Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes:  May 10, 2011

In attendance:  Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Alvina Brevard, DHCD, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Cris Carl, ServiceNet/Greenfield Family Inn, Karen Cavanaugh, Womanshelter, Martha Cutt, Department of Public Health, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers Council, Heidi DiLeone, DPH FOR Families, Dawn DiStefano, YWCA, Charity Doug, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Joanne Glier, FCRHRA, Toni Hochstadt, Community Action, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Mary Johnson, YWCA, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Ashley McGurn, DPH FOR Families, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Sarah Smith, Safe Passage, Rachel Trant, DCF, Luz Vega, Womanshelter, Nina Vitello, UMass Boston Institute for Community DTA project

Discussion of EA Reform:

Continued concerns about relationship of DV system to DHCD shelter system.

DV providers are extremely concerned that they are not around the table discussing how to set up appropriate services/safety plan for families.  Without appropriate support, “it is throwing money down the sewer” since this is not about simply paying the rent.  They will be homeless again in 6 months without necessary supports.  2 DV community workers in all of Hampden County.  There is no way they can take on an influx of new families arising from EA reform.

Peter Gagliardi:  the larger issue is the lack of affordable housing.  Waiting list of 22,000 for subsidies.  This reform is a band aid.  The idea is to transform a shelter system (becoming a motel system) into a housing system.  We need to engage with each others as a network to make the shift work at its best.  How do we make the resources move to the places where families need them?  We need to connect families to necessary supports.

DHCD goal is to focus on housing, not specialized services.   Dependent on referrals and linkages.

Stabilization piece:  first objective:  do what is necessary to keep them in their apartment.  Coordinating linkages to other services.  Regional housing authorities will contract with shelter providers on stabilization.

DV is a case study of the ways we’re going to need to collaborate in order to have success moving forward.  Need to find a way to link with state agencies.

Use instances to push for movement in DV system.

Need to break the false divide between DV shelter and DHCD shelter – how families in DV are not eligible for DHCD subsidies – makes no sense.

Tammie:  the Network should seek private funds to create a  pilot project to model what we want to do – to break down systems between DCF and DHCD – demonstrate the cross-over.  Group agreed to discuss this further at subsequent meeting.

Also agreed we need to bring together housing authorities around HomeBase.  Pamela said she has been in touch with Judge Abrashkin of Springfield Housing Authority and Lizbeth Heyer of DHCD and will follow-up with them on this agenda.

Next meeting: June 14, 1-2:30 pm, New England Farm Workers Council, 225 High Street, Holyoke (note: subject to change depending on scheduling of statewide DHCD HomeBase meeting – will confirm ASAP).

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