Family Services Meeting
January 12, 2015

In attendance: Jason Allen, VA HUD/VASH, Jane Banks, CHD, Hillary Cronin, VA HUD/VASH, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Anthia Elliot, Safe Passage, Erin Forbush, ServiceNet, Sean Hemingway, CHD, Steve Huntley, VOC, Peg Keller, City of Northampton, Faith Lafayette, FOR Families, Lisa Lapiere, Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Betty Miller, VOC, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Victor Pap, DHCD, Jenni Pothier, Tenancy Preservation Project, Liza Rios, YWCA, Steve Plummer, Springfield Partners, Evelyn Rivera, Woman Shelter Companeras, Hilda Santa, Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity, Emily Santiago, VOC, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Slautterback, DESE, Rachel Trant, DCF, Lauren Voyer, HAPHousing, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools


Pamela summarized the EOHHS RFR released on 12/29 (proposals due 2/2) to create local consortiums to respond to homelessness. $900,000 is available statewide to be allocated to 3-5 grantees to create a coordinated entry system (“no wrong door”) and provide prevention resources further upstream. A companion youth piece is also available (the allocation of the $2 million for youth in the FY16 budget for up to 5 regions). The “Attachment A” which will include contract deliverables will be released sometime this week.

The group discussed the question of how the region should apply: as a Network in the lead in collaboration with the 2 CoC’s or as 2 CoC’s, each in the lead, with the Network as support. We discussed the fact that due to the vast geography and difference in population, we already have 2 distinct coordinated entry systems in development. We also discussed the concern of each CoC competing against the other. The only way the Network could apply is via the United Way of Pioneer Valley, its fiscal agent. UWPV and others from the region will be attending the bidders’ conference on 1/15 to learn more. The Network Steering Committee will be meeting on 1/19, prior to its Leadership Council meeting on 1/20, to review CoC and UWPV feedback and make a recommendation for the Leadership Council to review. Pamela will update the group as these discussions unfold.

Gerry McCafferty provided a draft matrix of the Hampden County providers who would make up the consortium (click here, note the attachment has been updated with the feedback provided at the meeting). The group brainstormed further, adding both Hampden and Three County CoC providers. Gerry will share this with Dave Christopolis of the Three County CoC and this document will definitely expand and evolve with CoC input over the coming weeks.

Family Services FY17 budget priority recommendations

Pamela summarized the Network process for determining its FY17 budget priorities, which includes each committee making recommendations for Leadership Council consideration. The Leadership Council will review and vote at its next meeting on 1/20. These priorities will define the Network advocacy for the FY17 budget cycle.

Support the Secure Jobs Program. Pamela noted that this program, in its third very successful year, has been a Network budget priority since its start. Typically, our advocacy is in close collaboration with the statewide effort (which includes 6 other regions). This advocacy has not yet been finalized, but Pamela proposed that the committee’s recommendation include coordinating advocacy once the statewide proposal is confirmed (presumed to be at least level funding).

So moved: Anthia Elliott
Seconded: Sean Hemingway
All in favor: unanimous
Abstentions: state agency staff

Expand HomeBASE eligibility to include families in domestic violence shelters and substance abuse programs, and allow for renewal of HomeBASE for families who have not yet reached an income level up to 50% of the Area Median Income.

This priority has the statewide support of Homes for Families, CHAPA and Mass. Coalition for the Homeless. It responds to long-standing discussion in our committee regarding the gap in current state policy that requires families in DV shelters to “become homeless” in order to become eligible for EA (and therefore HomeBASE). The renewal based on income adjustment reflects the shared goal of avoiding a return to homelessness.

So moved: Jane Banks
Seconded: Gerry McCafferty
All in favor: unanimous
Abstentions: state agency staff

Increase MRVP to $120 million.

This priority is shared by CHAPA, Homes for Families, Mass Coalition for the Homeless and other statewide groups. MRVP makes affordable housing possible and is the most effective tool to immediately help people who are homeless or at risk.

So Moved: Jane Banks
Seconded: Liz Rios

All in favor: unanimous
Abstentions: state agency staff

Support McKinney Vento funding reimbursement of school transportation costs with at least $8.3 million (level funding)

The federal McKinney Vento law imposes an unfunded mandate to provide children living in shelter transportation back to their home communities. Schools statewide spent a total of over $20 million last year and received reimbursement at roughly 30 cents on the dollar. This priority would at least keep this reimbursement at level funding.

So moved: Jen Wands
Seconded: Jane Banks
All those in favor: unanimous
Abstentions: state agency staff, Gerry McCafferty

Peg Keller also noted her interest in CHAPA’s new legislative priority to fund Tenancy Stabilization Coordinators ($2.5 million). She believes the role of service coordinators would make a significant impact in preserving tenancies in affordable housing (new projects underway in Northampton). She also noted her confusion at the CPA provision that proposes to transfer $25 million from the state’s end-of-year budget surplus to the Community Preservation Trust Fund. She would like to learn more.

The Network is hosting a legislative gathering of Western MA legislators to share these priorities and provide an update on the implementation of the Western MA Opening Doors Plan. Please mark your calendar for: Friday, March 4, 10:30 am – 12 noon, Kittredge Center, Holyoke Community College. An invitation and request to RSVP will be coming shortly.


  • Sarah Slautterback of DESE shared that President Obama signed education legislation last month that extends McKinney Vento and expands the law in certain respects. It focuses more on stabilization and requires the provision of trainings to school homeless liaisons, specifically around the HUD definition of homelessness in order to verify eligibility for federally funded programs. This legislation will become effective in July, 2016, and more information on implementation will be provided in the coming months.
  • Motel numbers: Hampden County is down to 60 families living in motels. The Econo-Lodge in Chicopee has closed. DHCD is providing additional staff to focus on the remaining, more complex cases (e.g., large families).
  • HUD/VASH has vouchers available for families. Please contact either Jason Allen as [email protected] or Hillary Cronin at [email protected] for further information and applications.
  • Hampden County’s effort to coordinate placement in Permanent Supportive Housing is well underway. Both Valley Opportunity Council (8 units) and Center for Human Development (10 units) are receiving placements based on a coordinated list that ranks vulnerability. Congratulations to all family providers (HAP, CHD, VOC, NEFWC) for their commitment to this coordinated effort.
  • The Network ‘s DV/family homelessness sub-committee is hosting a meeting with Rose Evans, Deputy Undersecretary of DHCD, and Robyn Kennedy, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Children, Youth and Families of EOHHS, to learn more about the statewide efforts to coordinate homelessness responses for DV families. The meeting is taking place on: Monday, Feb. 8, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm, Center for Human Development, 51 Capitol Drive, West Springfield.

Next meeting: Tuesday, February 9, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, CHD, 69 Capitol Drive (PACE School), West Springfield


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