Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – May 8, 2012

In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Pam Bennett, Berkshire Community Action Council, Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Public Schools, Cris Carl, ServiceNet, Karen Cavanaugh, WomanShelter, Marcia Crutchfield, HAP, Ken Demers, New England Farm Workers, Jen Dieringer, Community Legal Aid, Harry Duschesne, New England Farm Workers Council, Anthia Elliott, Safe Passage, Nancy Foster, Berkshire Community Action Council, Steve Huntley, VOC, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet/Greenfield Family Inn, Jane Lindfors, DTA – DV unit, Melissa Marlowe, DPH For Families, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Natalie Shemmanian, Community Legal Aid, Denise Sortino, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Rachel Trant, DCF, Luz Vega, WomanShelter

DHCD shelter contract update:  On a one month funding cycle until July 1.

ESG application update (due today):  Community Action – VOC, Franklin County Regional Housing, HAP, Community Legal Aid – $500,000 – for homelessness prevention – security deposits, rental arrearages, up to $4K, eviction defense work

Berkshire CoC-  allocating $80,000 for prevention.

Springfield CoC – allocating towards prevention for individual homelessness.

Hampden County Motel Task Force Update:

Steve Huntley, VOC:  project experimenting with 2 pilots:  one bringing services to hotels; the other bringing residents out of hotels to a “fair” site.  Number of families seeking services is on the rise.  Collaboration continues.

Franklin County Motel Situation:  Charity Day, Franklin County Regional Housing Authority:  currently 32 families in motels (58 children) – all time high.  Negotiated with hotel managers to use room for meetings, assessments, referrals.  Convened large meeting with service providers to create community fair to provide services, access to resources, eg WIC program, food stamps, summer programs.  Recent closure of Social Security office creates a huge barrier.  Circumstances for families – motels on rotary, only a parking lot to play in – are terrible.  Collaboration and commitment among providers are excellent.

FOR Families:  received resumes for home visitor position in Western Mass.  Will be interviewing at end of month.  Final candidate selected to replace coordinator (Heidi).  Hope to have this person start in June.  Going through HR process.

Budget update:

Provided update on budget – compared Governor’s and House budget.  Urged personal advocacy in support of Governor’s budget and network funding.  Also urged support of school transportation funding (in House budget).

Housing Authority Update

Provided update on housing authority collaboration meeting on 5/3.  Very successful.  Great turn-out of close to 100, 15 housing authorities, broad cross-section of providers.  Next meeting date in flux (initially stated 6/14 but conflicts have arisen so may change to 6/18 – please stay tuned). Encouraged participation and support of effort.

Agency Updates:

HAP: received a MEMA grant for 3 recovery groups (Brimfield, West Springfield, Springfield) – 3 new workers hired.  Resources available until 6/30 and then beyond through MEMO grant.  Peter and Jim in statewide HomeBASE and RAFT working groups.

WomanShelter:  looking for advocate dedicated to working for people at risk of homelessness.  Accepting applications.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, June 12, 1-2:30 pm, NEFWC

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