Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness
March 21, 2011 – Meeting Minutes
In attendance: Pam Wool (CAI), Kathy Muldoon (GLIPH), Peter Cirioni (DOE), Linda King (City of Lowell), Chick Lopiano (GLCAC), Susan Fink (City of Lawrence), Susan Rourke (Middlesex Sheriff’s Office/Billerica HoH), Patricia Bergin (CTI), Troix Bettencourt (IHR), Katie Cooke (Comfort Home Care), Sandra Pereira (LTLC), Connie Murphy (CAI), Sandy Almonte (DTA), Jeanette Garcia (Emmaus), Robin Pincence (Emmaus), Diane Trowbridge (LCHC), Deb Chausse (House of Hope), Jennifer Sharkey (House of Hope), Chris Starrat (CTI) and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI).
- Network Update from Partners –
Community Action, Inc – discussed concerns around the “Continuing Resolution” and CSBG funds. CAI case manager reported that there appears to be an increase in need and is processing ICHH/MVRN applications for clients. CAI seeking a new site for their Amesbury satellite site.
Middlesex Sheriff’s Department/ Billerica HOC – Informed the group that the HOC typically releases 75-100 people to the Lowell area each month. It was further reported that 62% of the men who are offending, their crimes originate from their drug or alcohol use.
City of Lawrence – Reported that they received 20-30 applicants for the HOME Coordinators position and currently in the process of vetting candidates. It was further reported that most City of Lawrence HPRP funds have been depleted.
City of Lowell – Continuing work with the City’s Ten Year Plan, working to identify gaps in the system, continuing the housing and data analysis. Also reported that the next Keys to Ending Homelessness conference will take place in October 2011.
Lowell Community Health Center – reported on their continued outreach to family shelter and LTLC. It was further announced that the Children’s Behavioral Health program has been implemented and now open to referrals.
Emmaus – Reported that they re-housed 30 families this last quarter from their family sheltering program. It was further reported that they had fully expended re-housing funds through their EA contract for this quarter.
House of Hope – Reported that HoH shelters 23 families in 2 facilities. They also reported that they served 79 families in the first half of this fiscal year. Discussed concerns about EA Reform currently in process through the legislature.
Lowell Transitional Living Center – advised the group that LTLC had received an additional $75K through the MHSA/HPRP grant to house additional homeless individuals. Reporting that they are busy with referrals from across the region.
Comfort Home Care – Advised that they would be in touch with provider agencies across the region to determine how best their agency may provide services to the families and individuals along with Network provider agencies.
Client Services/CTI – reported that 14,000 clients were processed through Fuel Assistance in Lowell. Advised that the Moratorium on gas shut offs has been extended to 4/4/11. The Fuel Assistance season runs from November through April. Further advised that agencies would likely see an influx in clients seeking assistance due to an end of the Moratorium of fuel shut off.
- EA Reform – According to the language currently being considered by the Legislature; family shelter reform with sheltering resources focused on young parents, domestic violence or victims of natural disaster. All other families referred would be eligible for diversion funds up to 3 years. Families that would be eligible for subsidy up to 3 years would have to meet certain income guidelines in order to be eligible for subsidy. TAFDC is not being considered sustainable income in Home Base. The State would subcontract with the Regional Housing Non Profits for stabilization with an overarching goal of Housing First for families. Staging units would be needed at the regional level in order to divert/re-house a family in permanent housing.
Vigorous discussion amongst the Network members around the issue of EA Reform. Deb Chausse, Exec. Dir. Of House of Hope expressed their concerns that this “sweeping reform” will have negative consequences for the poorest of the poor. It should also noted that the group was in agreement that there was a need to increase/incorporate language with regard to stabilization – increasing the staffing capacity to handle the case loads appropriately.
It was also agreed that a Conference Call would be convened to include Debbie Chausse, Jen Sharkey, Al Hanscom, Jeanine Murphy, Ed Cameron, Karen Frederick, John Cuneo, Pam Wool, Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (and any other Network members that want to participate) to generate a regional written response to DHCD, offering comment on Home Base prior to the 3/31/11 deadline for comment.
- Sub – Committee Structure – Discharge Subcommittee meeting has a time to meet set up to discuss goals and objectives of the Discharge Subcommittee
April 25, 2011 @ 2pm
Community Teamwork, Inc
126 Phoenix Ave, MA