Individual Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 2/16/12

In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Department, Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet, Gena Dube, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corp., Lisa Goldsmith, DialSELF, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Community Connection, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Dave Modzelewski, MHA, Claudia Phillips, Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless, Laura Quinn, Craig’s Doors, Angel Recchia, Franklin County Home Care Corp., Wanda Rolon, ServiceNet

Discussion of elder homelessness:  Elderlyis defined by most agencies at 62.  There is concern about the individuals who are younger than that but still old enough to need additional care and to have more limited job opportunities.

Use of vulnerability index:  anyone over 60 is considered higher risk.  Higher priority.  New elders new to homelessness starting to appear.  Chronic homeless population getting older, adding to elderly population.

In context of housing first, the goal is to triage to find housing or transitional housing.  Goal is not to mix with younger population.

Because of prioritization for elders in public housing, it can be a very short wait. Part  of the challenge is to look regionally (although frequently individuals do not want to be moved out of community).  If complicated medical issues and doctors in one community, it’s very difficult to live in a different community.

Discussion of elder services agencies.  “Aging Services Access Points,” administered under Exec. Office of Elder Affairs.  West Mass (Holyoke), Highland Valley Services (Northampton), Franklin County Home Care Corp, Berkshire Elder Services. Franklin County Home Care Corp works closely with Greenfield and Franklin Regional housing authority – part of multi-disciplinary assessment team that determines best housing match for individuals.

Key is to get individual referrals to elder services agencies so they can help facilitate support prior to getting housed, to facilitate transition (with appointments, doctor visits, etc.).

Agreed action step:

Invite service agencies to next meeting to discuss how we can work together to better serve elderly homeless individuals.

Franklin County will outreach to Mass West and Berkshire Elder Services.
ServiceNet will reach out to Highland Valley Services.

Agreed to meet next on Thurs., 3/22 at 11 am – 12:30 pm.

Also discussion of housing authority involvement in this outreach effort.  Pamela noted that the issue of bringing in housing authorities is one that concerns every aspect of the Network and it has long been a desire to bring together housing authorities and build connections between their work and Network efforts.

Agreed on action step:  plan for 4 county housing authority meeting.  Tentative date:  May 3, 2012, 10 am.  Pursue Holyoke Community College for meeting location.  Will bring to steering committee for confirmation.

Also discussed need  to get input from DHCD.  Will invite them to this meeting.

Budget update:

Tenancy Preservation Project and Home and Healthy for Good received substantial increases.  Discussed “housing first” shift in Governor’s budget.  Will discuss Springfield Friends of the Homeless budget amendment regarding a more equitable daily reimbursement rate at next meeting.

Springfield Health Dept. just imposed significant cuts on Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless.  Will check in with Doreen to determine if Network can assist.

Unaccompanied homeless youth working group:  met for the first time last week, next meeting date tentatively 3/28.  Inviting more state agencies (DCF, DMH, DYS) to begin brainstorm on collaboration re: housing resources for this population.

Housing sex offenders working group: Follow-up meeting with faith leaders and providers is scheduled for Wed., 3/14, 10 am – 12 noon, College Church, 58 Pomeroy Terrace, Northampton.  Agenda includes special guests Fred Smith of St. Francis House and Rosa Blair, housing manager in Springfield, both leaders in successful housing models for sex offenders.  Will also present draft action plan to group re: next steps in outreach to friendly landlords/affordable housing groups.

 Shelter update

Amherst shelter at capacity

Interfaith shelter under capacity for last week.

Samaratin Inn 5 or 6 under capacity but more full than the month prior.

Aware of 4/30 shelter end date approaching (for Amherst and interfaith shelter ) – working hard on finding housing for individuals.

Next meeting dates:
Thursday, March 22, 11 am – 12:30 pm, location to be confirmed (time shift due to conflict that Thurs.  Will revisit regular meeting date/time at next meeting).
Tentative housing authority meeting date: Thursday, May 3, 2012.

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