Individual Services Meeting Minutes
October 3, 2013

In attendance:  Carl Cignoni, Hampshire Sheriff’s Office/DOC Re-entry, Marcia Crutchfield, community, Karen Dean, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department,  Christina Densmore, ARISE, Steve Flynn, VA Springfield, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Charlie Knight, consumer, Jay Levy, Elliot CHS- Homeless Services, Jeffrey Langlois, Providence Ministries, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network housing coordinator, Kevin Noonan, Craig’s Doors, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Wanda Rolon, ServiceNet, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Delphin Wray, Friends of the H omeless

Coordinated Intake and Assessment

Gerry McCafferty presented on HUD’s new CoC requirement to implement a CoC-wide coordinated intake and assessment plan by August, 2014.

To orient us to the effort, she shared this HUD video, which can be found here:


Agreed that our region is already fairly advanced in its coordination, thanks to our monthly REACH meetings and the level of relationships and collaboration that exist.

Discussed best approach, e.g., a 211 number, a central site, or a “no wrong door” approach (i.e., every provider is in position to make best referral).  Agreed that due to our geography and relationships, “no wrong door” is likely the best fit.  Also could consider a combined approach of central phone number AND “no wrong door.”

Discussed the development of the Housing Options Tool (HOT), created by Andrea Miller as part of the SAMHSA grant with UMass (that provides clinical support services to individuals with dual diagnoses of mental health and substance abuse).  This tool offers online capacity to match homeless individuals with best housing/services.   It will be launched this year (final year of SAMHSA grant) and we could leverage its use and expand for more comprehensive intake and assessment.

Concern expressed about number of families and individuals seeking help at ARISE and having nowhere to go.

Noted that centralized intake would be helpful because it would provide a historical trail of previously received services – would know where to follow-up and what to understand.

Noted that we need to make sure we define the terms for assessment purposes, e.g., what constitutes “chronic” homelessness.

Noted the need to ensure data on HOT stays current; that its value is determined by that fact.  Pamela added that in planning discussions  around HOT, it is a given that there must be paid hours attached to the maintenance of the tool.

Noted that challenge includes defining the basis for a particular referral, i.e., who and why someone gets referred to transitional housing vs. permanent supportive housing  vs. prevention or rapid –rehousing.  Every program doesn’t need to have the same exact criteria but at the same time there must be some universally shared standards and criteria for the assessment tool to work.  Must be clear decision points.

Discussed veteran resources, how extensive they are and how key it is to ensure referrals to the VA if a veteran.   Steve Flynn of the VA invited all providers to meet with the VA at one of their Monday morning meetings to share information about their program.

Also noted  11/6 meeting with ICHH, HUD and Dept. of Veteran Services  to kick-off local implementation of statewide plan to end veteran homelessness.  This will be the launch for our own local efforts and veterans committee.

Noted the family homeless system is “owned” by DHCD/EA program, which is why our focus is on individual homelessness.  At the same time, we must incorporate RAFT since that is a family prevention program NOT dependent on EA eligibility.

Noted that for emergency shelters providers, there are not a lot of “right doors” since housing options are so limited and wait lists are long.  We need to ensure that resources that are available are actually best designed to meet the relevant needs.

Noted larger issue of lack of affordable housing and how that barrier makes long-term solutions extremely difficult.

Next steps on CoC coordinated intake and assessment:

  • Pamela will invite Andrea to our next meeting on 11/7 to share the Housing Options Tool
  • Gerry will reach out to prevention/rapid re-housing providers to bring them into the conversation
  • We will use this meeting as a platform to continue this conversation (with HOT, combined CoC efforts make sense)

Shelter update:

ServiceNet (Wanda Rolon):  Grove Street, Northampton,  full, wait list only.   Getting ready to open interfaith shelter for 11/1 – 6 month emergency shelter .  Overflow shelter in Eton to open 2nd week in November.  Dry shelter.

Wells Street Shelter,  60 Wells Street, Greenfield,  just opened.  Open all year.  20 beds.  Franklin County Resource Center at same place.  Waitlist – but call every day.

Samaratin Inn, Westfield (Jen Lucca) – full as of today.  They start doing intakes at 9:00 am and are usually full by 9:15.    Experiencing family referrals from DTA/DHCD – points out need to educate agencies so they don’t refer inappropriately.

Craig’s Place, Amherst (Kevin Noonan) –  22 beds, open 11/1, open referral, not a dry shelter, behavior-based.  No daytime case-management staff.  Open at 9:30 pm.

Friends of the Homeless, Springfield (Janice Humason) – end of September, 154 individuals in shelter.  Increasing over the month.  In September, 51 new faces, never before seen in shelter.   Most in 30’-50’s range, some older and younger.  Some in shelter for over a year.  95% either on benefits or zero income.

Other update:
VA (Steve Flynn):  35 total VASH vouchers to distribute, some portion to  Pittsfield, some to HAP (co-managing with VA).  If veteran:  REFER TO VA!

Next meeting:  Thursday, 11/7, 10:30-noon, Northampton Senior Center


«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.