Individual Services Meeting
September 27, 2012
In attendance: Kathy Buckley-Brawner, Carl Cignoni, Hampshire County Sheriff’s and Dept. of Corrections DOC, Catholic Charities, Steve Connor, Veterans Services officer, Jen Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Lisa Goldsmith, DialSELF, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connections, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Kevin Noonan, Craig’s Doors, Maureen Normand, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Wanda Rolon, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Maria Yorgakopoulou, Housing for All, Kurt Zellen, VA Medical
Summary Recap on what is going on under the umbrella of Individual Services Committee:
- Work Group to House People with Sex Offense Histories
- Work Group for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
- SAMHSA Mission West (for chronically homeless individuals with dual diagnoses of substance abuse and mental illness)
Crossover with Family Services Committee:
- Network/Local Housing Authority collaboration (currently focused on developing consortiums among LHAs to utilize DHCD resources to house homeless families)
- Workforce Development: just released RFP through Fireman Foundation to fund effort to obtain employment opportunities for HomeBASE families (DHCD rehousing assistance). While focused on families, to the extent we are creating network of job opportunities, could bear on individual services work.
Update on Youth Homelessness Work Group
Collecting data on youth in region and on youth
Reaching out to shelters re: their experience with youth population.
Sub-group met with Friends of the Homeless in Springfield – learned no distinct protocol for youth (everyone sees case manager, assessed and referred as needed), but give gap is in services for youth. 17-20% of population is under age 24. Everyone acknowledged that shelter is not the best place for homeless youth – cited need for more resources to serve this population.
Craig’s Doors, Amherst – saw roughly 8-10 homeless youth last year (about 10%).
In Amherst, for Amherst Community Connections, about 10% of people seeking services are unaccompanied homeless youth.
New focus on improving point in time counts for youth.
Special Commission on Youth Homelessness established by legislature looking at definition of population and how best to count.
MHSA youth resource directory – go to http://mhsa.net under resources to obtain guide.
Consider getting youth count from jails. Hampshire County Corrections assesses whether inmate will be homeless upon release (self-reported) and tries to provide services/referrals to prevent homelessness.
Special challenge around 17 year olds – caught in between state systems – should still get state support but frequently dismissed because they are “so close” to 18. But their needs are still dire.
Sexual orientation is a huge factor in youth homelessness (run-away homeless youth number at roughly 40%). Trying to connect more to LGBT groups.
Also seeing emergence of veteran youth homelessness. We will discuss this in the work group and incorporate this population in our effort.
Shared WMIC conversation re: recruiting college intern to work on regional youth count. Will pick up discussion at next work group meeting. Will check in with Andrea Miller, data analyst, re: best use of intern for data colletion.
Focus work group as clearinghouse for data collection on this population. Contact Pamela with additional ideas and thoughts.
Domus: administers SROs in Westfield through HAP, but must go through HAP’s wait list which is long and cumbersome (and under DHCD constraints). Ann Lentini is organizing meeting next week with HAP, DHCD to address this to see if they can use their own wait list.
Steve Connor, Veterans Services Officer: serves on state group for veteran sex offenders. Went to treatment facility in Bridgewater for presentation on treatment model. Steve will relay presentation to Pamela who will provide to committee. One point emphasized in presentation: if no one is there to pick up ex-offender, treatment plan not likely to be followed. State group is trying to come up with housing plan for continuing treatment for sex offenders. Steve will keep us posted.
Jerry Ray posed question of whether DHCD’s recent RFR for reprocurement of 1,500 housing units includes language on housing Level 3s. Pamela will follow-up.
Just added 6 more beds for women. Shelters a total of 22, formerly 16 beds, and Selectboard authorized an additional 6 beds for women only. Will require more coordination with Northampton since if there are women in Northampton who are willing to go to Amherst, may ask women to go to Amherst so more capacity overall.
Required by town to use hand-held metal detector. Will frame it as safety based for all.
Craig’s Doors fundraiser: Whole Foods sponsoring grills and meat on 10/6, between 11 am and 2 pm, all sales of products going to shelter. Received 10% cut in CDGB funds (100K to 90K), but must hire case manager, so must fundraise.
Preparing for Interfaith cot shelter opening for 11/1. 20 beds. As of 10/1, Drop-In Center will no longer serve breakfast/lunch or provide showers. Meals available in community on all other days (except Friday, working on that). Will focus on case management, working on referrals, providing more services. Only 2 staff – Wanda and Mike Trembley – for case management. People are getting message and responding by engaging more with case management. Hours are 9 am -3 pm Tues-Friday, 9 am – noon on Monday. Received permission from landlord to lease for one more year under these conditions.
Samaratin Inn – want to better understand who and how they accept people into their beds. More restrictive. 30 beds, 20 for men, 10 for women, plus 7 overflow unfunded beds. Pamela will initiate a meeting with Samaratin Inn with shelters – Kevin, Wanda, Jay.
Mercy Medical Center Health Care for the Homeless – High End Utilizer Grant – working with people who use ER excessively – good successes working with patients. Case manager working with them, working one on one, to help address why they are going into the hospital. 5 hospitals participating – 40 people enrolled by end of year (26 enrolled right now). 3 year grant, funded by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
For next meeting agenda: discuss outreach to Holyoke for both shelter and housing discussion.
Next meeting: 10/25, 9:30-11:00 am, Northampton Senior Center