In attendance: Grechar Aquino, FOH-CSO, Jessica Dorman, Mercy Medical, Fina Full-Kay, City of Springfield, John Fisher, Way Finders, Dave Havens, Mental Health Association, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS, Janice Humason, FOH-CSO, Mark Jachym, FOH/CSO, Nichole King – FOH-CSO, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Christina Ruest, FOH/CSO, Denise Rivera-Nunez, FOH/CSO, Keith Rhone, FOH/CSO, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rosemary Surdyka, Mercy Medical, Stephanie Tonelli, FOH/CSO, Catherine Torres, FOH/CSO, Kathy West, Eliot CHS, Delphine Wray, FOH/CSO, Chris Zabik, DMH

Built for Zero Update: Their quarterly conference is coming up (this time in Denver) October 21 – 23 – Hampden County team will be attending. The conference will focus on case-conferencing and coordinated entry – looking forward to reporting back. Currently Hampden County’s by-name list of chronically homeless individuals has approximately 80 people on it and last year the CoC re-housed 110 people. Hampden County is doing a great job on “outflow” (rehousing people, essentially turning over the list each year); the dominant challenge is the “in-flow” – the number of people entering homelessness. The CoC also has a BFZ “coach” named Eddie Turner who will come out here this Spring to discuss and brainstorm the “in-flow” challenge.

The CoC is working closely with the major housing authorities – Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke. Springfield and Chicopee both applied for more Section 811 “mainstream housing vouchers” (for non-elderly disabled individuals). If both applications are fully funded, there would be 70 new mainstream vouchers coming into the region (note: Holyoke Housing Authority does not do Mainstream vouchers because they are a “Moving to Work” HA with more flexibility around how to use their vouchers and they have put 15 vouchers aside for homelessness priority and will do so again as of Jan. 1). These housing authority partnerships are critical. Continuing outreach afoot with West Springfield and Westfield Housing Authorities.

Additional work happening on outreach to local hospital leadership to expand strategies on making the health care system even more active partners in homelessness prevention and re-housing work. Follow-up will likely focus on Springfield.

HMIS Capacity Building grant. The CoC received $150,000 over 2 years to support HMIS capacity building. It will be used to train point people and staff and will also be used to support the intersection of Trauma Informed Care (TIC) and quality data, i.e., how to improve data on exit destinations with a TIC model of inquiry and relationship building as well as view of physical space and lay-out. It will be interesting to see the findings.

MassHire meeting at FOH: MassHire Springfield and Holyoke met with FOH staff on Sept. 25 to discuss ways to build the relationship with FOH guests and better meet their employment needs. There was a good conversation on the barriers experienced by shelter guests and discussion of possible solutions, e.g., bringing resume work shops or general orientations to the shelter directly. Conversations will continue.

HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP):
Hampden County CoC and Three County CoC (for Franklin County) were each selected by HUD for a 2 year Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) – 23 grants nationwide and Western MA got two of them! – totaling $4.3 million ($2.4 for Hampden, $1.9 for Franklin). This is an extraordinary opportunity! The first stage is the planning process; the CoC’s must submit a proposed plan to HUD by 12/29/19. It will be followed by another four months of planning with HUD for a final plan approval by April, 2020. Funding for programs is slated to start by summer. The project will serve youth ages 13-24 years. The overall goal is to prevent and end youth homelessness through a coordinated prevention and response system. HUD expects youth to inform and lead the process every step of the way. Our CoCs each have a Youth Advisory Board (YAB) comprised of young people that will provide the foundation for youth involvement in this project.

Specific information gathering workshops will be held as follows:
Housing: Nov. 8, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, UMass Springfield, Tower Square, 1500 Main Street, Springfield
Permanent Connections/mentoring: Nov. 22, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, The Innovation Center, 276 Bridge Street, Springfield
Education/Employment: Dec. 13, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm, The Innovation Center, 276 Bridge Street, Springfield
Contact: Gerry McCafferty, gmccafterty@springfieldcityhall

Next meeting date: Tuesday, November 12, 1 pm – 2 pm, FOH, 755 Worthington Street, Springfield

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.