Family Services Committee Meeting – January 11, 2011

In attendance:  Jane Banks, CHD, Pam Bennett, BCAC, Cris Carl, Family Inn, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Steve Como, Soldier On, Joanne Glier, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Brad Gordon, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority, Toni Hochstadt, Community Action, Mary Reardon Johnson, YWCA, Fran LeMay, LaWanza Lett-Brewington, Safe Passage, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of S pringfield, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Tom Salter, NEFWC, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Suzanne Smith, data analyst

Housing Resource Development Team:  Discussed how best to implement this aspect of our ICHH funding proposal.   Agreed that effort requires a regional umbrella while implementation would occur on a sub-regional level.   Pamela provided update of conversations with Lizbeth Heyer of DHCD and Chicopee Mayor Bissonnette who has volunteered to host a meeting of Hampden and Hampshire County housing authorities.  Will also explore including Franklin and Berkshire (but distance may make separate meetings more effective).  Lizbeth will be in touch with Pamela after the release of the Governor’s budget around the best timing for this meeting.  Further discussion of next steps will await this conversation.  We also agreed we need to pick up the thread of outreach to property management companies and large landlords.  Pamela will be in touch with DHCD contact on this piece of the initiative as well.


VA Funding Opportunity: Steve Como of Soldier On/Rebecca Muller of Grantworks shared news of a funding opportunity re:  supportive services for veteran families through VA.  Modeled after HPRP program.  About $50 million available nationwide.  Maximum award is $1 million.  For veteran families with very low-income – not for active service duty members.  % allocated for those residing in permanent housing at risk of losing it; larger percentage for those folks who are homeless now or are in transitional housing.  Includes services:  outreach, case management, coordinating benefits, access to mainstream benefits.  Approx. 30% of grants can be used for flex funds for diversion or rehousing.  Looking for collaboration with network and family providers.

Beginning with hypothesis:  vet families are undercounted.  Develop a triage tool for family providers to use to identify these families.  First stage is discovery:  what are family providers seeing?

Rebecca will host a meeting of a sub-group of family providers interested in exploring collaboration on this project, which will include:  Tom Salter, Mary Johnson, Jane Banks, Brad Gordon, Jim Reis, Cris Carl, Joanne Glier , Lizzy Ortiz, LaWanza, Pam  Bennett.  Note:  Tammie Butler and Toni Hochstadt of Community Action did not volunteer because they have no case management staff to lend to this effort.  Rebecca will discuss this issue further with them

Center for Human Development: Inauguration celebration for people completing GED program.  A fantastic event.  New people enrolled in GED program now – will do twice/year.  Pamela will relay upcoming opportunities to share in this celebration.

Franklin County Housing Authority: closing Section 8 wait list at the end of this month.   Franklin County Interfaith Council has met and began a program for funding individuals and families:  $500 for people moving out of shelter; $300 for arrearages.  Referral person: John Crimmins at ServiceNet.

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority: co-locating to 1 Fenn Street with Berkshire Housing Development Corp at a new office.  Will have a client resource center and will host other agencies (DTA domestic violence staff person, mental health agencies).

Suzanne Smith, data analyst, provided motel/shelter updates:

Motel families at 876 as of today.  30 new families each day.  Time is ripe for EA reform.  Announcement from DHCD re: significant reforms due later this week.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, February 8, 1-2:30 pm, Center for Human Development, 51 Capital Drive, West Springfield

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