Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
February 19, 2016
In attendance: Thomas Belton, Springfield Veterans Services, Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc., Donna Bryant, Springfield Partners, Steve Connor, Hampshire Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Gumersindo Gomez, BVOC, Scott Haskell, Turner House, Jim Mahoney, Holyoke Veterans Services, Bill Miller, Friends of the Homeless, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jim Seney, VAMC, Kate Sweetser Owens, VA HUD/VASH, Susan White, VAMC, Sabrina Willard, Springfield Partners
Three County Point in Time Count 2016 Findings
See attached hand-out or go to: https://3countycoc.wikispaces.com/PIT+Trends+with+Preliminary+Data+for+2016
produced by Andrea Miller, the Three County CoC data analyst. Thank you, Andrea!
The group’s analysis of the essentially constant numbers of homeless veterans: as long as Soldier On has its transitional beds, the number will stay constant. And the constancy should not be confused with “fluid” in that veterans are being housed all the time. A better indication of the sub-region’s progress would be a look at the by-name list and examining the rate of movement to permanent housing by each individual.
The VA goal is to cut GPD beds. Soldier On is in the process of shifting beds to other programs, e.g., beds for veterans post-incarceration or for veterans in need of intensive support services. Also some beds will be designated “bridge beds” – if within 90 days into permanent housing.
This year one veteran was counted on the street. He is refusing outreach but efforts are continuing.
Hampden County Point in Time 2016 Findings
See Hampden County Veteran PIT findings by going here: https://magic.piktochart.com/output/11057732-veterans-february-2016
21 veterans counted during PIT count.
35 veterans on by-name list.
One challenge is that the count limited to those veterans within the realm of homeless services (in shelter, or contacted by street outreach or at Rescue Mission) but does not include the people who have not entered that system yet, e.g., through Springfield Partners or Veterans Inc., which are housing 12-15 veterans each month (some are in cars or on the street but never “show up” in the system).
Of the 21 homeless veterans, 8 have housing plans (significant progress). 13 have no housing plans. Of the 35 on the by-name list, 8 are VHA eligible; 10 are not; the remainder are not assessed yet.
2015 data review shows 68 veterans used emergency shelter while 98 veterans were housed. We have the shelter resources necessary to meet the emergency shelter needs of veterans.
Bill Miller of Friends of the Homeless noted that in previous years the PIT count found 9% veterans at the shelter; this year that number was at 3.5%, a reflection of the progress in outreach and housing
Gerry reported great progress with police partnership, working with BHN, together identifying and assessing veterans.
The challenges: locating long-term homeless veterans. And how do we better serve non-VHA eligible veterans.
The longer the by-name list is in use, the more certain we can become of who is long-term homeless. If a veteran shows up once on the list but then not again for 3 months, that veteran will be deemed “inactive.”
The shift in outreach has been truly valuable in getting to long-term veterans – connecting those who are VHA eligible to HUD/VASH; connecting those who are not to SSVF. Non-chronic, non-VHA eligible are the hardest to serve.
Veterans crossing county: for those listed on both sub-region lists –
Gerry can send info to Andrea to draw out duplicates. Outreach should be based where person is living. All agreed that the relationship to a provider is key to determining where the outreach occurs.
March 4 legislative event: 10:30 am, Kittredge Center, Holyoke Community College. Approximately 12-15 state legislators are planning to attend; over 80 Network partners have RSVP’d. We are having representatives from each sub-population speak about their experience moving from homelessness to housed. Please contact Pamela if you know possible speakers.
Next meeting: 3/25, 9 am, Northampton Senior Center