Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness Meeting Minutes 5/16/11

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

May 16, 2011 – Meeting Minutes

In attendance: Pam Wool (CAI), Ed Cameron (CTI),  Susan Fink  (City of Lawrence), David McCloskey (LTLC), Larry Gottlieb (Eliot CHS), Patricia Bergin (CTI), Al Hanscom (Emmaus), Robin Pincence (Emmaus), Katie Cooke (Comfort Home Care), Connie Murphy (CAI), Kathy Muldoon (CTI), Christine Starrat (CTI), Ronnie Mouth (CMAA), Linda Johnson (DHCD), Melissa Berrio (DHCD), Linda King (City of Lowell), and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI).

Network Updates:

  1. Network Update from Partners

City of  Lawrence – Reported that the City of Lawrence Continuum of Care has been awarded two new permanent housing programs; Home At Last and Home For Veterans. In addition, they have reported that 3 of their 8 HPRP sub-grantees are 100% expended of their HPRP funds.

Emmaus – Reported that the they have re-housed 16 families from emergency shelter this past month, fully expending their flex funds through their EA contracts.

Comfort Home Care – A home health care agency providing services around medication administration, nursing, behavior management, etc. It was reported that the agency has a seat on the City of Lawrence’s Mayor’s Health Task Force and spoke to a Mental Health Resource Fair which is set to take place on May 19, 2011 @ The Point After Club, 43 Jackson St. Lawrence, MA.

CTI – Discussed different programs that fall under Homelessness Prevention Services, more specifically, the Home Ownership programs; First Time Home Buyer, Home Modification and Foreclosure Prevention. The Network was advised that outreach efforts will commence in the coming months to provide more detailed information on these programs to our partners across the Regional Housing Network and the MVRN. Discussed the effects CSBG cuts to CAP agencies. In addition, the Network partners were informed that CTI has 63 emergency shelter units in the Lowell area, 10 families were re-housed out of emergency shelter this past month through the use of flex funds, with those funds being fully expended. Lastly, briefly discussed the potential cuts to Section 8 administration. CTI’s Resource Center reports seeing an increase in requests for utility assistance since the moratorium was listed. It was also reported that CTI has brought two new services into its HCEC/Resource Center to include a Veteran to Veteran Peer Specialist and a Representative Payee program.

CAI – In the process of spending ICHH/MVRN funds down by the end of the fiscal year. CAI reporting they are receiving approximately 100 phone calls per week from households requesting assistance on rental arrears, start-up and utilities.

DHCD – Reporting that they are in the process of hiring a new Homeless Coordinator for their Malden/Revere offices.

City of Lowell – Reporting that they are working on a Veterans Social Enterprise and Micro-Loan programs.

Eliot CHS – Eliot staff reported that they are providing training to LTLC and other non profit organizations in the area of safety & de-escalation. Also in the process of ramping up their CSPECH program and welcome referrals. They are seeking individuals who are homeless with an income as there is little opportunity for extended subsidy arrangements. Eliot CHS will be signing on in support of IHR’s SAMSHA grant. The Metro-West region will not be applying for this grant. And lastly, it was reported that they currently have openings at Windsor House and in the process of outreach into the community to identify homeless men and women who would be well suited for living and receiving services at Windsor House.

New Business

HomeBase – Ed Cameron discussed the framework by which HomeBase will operate. There are currently 237 shelter units across the region. Diversion will be hold the greatest priority under HomeBase where young parents, under the age of 21, victims of domestic violence, fire or flood would be allowed entry into emergency shelter services. Eligibility for EA services and diversion remains the same as it has historically. There will a big emphasis on the front doors of the system in the Lowell, Lawrence and Salem TAO offices. Tenants accepted into HomeBase will be responsible for a portion of their rent and continuance in the HomeBase will be determined based on compliance with their portion of their rent, entry into education, employment or workforce training programs. CTI leadership continues to meet with providers across the region and cited the need to keep a number of transitional housing units available for families entering HomeBase across the NE region.

There will be a need to staff up the “front doors” of the region with Diversion workers and staff up Stabilization services across the region as well. Data and financial tracking of the system would be done through TRACKER.

The funds used for Diversion would be the funds that were previously used to house families in emergency motel shelters. Currently, the Commonwealth has 1327 families in emergency motel shelter across the state at an annualized cost of $47.7 million.

Continuing the Merrimack Valley Regional Network Initiative – The network members were advised that the funding from ICHH, designated for Network activities will expire as of June 30, 2011. The body present determined by general consensus that they wish to continue meeting beyond June 30, 2011.

  1. Sub – Committee– The Discharge Subcommittee has met and have outlined their objectives and have begun to meet with organizations identified. This committee will meet again prior to the next Network meeting and will provide an update then.

 

Next Meeting

June 20, 2011 @ 2pm

Community Action, Inc

75 Elm St Haverhill, MA

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