Family Services Committee Meeting
April 27, 2017

In attendance:  Jane Banks, CHD, Shelly Benoit, BHN, Jessica Jacobs, Tenancy Preservation Program, Jane Lindfors, DTA/DV Unit, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Luis Martinez, CHD, Yeisie Mateo, DCF Housing Specialist, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Jenni Pothier, Tenancy Preservation Program, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Tetreault, Community Action, Janette Vigo, HAPHousing, Mandy Winalski, Community Legal Aid

FY18 State Budget Update:
The House just passed its FY18 budget.  We reviewed how the Network’s family priorities fared.  Please click here for a summary.

Three County Point in Time Count review:
The Committee reviewed the Three County’s PIT summary report (please go to Annual Point in Time Count for this report and more detailed visuals).  The overall number of homeless persons during the 2017 PIT Count decreased by 15% compared to the 2016 PIT Count, a decrease that was due primarily to reductions in the hotel/motel census (from 76 people to 0) and in the reduction in Soldier On’s Grant Per Diem beds (from 241 beds to 213 beds).  This meant that the total number of homeless families decreased from 57 families to 39 households between 2016 and 2017.  The group noted the contrast in numbers with Hampden County PIT findings, which identified 513 homeless families and 1941 people in homeless families.

Statewide Data Review:
The group reviewed DHCD’s EA Monthly Report (available on DHCD’s website and provided during DHCD’s monthly statewide phone call with providers).  Click here for the full report. We noted that in March 650 families applied for EA; 133 from Western MA (Boston, 117, North Shore 63).  We also noted the 0 families in hotels/motels, the only region in the State (although only 2 in South Shore and 3 in Central Mass; 37 in North Shore, 27 in Boston).  We also looked at the HomeBase entries (either as a result of Diversion or Exits from shelter).  Western MA entered 42 families into HB.  We agreed that this number would be very interesting if the diversion and exit numbers could be separated (to ascertain numbers diverted).

The group also agreed that looking at this data on a monthly basis would be useful.  Pamela will incorporate it into the agenda.

Family Homelessness Resource Fair Planning (Thursday, June 8, 9 am – 12 noon, HCC):
We reviewed the planning summary document thus far (click here).  The group also decided on the following:

  • we would have 4 break-out groups of 20 minutes each on: the EA system (point person: Jane Banks/Yoshi Bird); employment services (point person: Pamela to the career centers); domestic violence services (point person Heather Marshall); veterans services (point person: Hillary Cronin).  Each point person would reach out to colleagues to touch base on how best to approach the break-out.  We agreed the goal is to provide a brief snap-shot of where a provider is to call/know when faced with a family who is identified with the pertinent need; that the time for Q&A would happen in the circulation time following the break-out.  Each point person will report back at our next family services meeting.
  • The schedule tentatively is: 9 am – 10 am – general circulation; 10 am – 11:15 am – break-out groups; 11:15 am – noon – general circulation
  • The planning sub-committee – Janna Teatrault (Community Action), Jane Banks (CHD), Janette Vigo (Way Finders) – will make a plan to visit the space at HCC to plan the lay-out for the event.
  • Other outreach to do:  school liaisons (Pamela); NELCWIT (Jane Lindfors); substance abuse providers (Shelly Benoit), Catholic Charities (Pamela), Springfield Housing Authority (Pamela to Pam Wells); Chicopee Housing Authority (Pamela to Monica Blazik); Holyoke Housing Authority (Janette Vigo); New Lease Program (Janette Vigo); Care Center (Pamela); Mass Fair Housing (Pamela); AISS (Pamela), Providence Hospital (Gerry); DA’s office (Janette Vigo?)

The general assumption is that each provider showcasing info would provide summary contact info on how to access resources.

We agreed our outreach for this event would be internally oriented (e.g., no press release, not advertised to the broader community); that for the first time we would “keep it local” to the Network and then assess and see if expansion is in order for next time.

Next meeting date:
Tuesday, May 16
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
CHD, 51 Capital Dr, West Springfield

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