Family Services Committee Meeting
January 9, 2017

In attendance: Jane Banks, CHD, Yoshi Bird, CHD, Hillary Cronin, HUD VASH-VA, Juan Cruz, NEFWC, Anthia Elliot, Safe Passage, Jessica Jacobs, TPP, Fran Lemay, ServiceNet, Heather Marshall, Elizabeth Freeman Center, Michelle Michaelian, BHN, Katherine Moss, BHN, Donna Nadeau, DHCD, Carmen Navarro, NEFWC, Lizzy Ortiz, Peck School, Jenni Pothier, TPP, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Tonya Sparks, WomanShelter, TJ Steele, Springfield Partners, Janna Tetrault, Community Action, Lauren Voyer, HAP

Family Services Retreat Planning:

See attached draft. The group expressed consensus on the draft agenda. Issues discussed included:

  • Coordinated entry: where does that fit into the agenda (discussed as a strategy in relation to all 3 goals of prevention, shelter stay reduction and preventing returns to homelessness but will focus on this more in our planning)
  • Ensure we focus on where our region can have an impact (as distinct from state system changes)
  • Agreed to not break-out by sub-region and instead focus outreach on good representation across all counties
  • Noted that Berkshires has unique challenges of accessing EA due to offices in Springfield
  • Donna offered to be the liaison DHCD data requests as needed
  • Discussed location and all agreed on UMass Springfield unless BHN’s offices in Holyoke are available and appropriate space (thanks to Katherine Moss for the inquiry). Note: since the meeting date, Katherine confirmed that the space is not large enough for our group so UMass shall be confirmed.
  • Pamela will be back in touch with updates as further planning unfolds. 

FY18 Legislative Priorities:

The group reviewed the Network’s family homelessness priorities for FY17 and reviewed CHAPA’s Building Blocks Coalition priorities for FY18 (click here for the summary). We agreed that the Committee’s thoughts on this topic would be relayed to the Network Leadership Council as precisely that (“thoughts”) as opposed to firm recommendations in recognition of the variability of who attends each meeting and the lack of executive level agency representation among some agencies in the discussion.

With that, Pamela will relay to the Leadership Council the following thoughts on priorities for family homelessness:

  • Continue to prioritize funding for the Secure Jobs Initiative
  • Adopt Building Blocks priorities on: MRVP ($120m), TPP ($1m), RAFT ($18m), HCECs ($2.64m)
  • Add EOHHS Consortium funding

Update on Behavioral Health Network demonstration project:

Katherine shared an update on the funding of a new demonstration project for Hampden County that will provide wrap-around behavioral health treatment (mental health, substance use issues) for families who are housing insecure. The grant is funded by the state Health Policy Commission and the commitment is to serve 140 families over an 18 month period, starting in late Spring. The measurable outcome for the grant is health care savings, although we agreed that we will track housing outcomes as well. The grant explicitly partners with HAP, Springfield Housing Authority and Home City Housing, although referrals are welcome from any source. Anyone in the family can qualify for services and the range of qualifying conditions is broad. Michelle will be working on the program directly and will be attending our family services meetings and will keep us posted once the program is ready to launch. This is an exciting opportunity for Hampden County.

Announcements: HAP (and all regional housing authorities) was allocated an additional 2 months of RAFT funding for FY17.

Next meeting dates: Our next meeting will be our retreat, Tuesday, 2/14, 10 am – 4 pm, UMass Springfield, conference room. The following meeting will be Tuesday, March 14, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, CHD.

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