Family Services Committee
May 12, 2015
In Attendance: Jason Allen, VA CWM HCS, Jane Banks, CHD, Sarah Cloutier, YWCA, Hillary Cronin, VA, Charity Day, Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Harry Duchesne, NEFWC, Anthia Elliot, Safe Passage Lindsay Errichetto, Family Life Support Center, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Donna Harris, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Mary Johnson, Central West Justice Center, Fran LeMay, ServiceNet, Jane Lindfors, DTA DV Unit, Luz Marcano, VA Springfield Clinic, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Ramona Rivera, HAPHousing, Stephen Roussel, Community Action, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools, Arelis Whitaker, Springfield Partners, Andrea Zurrin, ServiceNet,
Hampden County Point in Time Count:
Gerry McCafferty presented on the Point in Time Count results for Hampden County (Three County PIT count results will be provided by next meeting). Click here for detailed results.
88% of all homeless people were families; the number of homeless families increased by 12% compared to 2014; 35% increase between 2013 and 2015
756 homeless families – equals roughly 2,700 people, including children; 62 families met the definition of chronically homeless (head of household has a disability and homeless for year or longer or 4 more or times in the last 3 years)
Typical homeless person is latina child in shelter with family. Biggest number of people homeless were children under 18. More Hispanics than non-Hispanics. People of color are disproportionately represented. 58% are latino even though only 21% of population.
Individuals: mostly decreasing (there was a spike last year but this was due to an erroneous count of pregnant women)
Slight declines in chronically homeless individuals and unsheltered individuals.
As the state has moved away from motels, it has greatly increased shelter capacity.
In order to better understand what is happening and what reforms are needed, we need to track how many people are entering homelessness, how long people are staying in shelter and how many people are exiting the system into permanent housing. The Network recognizes the need for this data in the context of drafting its Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness but DHCD is currently not permitting access to it. Conversations are underway between DHCD and HUD to resolve this problem.
Sarah Slautterback of DESE pointed out that in the 2013-14 school year, the number of homeless students increased by 12% over the previous year. There is an equal number of doubled up (which the PIT does not count) and sheltered students.
Continuum of Care New HUD Funding Round
Gerry announced that HUD is beginning its new funding round. The Hampden County CoC is expecting to have the ability to apply for new funds. Two funding categories exist: (1) rapid rehousing assistance – subsidies for up to 2 years; and (2) Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for chronically homeless families. Gerry noted there are a few PSH projects that have been in existence and sometimes these programs have had trouble locating chronically homeless families. The question is at least partially the need for intensive services vs. the need for rental units and whether 2 years of rental assistance could make a bigger difference in getting a family closer to housing stability.
The consensus – Jane Banks, Harry Duchesne and Lizzy Ortiz all spoke – was to prioritize PSH; that they have the hardest time finding housing for those families with very complex needs who need supportive services.
Gerry noted that once the NOFA (Notice of Funding Application) is issued (in the next month), the CoC will know how much money is available and the conversation will continue.
FY16 Budget Update
Pamela noted that the House passed its budget a couple of weeks ago and the Senate Ways and Means Committee is releasing its budget later today. In the House Budget, relative to Network priorities the following occurred:
- Secure Jobs was level funded at $500,000 (consistent with Governor’s budget), which is $1.5 million short of what is actually needed to maintain the program statewide (will continue to seek more in Senate budget).
- Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCEC) received full funding, restored to FY!4 levels. This is great news!
- Unaccompanied Homeless Youth services were not funded in the House (or Gov) budget. Will continue to seek funding in Senate budget
Pamela noted that everyone should stay tuned for upcoming Senate budget advocacy updates.
Systems Design Clinic
The Network has retained the National Alliance to End Homelessness to conduct its “Systems Design Clinic” on June 3-4 in Springfield (UMass – 1500 Main Street) to bring to everyone the national framework for preventing and ending homelessness. It promises to be instructive and energizing as we move forward in our own work. Please consider attending so we can bring back the framework together and have it inform our work as the family services committee.
Jane Banks: CHD has job openings at Grace House, a family therapist and program director position. Go to CHD website for more information.
CHD was awarded money from Northampton Housing Partnership to do case management work to help stabilize at-risk tenants. It is hiring case manager now. All agreed it would be interesting to track the data of this intervention.
Luz Marcano: the VA has positions available for social work. Got to http://usajobs.gov for more information.
Anthia Elliot: Safe Passage has many job openings – go to website to learn more. http://safepass.org
Next meeting: June 9, 1:00-2:30 pm, New England Farm Workers Council, 225 High Street, Holyoke