Individual Services Committee Meeting
March 6, 2014

In attendance: Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Janice Humason, Friends of the Homeless, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Patty McDonnell, SMOC, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Lizzy Ortiz , City of Springfield, Jerry Ray, Mental Health Association, Laura Saponare, Catholic Charities, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rebekah Wilder, Craig’s Doors, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless

Reviewed Point in Time count materials (produced by Andrea Miller – thank you!).  Click here to view.

Next report will be a trend analysis, comparing prior years and what is happening in MA and rest of the country; and then another report on sub-populations (chronically homeless, seriously mentally ill, substance abuse).

1,665 people homeless on the night of PIT.  4% unsheltered (on streets, very cold night).   67% in emergency shelter including motel system.  Open shelter capacity that night (people outside could have come in but chose not to). 28% in transitional housing.  47% families, 53% individuals.

Waiting for HMIS data on families in motels.

2013 v.2014 every category went up except for street count in Hampden County which meant overall count went down 6%.

Need to look more at Southwick, Easthampton and Palmer.

Unaccompanied youth count:  more analysis coming once state data returns.

Brainstorm on what else we want to know from PIT: On unsheltered count, whether individuals are the same year to year or new.  Bill Miller pointed out that its shelter sees 50% new, 50% returning.

Discussed relevance of housing turnover rates for new housing for homeless individuals.  Does not keep up with demand.

Coordinated intake and assessment

Coordinated assessment process focusing on individuals (because agreed our local region can have far more control over that system than the state-run family system):

Gerry provided materials from Iaian DeJong, an international expert on these systems.  Click here for flow chart and related materials.  Baseline understanding is that different levels of assessment are appropriate at different times.  DeJon has created a tool that has been extensively tested in many communities and used in the “100,000 homes campaign.” Uses tool to determine how/where assessments made and to ensure appropriate housing response.

Diversion is different from intensive assessment (addresses FOH issue around resource drain that would result in the requirement to deeply assess each individual)

Looked at Length of Stay data (click here to view).  64% gone within the month – where are they going?  Would be good to look at that more closely since it would be instructive about what is needed.

Will look at assessment tool in relation to Housing Options Tool (Andrea’s creation) and integrate the two.

Dave and Gerry have conference call with Iain DeJong to find out how he works with communities. Will know more about next steps after that.

Discussed fair housing implications of using assessment tool.  Need to make sure it is used consistent with fair housing requirements.

Opening Doors Plan:
Pamela provided an update on the Network’s strategic planning process and its alignment with the federal Interagency Council on Housing “Opening Doors” plan to prevent and end homelessness.  This plan will be further outlined by its Leadership Council at its meeting in April, but Pamela wanted to give a heads-up that this will form the basis of our work going forward, and will incorporate the work underway in this committee.  Click here for the executive summary of the plan.

Next meeting:

Thursday, April 3
Northampton Senior Center

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