As part of its response to the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness’ funding opportunity, the Network proposed the creation of a “Rapid Response Diversion Team” in Hampden County.  This meeting signals the launch of this part of the Network’s comprehensive effort to divert families from homelessness.

Rapid Response Diversion Team Meeting Minutes: 1/10/11

In attendance:  Alvina Brevard, DHCD, Marcia Crutchfield, HAPHousing, David Geld, Square One, Jane Lindfors, DTA domestic violence, Synthia Mitchell, Springfield Partners, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Carmen Roman, DCF, Doris Rosario, Womanshelter, Tom Salter, NEFWC, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Jodi Smith, YWCA, Luz Vega, WomanshelterTom Salter, NEFWC, update on diversion efforts at DHCD office:  $80K HPRP funding remaining to divert families.  Already reached contract goal.  Every family entitled to 18 months of service – can be financial assistance and/or follow-up service.  Max amount is 6K.  Families have to be EA eligible and demonstrate sustainability.  Holyoke office:  flow is about 80 families each month.  Out of 80, maybe 27 applications taken.  Springfield:  average 300/month; about 127 applications taken.  DHCD staff does triage assessment to determine whether can be diverted or placed in shelter.  If eligible for shelter placement, DCF notified.  DCF assessments conducted within 48 hours – will receive disposition of 1, 2, 3 – family with 1 will be placed, with 2 or 3 will not necessarily be placed.  Disposition 1 = DV, risk of losing a subsidy, severe health and safety (overcrowding).  Disposition 2 = some risk but with some support, shelter placement can be avoided.  Disposition 3 = less risk, shelter placement can be avoided.  DCF:  Out of 10 families, 9 are disposition 1, e.g., 10 people living in 2 bedroom place.

What percentage of families eligible could stay another week?  Sometimes DCF can negotiate 2-3 days from primary tenant, at most a week.

Push on HAP mediation – incentive: if you participate in this, possible incentive for assistance.

Springfield Partners budget classes, financial literacy, credit counseling – should that be required to continue to receive assistance (was done for RAFT)?

Healthy Families  (Square One) can serve pregnant, parenting teens living in motels.  DHCD needs to speak with Healthy Families staff.  DHCD and Healthy Families will follow-up and learn more about each other.  Healthy Families has 13 home visitors (4 bilingual, 2 men) can take up to 250 families.  Eligibility = under 21 and first time parent.  Services provided from pre-natal to 3 years.  Strength-based program – working them through referrals to get GED, housing, job placement, credit counseling.  To refer families, contact David Geld, 413-858-3120.  Can email referral form, within 24 hours will be in touch with that family.

YWCA also has program for teen parents; can pick up services for second sibling (Healthy Families only funds first child). YWCA and Square One will email me criteria for support services and I will email out to group.

Next meeting:  Monday, January 31, 2011, 10 am, HAP office, 322 Main Street

For next meeting agenda:  Who do we need at the diversion teams at the local office, e.g.,  DHCD, DCF, DTA domestic violence, DTA teen unit, HAP mediation, NEFWC – develop assessment tool to pull all criteria for resources/referrals

Diversion phase 1, stabilization phase 2 – eventually will bifurcate but now recognize the fluid nature of both and will continue to meet together.  Need universal release form, will address this at next meeting as well.


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