Family Services Committee Meeting – 1/10/11
In Attendance: Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Joni Beck-Brewer, Square One, Alvina Brevard, DHCD, John Busbin, Community Legal Aid, Cris Carl, ServiceNet, Karen Cavenaugh, WomanShelter, Charity Day, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Luz DeJesus, New England Farm Workers, Heidi Dileone, DPH FORFamilies, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Toni Hochstadt, Community Action, Steve Huntley, VOC, Mary Johnson, YWCA, Kimberly Lee, Square One, Fran LeMay, ServiceNet, Ashley McGurn, DPH FOR Families, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Stephen Plummer, Springfield Partners, Jim Reis, HAP, Cindy Rodolakis, Chicopee Public Schools, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Rachel Trant, DCF, Luz Vega, WomanShelter, Jean Williams, West Springfield Public Schools,
HAP announcement: tornado relief funds available. Please see HAP to determine if qualified.
Because of end of rental subsidy component as of 10/28, numbers in motels going up. Click here
for attachments that Jim Reis provided outlining situation (thank you, Jim!). What to do for families in motels/shelters post 10/28?
Jim visited CT – even bleaker situation. Virtually no state support at all.
Discussed overflow shelter concept. Being considered in MA, e.g., after determined shelter capacity is reached, instead of motels, go to overflow shelter (more barebones, fewer services). Likely to be controversial. Heads-up to Network – should be prepared to consider position on this.
What are families arriving post 10/28 being told? It will be a longer wait (post 7/1, new fiscal year).
Discussion of whether household assistance ($4K) would still be useful to some of those families. DHCD noted that there is support on an individual basis if sustainability is established.
Another gap in sevices – those with some disabilities who can’t sustain apt. without assistance. Need supportive housing. CT has a great model for family supportive housing.
FOR Families: 4 home visitors for 400 families in hotels. Attempting case management but inherently limited. Addressing families immediately upon entry to assess immediate needs. If working with HomeBASE, FOR families do not manage. Working with compliance issues. Challenging to come up with organized way to provide support because such a chaotic situation, e.g., needs to get food stamps quicker to ensure adequate food supply; need a way to get diapers quickly. Linkages to services are key, e.g., if child is in child care, they will get additional support.
Transportation a huge issue. Motels have no responsibility.
Consider “tornado approach” to motels – coordinated response to multi-faceted services.
Families must be involved/invested in their stabilization plans. They need some kind of ownership. While we lack case management, families need to be able to complete tasks and report back. Need to ask what they need/want, so they can get invested.
Not enough GEDs, not enough therapists. Current discussions with CHD on GED training near/in motels. CHD training staff in congregate shelters to provide GED training.
Many Hampshire County families ending up in Hamdpen County. Additional burden from shifting south. What resources can Hampshire County providers offer? (note: this comment posed by Hampshire County provider)
Jane Lindfors: in prior iteration – when EA under DTA – there was a “Matt team” – a team approach with multiple agencies involved with families.
Agreed: will hold a meeting to focus on building motel support system. Kim Lee of Square One volunteered to use an ongoing weekly meeting with many relevant people as the forum for this conversation. Pamela will follow-up to schedule and will provide committee notice.
Leadership Council – Mayor outreach
Anticipate hotel conversation. Avoid debate with DHCD.
Emphasize the community nature of this problem – a public health issue. Everyone has a stake.
Anticipate topic on transportation funds – housing is the appropriate response.
This is an opportunity to build as a region, create collaboration.
An ask of mayors: commitment to continue meeting…
Pose the question of how do they think homelessness is impacting their community? Perhaps put it in writing since it would take too much talking time to go one by one. But getting their thoughts would be great.
Next meeting: 2/14, 1-2:30 pm., New England Farm Workers Council