Veterans Committee Meeting Minutes
March 25, 2016
In attendance: Beth Barbra, Veterans Inc, Donna Bryant, Springfield Partners, Steve Connor, Veterans Services, Toni Dolan, Veterans Services, Patrick DiGregoria, Veterans, Inc, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Katherine Person, Veterans Inc, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Kate Sweetser-Owens, HUD VASH, Sue White, VAMC, Sabrina Willard, Springfield Partners
Hampden County veterans update (from Gerry McCafferty via email):
- Hampden County is working intensely to begin implementation of Homelink, and online tool that will manage its by-name list and facilitate housing matches. The first phase of the project is primarily focused on chronically homeless individuals, but the CoC is now reaching out to Veteran agencies to work out how to incorporate veterans.
- Moving to Homelink will do a number of things to simplify and organize keeping track of our veterans, but it will also enable us to achieve a number of Zero 2016 standards for the list, which then make it an effective and reliable tool for understanding inflow and outflow of our homeless veteran population, which will move us forward in understanding exactly what types of assistance we still need to be making available.
- An update on the By-Name List:
- First, great news: 2 chronically homeless veterans have been recently housed–one with VASH and 1 with CoC-funded permanent supportive housing for families
- There are currently 27 veterans on the list
- We know that 16 are not VHA-eligible, so they are not eligible for VASH
- We do not know VHA status for 7 (missing DOBs–so we cannot find out)
- 4 are VHA-eligible: 2 (or 3?) in process for VASH; the remaining 1 is a family and agency has been informed that family may be eligible for VASH and should be referred–I don’t know if that’s happened yet.
- There are 2 chronically homeless veterans on the list–neither is eligible for VASH
Kate Sweetser-Owens shared her experience housing the one long-time homeless veterans – an amazing success story.
Jay Levy shared his experience of HomeLink and its promise for tracking people’s housing needs with housing availability. Important element is a “housing navigator” attached to each person.
Three County CoC Update:
Jay Levy provided an update around the progress for the CoC deciding upon its assessment tool. They are looking at the AZ Matrix Tool and adapting it further.
The 3 County veterans committee is meeting monthly to review its by-name list.
Steve Connor provided an update on the Veterans Commission and its committee progress. Three sub-committees include: Grant Per Diem; Public Housing and Chapter 115 benefits (how they interrelate and making corrections) and Incarcerated veterans (a collaboration between Dept. of Corrections and Dept of Veteran Services). Also continuing work on obtaining veterans preferences in public housing.
Network/Three County Meetings
The group discussed the relationship between the 3 County Veterans Committee and the Network Veterans Committee. All participants described the 3 County committee as focused on the by-name list and finding housing and support service matches. The Committee agreed that the Network Veterans Committee is important to exchange information and best practices across the region (between 2 CoC’s) and to stay abreast of what is happening on a statewide level. The group expressed its desire to continue participation in both meetings.
Next meeting: Friday, April 22, 9:15, Mental Health Association, 995 Worthington Street, Springfield