Merrimack Valley Regional Network Meeting Minutes 1/24/2011

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

January 24, 2011 – Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Patty Bergin (CTI), Pam Wool (CAI) Linda Comeau (YWCA of Greater Lawrence), Katie Cook (Comfort Home care), Linda Johnson (DHCD), Al Hanscom (Emmaus), Robin Pincence (Emmaus), Jen Sharkey (House of Hope), June Messina (House of Hope), Dan O’Connor (DTA), Kathy Muldoon (LTLC), Peter Cirioni (DOE), Diane Trowbridge (LCHC), Larry Gottlieb (Eliot), Tony Moskevich (Eliot), David Gaeta (Bedford VA), Chick Lopiano (Greater Lawrence Community Action), JodiYoungreen (Janssen), Karen Frederick (CTI), Ed Cameron (CTI), Karen Bond-Garrigan (Home Away from Home)  and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI).

Network Updates:

  1. Ed Cameron outlined the history of the MVRN and the ICHH for the benefit of the newest membership of the MVRN.
  2. ICHH Grant Award of $100,000 to the Merrimack Valley Regional Network – While the Network did not received the full requested amount of $255, 395, we were awarded $100,000. It was determined through communication with members of the Leadership Council that the funds that have been made available for client services would be committed to Family Homeless Prevention through the Network partner agencies
Client Resources Financial Assistance
Direct Financial Assist. (YWCA GL) $16,250
Direct Financial Assist. (GLCAC) $16,250
Direct Financial Assist. (CAI) $16,250
Direct Financial Assist. (CTI/HCEC) $16,250
Direct Financial Assist. (TPP) $5,000
Total Direct Assistance $70,000
Total Network Coordination $27,347
Indirect Cost @ 9.7% $2652.69
Total ICHH Award $100,000
  1. Network Update from Partners

Tenancy Preservation Program/ Eliot CHSThe TPP program is still intact within the governors budget with services in the Merrimack Valley focused in Lawrence & Lowell housing courts. Tony Moskevich is the new Homeless Services Director for the Merrimack Valley @ Eliot CHS

YWCA of Greater Lawrence – reporting an increase in need with waiting lists for funding as the funds become available.

Community Action, Inc – advised that an area of need is in the areas of transportation and access to emergency food. It was reported that clients are experiencing challenges accessing services and inquired as to such services in the Merrimack Valley region. Network partners advised CAI to seek out partnerships with the Inter-Faith community in the Greater Haverhill area.

Greater Lawrence Community Action Council – reports that their ARRA funded Housing Director has left employment as the funds for that position are no longer available. Also reported that they are constructing a new Head Start building in Methuen which will accommodate 120 children.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals (Jody Youngreen) – attending our Network meeting to apprise all partners of trainings that are available at no cost, with a particular focus on mental health, substance abuse treatment and relapse prevention. To arrange trainings contact Jody Youngreen at (978) 927- 3481 or (319) 331-9700. These trainings are available to all Network partners.

Bedford VA – HUD/VASH program – It was reported that Bedford VA has VASH vouchers and are in the process of hiring more social workers to manage those VASH vouchers. New VASH vouchers are slated for release on summer 2011. Clients must be homeless and VA eligible in order to obtain a VASH voucher. The MA Sec of Veterans Affairs (per David Gaeta) would like to see a project based TBI development specifically for returning Veterans.

Emmaus – Mitch’s Place has been running over capacity since summer 2010 and has had refer homeless individuals out to Daybreak Shelter (Lawrence) and LTLC (Lowell). They report having re-housed 18 individuals in the past 6 months. In addition, it was reported that Emmaus had re-housed 130 families (of the 130 families): 57 families were diverted from shelter (41 of the 57 were diverted in October with a special release of Diversion funds), 6 families were re-housed from motel and 67 families were re-housed from emergency shelter. Al Hanscom had requested that we as a Network advocate the importance of funds for staffing to accommodate the overwhelming caseloads.

DHCD/Linda Johnson – the NE region is in the process of hiring a new homeless coordinator for Lowell/Lawrence area. DHCD has increased the income eligibility guideline. Currently there are 930 families in motel shelter across the state. It was also reported that there is a whole new group of families asking for EA services (extended unemployment, foreclosures, etc.).

House of Hope – It was reported that 74% of those entering the House of Hope are families coming from motels with 94 families having been re-housed and receiving stabilization. The families that had received “flex funds” are continuing to struggle. The lack of employment opportunities continue to be an issue for families. House of Hope has recently hired an employment specialist to work on addressing this issue with their families.

Department of Education/Peter Cirioni – The DOE is currently in the process of restructuring the McKinney/Vento program administration for School Districts across the state. School districts will have to bid competitively for these contracts. It was reported that recent data showed 5,000 children living in a “doubled up” situation. DOE is also in the process of pulling together providers from across the state to identify all youth service oriented programs with an emphasis on the unaccompanied homeless youth population.

Community Teamwork/Ed Cameron – Reporting that the emergency sheltering program at CTI has re-housed 79 families out of emergency shelter. In addition 51 families were diverted from emergency shelter in October 2010 with special diversion funds released for diversion. Ed had also advised that the Regional Coordinators position has been incorporated into the Housing and Consumer Education Center Director’s position, with all CTI homelessness prevention programs coming under HCEC, which include ICHH/MVRN, HPRP programs, Home Modification Loan program, First Time Home Buyer program, Foreclosure Prevention and HCEC program functions.

Home Away From Home – Reported on the nature programming provided for disabled adults. Nursing services located on site, daily activities coordinated for clients, transportation to provider appointments.

Lowell Community Health Center/ Diane Trowbridge – Reported to the Network the different services offered through LCHC, including the nursing outreach provided to clients in area shelters, school based health programs.

New Business

1. DHCD/EA Power point “Addressing Homelessness in FY12 and Beyond” was distributed. This power point details proposed changes to the EA Shelter programs across the state.

  1. Sub – Committee Structure –

A sign up sheet was distributed and the following individuals will participate as follows:

Institutional Discharge – Katie Cook, Jody Youngreen

Local Housing Authorities – June Messina, Jennifer Sharkey, Ed Cameron and Pam Wool

Early Warning Systems – Larry Gottlieb, Kathy Muldoon, Linda Comeau, Linda Johnson, Peter Cirioni

Veterans – Tony Moskevich, Susan Fink, Jim Barnes

For those that were not in attendance at this meeting to sign up for a subcommittee, members are asked to email the regional coordinator for subcommittee assignment.

Next Meeting

February 28, 2011 @ 2pm

Greater Lawrence Community Action Council

4th fl. Conference Room

305 Essex St. Lawrence, MA


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