systems.  It also implemented monthly in-service trainings by experienced staff to new staff to provide mutual supervision and support.
  • Monthly sub-regional REACH meetings continue.  A total of approx. 80 providers across the four counties (between 17 and 30 in each county) convene monthly to assess services for chronically homeless.
  • The Committee, with special assistance from Jay Levy of Elliot CHS Homeless Services, organized a Bruegger’s Bagels fundraiser on 3/7/10 to support chronically homeless individuals; raised $300 to be used for supplemental move-in expenses
  • There was an 8.4% reduction in the number of homeless individuals between Jan. 2009 and Jan. 2010, as measured by the annual point in time count.

Housing Court Collaboration

  • Thanks to the continued support of Judge Fields, Network members provide regular support at Housing Court to assist tenants at risk of homelessness.
  • Housing Court “record of service forms” have been institutionalized across the region in order to track the effectiveness of providers’ presence and their interventions.
  • A second round of collaboration meetings occurred across the region to confirm provider schedule and reporting systems and to create opportunity for further exchange and discussion.

Data and Performance Measurements:

  • Data Committee met once each month during the quarter to review monthly data, the evaluation plan, housing court data collection protocols, and family and individual data and data collection protocols.
  • Evaluation plan established which lays out the measures and data sources to be used in evaluating the effect of our efforts on homelessness in the region.
  • Data Committee approved the hiring of a research assistant to help with data entry for housing court record of service documents, and database management for integration of three CoC data.  Job announcement has been posted.
  • Agreements between Regional Data Analyst and Continuas of Care have been signed and data analyst has gained access to HMIS systems for integration and creation of an analytical database for the region.  The Housing Court tracking tool that was created in the 3rd quarter has been implemented, a survey of responses was analyzed for data quality and feedback given to providers staffing housing court.  New computer and statistical software will be purchased for the network for this purpose.
  • Individual Services Progress Update template created in the last quarter has continued to be used to collect 4th quarter data.  Template is used monthly to track the movement of identified homeless individuals from prescreening to engagement to housing and follow-up.
  • Analyzed weekly shelter entries by region of Western Mass.

Community Engagement and Communications:

  • Obtained $12,500 in grant funding from Fireman Charitable Foundation to support regional event and video production.  Retained consultant Paul Robbins Associates to produce video and provide event consultation.
  • Community Engagement Committee met numerous times to plan for 4/26/10 regional event which includes guest speaker Dennis Culhane and about 170 attendees, including elected officials, business, academic and faith leaders and Network members.  This is the centerpiece of our public information and education campaign for this last quarter and next. It will also be the springboard for the Network building to be done over the coming year.
  • Local NPR affiliate (WFCR) aired a 7 minute piece on Network goals and Housing First.
  • Network continues constant use of blog as vehicle for information to network members.  Blog subscribers rose from 140 to 169 over the 4th quarter.

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