Individual Services Committee – October 25, 2012

In attendance: Carl Cignoni, Department of Corrections Re-entry program, Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office, Jason Cuyler, Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Jen Lucca, Samaratin Inn, Dave Modzelewski, network housing coordinator, Kevin Noonan, Craig’s Doors, Claudia Phillips, Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless, Joe Schroeter, Samaratin Inn, Wanda Rolon, ServcieNet, Rebecca Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Maria Yorgakopoulou, Housing for All, Kurt Zellen, VA Medical Center

Taking stock of committee mission/focus:

Noted that this committee has been the starting point for the creation of important work groups:  housing sex offenders, unaccompanied homeless youth, MissionWEST/SAMHSA, discharge protocol development, etc.  This committee is an important umbrella for all these efforts.

Brainstormed other possible foci:

  • elder service, e.g., get different elder services together and discuss their criteria for entry and service to try to create more uniformity.
  • Focus on chronically homeless individuals who are very difficult to serve, e.g., in Amherst, 5 chronically homeless individuals that have required police intervention over 500 times, costing over $27,000.  How do we create new resources/new approaches?
  • Advocacy for more affordable housing units set aside for chronically homeless individuals.
  • Discharge protocol:  conduct an organized check-in across the Network on how implementation of our protocol (adopted in Dec., 2011) is going.
  • Expand local housing authority outreach initiative to include more housing for chronically homeless individuals.  Acknowledged challenge of mixing elderly population with disabled population, and why supportive services are so critical.
  • Increase “Safe Haven” model, i.e., supportive housing, group home settings.

Use the individual services committee as a clearinghouse for ideas and possible actions.  Acknowledged limited coordinator resources (maxed out at present with current work groups and committees) but coordinator can help facilitate leadership by others.

Shelter exchange:

Learned more about Samaratin Inn: a safe, sober environment.  Must be in medical compliance.  Required to enter detox.  Samaratin is hybrid of Grove Street and emergency shelter – staffed for a 1/2 case manager position but total staff hours cut from 172 to 60 hours.   If somebody comes in with multiple needs, meeting services is incredibly challenging.  They are flexible around admission on cold winter nights.

Berkshire County update: Sheriff’s office works closely with Barton’s Crossing.  Not enough beds for homeless individuals.  Trying to develop new cot shelter (behaviorally based).  Looking for an alternative plan for people who can go somewhere for the night.

Agreed on need to meet as a shelter provider group to brainstorm challenges and solutions.  Pamela will invite Friends of the Homeless as well.  That meeting will take place on: Friday, November 9, 2-3 pm,  Samaratin Inn, 7 Free Street, Westfield

Agreed to meet bi-monthly as an individual services meeting.  Next meeting: 12/13, 9:30-11, senior center

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