Minutes of 1/7/10 Steering Committee Meeting

Attendance at 1/7/10 Steering Committee:
Father Stan Aksamit, Jane Banks, Joanne Glier, Erica Johnson, Peg Keller, Gerry McCafferty, Andrea Miller, Yasmin Otero, Liz Sullivan, Suzanne Smith, Pamela Schwartz
Regrets: Dave Christopolis, Evan Dobelle

Decisions made:

Family Services Contract Amendment

  • The Steering Committee voted to amend family services contracts to eliminate the tiers as the basis for family grants and instead create a maximum grant of $5,500 per family, the exact amount to be awarded based on the individual circumstance of each family, our other established criteria (e.g., income levels) and the discretion of the agency.  The number of families to be served by each sub-grantee will be based on an average grant of $3,000 per family.  We all acknowledged that the tiers are useful for purposes of tracking the families seeking assistance, but they are too restrictive as a basis for determining their funding needs.  In the spirit of this pilot project, we piloted something and we learned its limits!  Erica Johnson of PVPC will submit the amendment to Liz Curtis and DHCD and amend sub-contracts accordingly.

Leadership Council/Steering Committee Membership

  • In view of Andrea Miller’s job change to CHD and her resulting exit as co-chair of the individual services committee, Jay Levy, regional manager of Eliot Services, has agreed to take her place as co-chair of this committee (and therefore as a member of the steering committee).  The Steering Committee unanimously agreed to invite Jay to the Leadership Council and to welcome Jay on to this committee. Note: Jay accepted the invitation!
  • The Steering Committee finalized the vote of Lynne Wallace as chair and Father Stan Aksamit as vice chair of the Leadership Council (LC).  This is in response to LC member Charlie Knight’s concern that at our last LC meeting we only voted to nominate Lynne and Father Stan but failed to actually vote them into office.  So for the record at this meeting:  Yasmin moved that Lynne become Chair and Father Stan become Vice Chair; Peg seconded the motion and all voted “aye!”

Relationship of 10 year plans to end homelessness and Network

  • We had a hearty conversation about the relationship of the Network to the three 10 year plans to end homelessness in our region (Springfield; Pioneer Valley – Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin Counties – and Berkshire County). Springfield has an independent leadership council charged with the mission of implementing its 10 year plan which, in view of Springfield’s size and singular geographic focus, continues to be necessary.  The Pioneer Valley 10 year plan was completed at about the time this Network planning got underway and as a result is being implemented entirely in the context and under the umbrella of the Network.   We all agreed this makes good sense in view of the broad and diverse geographical expanse of the 3 counties involved in the 10 year plan.   The Berkshire Leadership Council, while having a separate committee, also has extensive overlap with the Network, and is presently faced with the challenge of insufficient staffing to further pursue its particular agenda separate from the Network.  We agreed that the Network will incorporate the 10 year plans in its language and presentation, at minimum by simply making explicit what is implicit:  the 10 year plans are part and parcel of the Network’s agenda.

Update on  Community Event in April

  • I updated the committee on the community engagement committee’s decision to organize a community wide event in late April to draw attention to the Network’s impact thus far and to energize us for what lies ahead.  We are pursuing speakers at the moment and will keep everyone posted.

The Role of the Leadership Council in Advocacy

  • We discussed the appropriate role of the Steering Committee/Leadership Council in signing off on advocacy letters re: funding and other policy issues.  We agreed that the Leadership Council would be a vehicle for distributing these letters to the Network as a whole but would not sign off on these letters as the LC itself (both for complications with state agency staff and for the effectiveness of our efforts).  Instead, the LC will take stock of the legislative agenda and make a deliberate decision to focus its resources on a particular issue for a particular outcome.  We will continue this conversation over the course of our coming meetings.

Allocation of Citizens Bank Grant of $33,333
After a good discussion, we agreed that the most effective and efficient allocation of the Citizens Bank donation of $33,333 to the Network would be to distribute it equally among all family service providers (this decision was made after the funded providers left the meeting).  Each provider will receive $5,555.00 to do prevention or rehousing work among needy families.   Erica will be in touch with each organization about the administration and distribution of these funds.

Next meeting:  Thursday, Feb. 4th 3:30- 5pm, DMH Haskell Building.
Primary agenda item:  review and approve workplan benchmarks for the remaining 3 quarters of the grant.

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.