Family Services Meeting Minutes, 3/1/11

In attendance:  Jane Banks, CHD, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Cris Carl, Heidi DeLeone, FOR Families, Family Inn, Ken Demers, New England Family Workers Council, Peter Gagliardi, HAPHousing, Joanne Glier, Franklin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Mary Johnson, YWCA, Fran LeMay,  Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA-domestic violence unit, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Jay Sacchetti, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Robin Sherman, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Tama Vincent, Institute of Health Recovery

Brainstorm on EA reform:

Push on staff/client ratio (35 to 1) – too big in view of complexity and number of actual people in each family

Push on staff to administer program

TPP model is instructive – ratio is 10 to 15/1 – link client to resources over 12 months.  Realistic and effective – great research on it.

Need good assessment so resources are apportioned effectively (some families will need $8K, some won’t).

One proposal:  Minimal level for each sub-region to make program viable.  One full-time assessment person, one full-time case manager, one full-time person to administer subsidy.

Franklin County:  proposes that where people are placed is determined by HRA.  Placement determined by needs of the family not by where there is an opening.

Berkshire County:  offers “central office” approach since no DHCD worker there and BCRHA/BHDC operates as central clearinghouse.

Can local entity be empowered to make decision on placement?  This is happening in the South Shore.

Everyone agreed:  having DHCD workers with provider staff is ideal way to ensure efficient and effective allocation of resources.  Agreed that each county’s HCEC (Housing Consumer Education Center) will be point organization for facilitating this dialogue in each county.  Breakdown is as follows:

Berkshire County:  Berkshire Housing Development Corporation (with Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority)

Franklin County: Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority (with ServiceNet and Community Action)

Hampden/Hampshire Counties:  HAPHousing (with New England Farm Workers Council, Center for Human Development, Valley Opportunity Council and others).

Note:  must pay attention to Hampshire County and inaccessibility to DHCD office.  Look to Franklin/Berkshire Counties for experience in dealing with remote locations.

Is DHCD going to purchase teen beds that have gone off-line due to lack of funding.  How to bring DV, teen parent providers into the fold.  Need to allow DV women to be eligible for HomeBase.  Follow-up with DHCD on this.

Ask Bob:  follow-up on western mass numbers on young moms.

Families sheltered in current DV situations – how to deal with safety?

Not enough capacity for teens and DV.  Going to need more capacity, not less.
How to get DV support. Existing DV capacity that is not being used?  Need to find it.

DHCD paying rent to DTA for office space – can DHCD pay rent to provider instead to relocate workers at a provider office.

Assessments:  DHCD, DCF, DTA DV assessment, provider’s assessment – must coordinate, condense and simplify flow of info among agencies/providers.

Committee agreed:  must work carefully with messaging around this change so system is not flooded.  Make clear that this is not an entitlement to 3 years of HomeBase.  Completely varied assistance based on particular needs and efforts at self-sufficiency.  Must support families with clear message that they are capable of helping themselves; that providers are here to provide support to get them on their own way.  Must ensure accountability, incentives.  Must push on vocational and educational programs; must push on child care, must allow flexibility to link up families in system to these supports or system will help them fail, not succeed.

Push ICHH for inter-agency coordination around resources.

Legislator outreach/advocacy:  Keep track of legislator outreach.  Will send Pamela list of who has talked with whom. Message to stress:  this reform will get us better outcomes, not necessarily cheaper ones.  Shifting resources.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, March 15, 9:30 – 11:30 am, DMH Haskell Building, Northampton.  We will have guests from Mass. Law Reform Institute and Mass. Coalition for the Homeless to exchange perspectives and advocacy approaches around the proposed EA reform.

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