Individual Services Committee Meeting – 12/15/11

 In attendance: Marge Barrett-Mills, Treehouse Foundation,  Steve Connor, Central Hampshire Veteran Services, Danielle DeBerry, Grove Street and Cot shelter, Ben Cluff, DPH,  Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/Self, Hewi-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Dave Modzelewski, Mental Health Association, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Laura Quinn, Craigs Door, Reikka Simula Gooden, Housing for All, Ruth Taylor, Town of Amherst, Rani Turner, Treehouse Foundation/DCF, Kurt Zellen, Northampton VAMC,

Emergency Shelter Update

Friends of the Homeless, Springfield:  Bill sent his regrets but his update via email stated that the shelter has been running at capacity (not over capacity).  “No rhyme or reason” to the up and down flow.
Samaratin Inn, Westfield:  Jay reported that he learned that the shelter had 10 empty beds the night before.  Danielle reported she had called last night and was told there were no beds available. Danielle will follow-up to clarify communication chain.  Led to general discussion of Samaratin Inn restrictions and variables involved in making access more difficult.  Also an issue of individuals not wanting to go to Westfield (more far afield).  Peg will contact shelter director to discuss potential for fewer restrictions and consider follow-up with city CDGB people.
Craig’s Door, Amherst: full capacity.  There was a little dip but essentially full capacity.  Consistent 12-13 returning.  A small window for new arrivals.  Works on referrals when over capacity.  On average turns away 4-6/night.
Cot Shelter, Northampton – 2 nights ago had to turn away 11 people, last night 17 people (3 open beds) initially, then full, but not over-capacity.  Fluctuating numbers.  New faces. Total 26 beds (between cot shelter and annex).  Virtually always at capacity. 1/2 women.  Some people coming from Springfield.  Significant mental health issues.
Holyoke Outreach Update
Pamela reported that David Gadaire of Career Point, a member of the Network’s Leadership Council and long-term colleague of Holyoke Mayor-elect Morse, reached out to Mayor Morse on behalf of the Network.  The Mayor is happy to meet and learn more about our efforts.  The Leadership Council also agreed to host all the mayors of the region at its next Council meeting on 1/25 in Springfield.  We will invite representatives from all cities and major towns (including Amherst).  We will attempt to meet with Mayor Morse prior to 1/25 to lay the groundwork for additional discussion around Holyoke participation in the emergency shelter system.  Please stay tuned.
Housing Sex Offenders Work Group
Update on faith-based and provider gathering to expand coalition that will take place on:
Wed., 2/1
10 am – 12 noon
College Church, 58 Pomeroy Terrace, Northampton
Please click here for invitation.  Please let Pamela know if you have personal/professional relationships with faith-based leaders across the 4 regions, especially if in Holyoke or the Berkshires.  Please let Pamela know if you plan to attend.  Thank you for support of this important undertaking.
SAMHSA Grant Update
Pamela gave a summary of the UMass grant:  $1 million for clinicial services for chronically homeless individuals who suffer from both substance abuse and mental health disorders.  We must house/serve 35 individuals this year, 50 next year, 30 the year following.  Behavioral Health Network is the lead provider, Soldier On will serve veterans; Network is a provider of facilitation and network analysis.  BHN will hopefully have hired and trained staff by January so the program will be ready to enroll individuals by then.  Enrollment will be facilitated through the REACH meetings and REACH group.  Please click here for referral form.
Unaccompanied Youth
Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services: Trying to figure out appropriate place for the homelessness prevention among unaccompanied youth.  Very compelling since unaccompanied homeless youth can evolve into
Rani Turner: Treehouse Foundation:  Announcement around Speak Out Team Event on 12/28 and 12/29, 9 am – 4 pm, at Treehouse Community Center, Easthampton.  RSVP to [email protected] or Kerry at Treehouse at 413-527-7966.
Part of larger mission of reenvisioning foster care – involved in kids transitioning and aging out – how to get new programs started – dialogue with DCF is ongoing.  Starting regionally and hope to evolve nationally.
DIAL/Self – in Greenfield, 10 units.  Very successful.  How to make more of these housing options available.
Peg:  this is a HUD priority as well – the next population to focus on for discharge planning (this version of “discharge” being from the foster care system).  Should we as a network take on this issue, create a working group on the topic?
Consensus to do so:  Rani Turner and Lisa Goldsmith will co-lead with Pamela.  Pamela will be in touch with them to get working group launched.
Next meeting:  Thursday, 1/19, 10 am – 11:30 am – Northampton Senior Center to be confirmed.

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