Triage meeting re: Hampden County local control over shelter placement – 6/24/10

Attendance:  Jane Banks, CHD, Karen Cavanaugh, Womanshelter, Martha Ceplikas, DHCD, Steve Huntley, VOC, Eneida, Madho, DCF, Ita Mullarkey, DHCD, Shannon Porter, HAP, Jim Reis, HAP, Tom Salter, NEFWC,  Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jodi Smith, YWCA, Luz Vega, WomanShelter, Janette Vigo, YWCA, Lauren Voyer, HAP

DHCD vision (Ita): no single model on local control over shelter placement, looking to decentralize and allow for local control; nothing scripted, up to us how to decide how it would work best.  Recognizes the very big differences between South Shore and Western Mass in terms of number of shelters, number of providers and number of at-risk and homeless families.

Local DHCD office does not have resources to manage shelter placement.  Ita recommends lead agency(ies) take responsibility for placements;  come up with a plan: what do we need, how much would it cost, devise a budget.

Barbara Duffy, temporarily in charge of shelter placement in central office – she is the appropriate contact person for feedback as we devise our plan.  Any proposal would go to Bob, Ita, Barbara.

Current placement by central DHCD office in this region is going smoothly.  Shelter transfers are much more challenging since there is a long wait list for transfers (factors of disability, DV, etc.).

Local Control Plan Brainstorm:

  • Current NEFWC diversion staff in Holyoke and Springfield offices could handle”front door” placement decisions
  • Address motels – need to figure out who handles placement from motels to shelters (HAP because they are working in motels now?)
  • Assessments/intakes – need to address duplication – also address with local control
  • Need to ensure focus stays on serving clients’ real needs to become self-sufficient and to obtain housing, e.g., ensure placement is near GED facility if seeking GED – but with longer-term vision since ultimate goal is a  short-term shelter stay
  • Consider issue of “conflict of interest” to have a shelter provider decide shelter placements

In preparation for next meeting: HAP and CHD provide shelter breakdown to NEFWC, along with additional components (e.g., what their shelters offer in terms of workshops, staff availability), etc.  Will ask DV shelters to do the same.

Next meeting:  July 19, 1 pm, Holyoke DTA office , 3rd floor conference room.  Goal:  finalize initial proposal for local control

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