Individual Services Committee
April 2, 2015

In attendance: Elizabeth Bienz, ServiceNet, Jennifer Glover, Franklin County Home Care Corporation, Hwei-Ling Greeney, Amherst Community Connection, Todd Koniezhny, HRU/The Lighthouse, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Katie Miernecki, ServiceNet, Andrea Miller, Network/Three County CoC, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Dave Modzelewski, Network, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Claudia Phillips, Health Care for the Homeless, Lynn White, HRU

The Western Mass. Opening Doors Plan:
Pamela introduced the meeting with an overview of the Network’s effort, in conjunction with the Hampden County and Three County CoCs, to develop a localized version of the US Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness, which sets forth the goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2016, chronic homelessness by 2017 and family homelessness by 2020. Andrea Miller is consulting on this project (with the lead consultant Simtech) and attended today’s meeting to share some of the tools that are available and collect feedback on them.

Andrea provided an overview of the Supportive Housing Opportunities Planner (“SHOP”) that allows regions to plan for the number of permanent housing units required in the region through a calculation involving the Point In Time count and the number of permanent housing beds currently available. Please see the SHOP attachment provided by Andrea from the HUD website. Andrea also provided our CoC’s numbers as a basis for discussion and review. Finally, an overview of the tool is also available on US ICH’s website:

Andrea also provided an overview of a new tool produced by the Zero 2016 campaign, a national campaign of which the Hampden County CoC is a participating partner, whose goal is to end veteran homelessness by 2015 and chronic homelessness by 2016. HomeLink is a very exciting tool that will allow providers to track an individual from homelessness to housing, incorporating their VI-SPDAT score as a basis for prioritization. Andrea demonstrated the tool with their video, which can be viewed here:

Homelink Navigator Training Video

Homelink Navigator User Guide

We also discussed how this tool can be integrated into our own region’s Housing Options Tool. A smaller committee will be meeting on this topic later today and will report back.

The Hampden County CoC is integrating HomeLink into its efforts now. It is also working on the release of information forms to ensure such integration is possible. We will report back on that aspect at the next meeting as well.

The group was very engaged by what this level of tracking and data analysis could provide our region. Everyone agreed to continue this discussion and provide ongoing input to the process as part of our committee work.

Legislative Advocacy:

Pamela reported on the series of meetings the Network is having with our region’s legislators to advocate for the Network’s budget priorities, which include increasing the bed unit rate for individual emergency shelters. Bill Miller clarified that he thinks it would be most strategic to emphasize the issue of parity since Western Mass. shelters 13% of the homeless population statewide and only receives 7% of the funding. Increasing the unit rate to $32/night – the state average – would be one way to do this (FOH is currently receiving $25/night). ServiceNet and Samaritan Inn would also benefit from this approach. Pamela will continue to stress these points in upcoming legislative meetings.

Next meeting: Thursday, May 7, 10:30-noon, Friends of the Homeless, 755 Worthington Street, Springfield

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