Hampden County family providers and domestic violence providers and state agency representatives met on April 13 to continue the conversation about implementing a housing triage model in Hampden County and a new domestic violence pilot project.  Special thanks to Tammy Mellow and Jane Lindfors of DTA, Judith Lennett of Northnode, and Jodi Smith of the YWCA for taking the time to present about this new initiative.  We have some exciting and important work ahead.

Here are the next steps we agreed upon:

On the DV initiative: Judith Lennett will follow-up by email with everybody to settle on the best time, place and format to continue this discussion and implementation of a pilot project in Springfield around this collaboration.

Janet, Jodi, Judith and Tammy explained that this pilot project is inspired by the recognition that many domestic violence victims continue to stay in DV shelters because of lack of housing alternatives, not because of a continuing threat to their health and safety; and that a significant percentage of families in the shelter system are there because of domestic violence and could be better served with appropriate DV related services.  Better connecting DV and housing providers is essential to meeting real housing and DV service needs across the spectrum.

On the overall triage initiative: We agreed that the South Shore model is limited in its application to our region since their driving force – shelter placement outside of their region – is not a problem in the western region.  We also agreed that a top priority to effective triage is ensuring the best flow of information and assessments among all providers.  We agreed that we would meet next following our next Family Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 11th, 11 am at DMH Haskell Building in Northampton.

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