Family Services Committee Meeting Minutes – 9/14/10

In Attendance: Paul Bailey, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Jane Banks, Center for Human Development, Pam Bennett, Berkshire Community Action Council, Tammie Butler, Community Action, Karen Cavanaugh, WomanShelter, Heidi DeLeone, FOR Families, Joanne Glier, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Brad Gordon, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Yvonne Howard, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council, Jeremy Jungbluth, Square One, Fran LeMay, Greenfield Family Inn, Kim Lee, Square One, Ita Mullarkey, DHCD, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Jim Reis, HAPHousing, Misty Ruppert, YWCA, Tom Salter, New England Farm Workers Council, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Suzanne Smith, data analyst, Luz Vega, WomanShelter

Data review: Committee reviewed data collection tool.  Need working group to define diversion/prevention for recording  and tracking purposes.  Volunteers for working group:  Jane Banks, Brad Gordon, Jim Reis, Tom Salter.  Suzanne will follow-up.

Other questions to consider:  What about DV shelters?  How to include their data when it is not part of HMIS? How does this relate to new HMIS system DHCD is creating?  Consider use of initials to avoid doublecounting.

Diversion Update: Liberty Street Springfield office demand is off the charts.  NEFWC got approval for another diversion worker – starting to hire now.    Change in NEFWC staffing until new hire so that Holyoke staff person will go to Springfield to join staff person there for the afternoon.  New DHCD supervisor beginning 9/27 and will work out of Holyoke office.

The data shows the impact of diversion – how with HPRP and ICHH funds (meeting families at the front and back door), motel numbers went down.  Now with diminished resources, motel numbers are going up.  We need to emphasize that we cannot do diversion/prevention without STAFF.  Must pound away at this issue with all levels of government.


HAP: Conflict resolution services available; streamlining appointments between NEFWC at DHCD; Springfield HPRP dollars remain, focusing on diversion, and now Springfield and state ESG funds are available

WomanShelter:   diverted a family in DV situation from homelessness; emphasizes critical role of community based resources to prevent homelessness

Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority: RAFT money is available as of 10/1 – $86K – already 100 families on waiting list

Community Action: Staff of 21 down to 9, down in hours as well – ARRA money gone.  Toni in housing court on Mondays and Fridays to assist tenants and access benefits – have a little ESG money ($10,000).  Will have an arrangement with DTA to do food stamps enrollments.

Franklin County general announcement:  working with interfaith homelessness group, considering overflow shelter or providing funds for homeless individuals

Greenfield Family Inn:  Placed 6 families since July.  Stabilization is a challenge.

FOR Families:  hotel families are going up – home visitors have caseloads of approx. 50 – hoping to hire another person.

YWCA:  Transitional Living Program opens October 1st – 20 families moved in.  Interview process has started.  Open House on 9/24.

Berkshire Regional Housing Authority:  RAFT funds coming in.  Devoting a housing search person to TPP.

Square One: Requested meeting to build understanding and collaboration – Pamela will follow-up.   Jim, Tom, Heidi, Steve, Jane, Pamela will all participate.

Valley Opportunity Council:  HPRP is essentially gone.  Approaching fall fuel assistance – spread the word.    Day care slots for homeless families.

Berkshire Community Action Council: have day care slots.   Getting parenting and budgeting classes in the program.

Center for Human Development: hired full-time employee to do GED testing/training with families.  Stabilization team devoted to keeping families housed and requiring them to participate in GED and workshops.

Brainstorm for Network’s workplan for 10/1/10 – 9/30/11:

  • Network is source of leveraging resources; providers should also be sure to advise network of their own funding sources so Network can build on resources already out there
  • Data is critical – important to have a goal of data refinement; important also to collectively look at trends
  • Foster coordination and updates – identify gaps on a regional basis, create opportunities to partner, troubleshoot either among providers or between state agencies and providers; identify  barriers to service and efficiency
  • Continue to use as media and publicity vehicle
  • Broadcast savings in a community, e.g., health care and other community costs – the more we stabilize, the less burden to the community as a whole.
  • Continue collaboration with DV shelters – being around the same table has been vital and the Network is an excellent vehicle for growing this collaboration further.
  • Regional networks positioned for HEARTH Act funding?  Brad’s latest conversation with HUD suggests they will stay with CoCs.  Something to stay on top of.

Announcement:  EA reform discussion – 9/21 – part of series of statewide discussions on this issue.

Next meeting:  October 12th, 9:30 am, DMH Haskell Building, Northampton.

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