Merrimack Valley Regional Network Meeting 8/15/11

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

August 15, 2011 – Meeting Minutes

Greater Lawrence Community Action, 305 Essex St Lawrence, MA

In attendance: Patricia Bergin (CTI), Connie Murphy (CAI), Kathy Muldoon (CTI), , Karen Frederick (CTI), Melissa Glassman (Eliot CHS), Triox Bettencourt (IHR), Linda Comeau (YWCA of Greater Lawrence), Dan O’Connor (Lowell DTA), Laura Tomaszczuk (DCF) Robin Pincence (Emmaus), Anne Marie Malavich (LTLC), David McCloskey (LTLC), Peggy Brooks (Comfort Home Care) Kathy Muldoon (CTI), Linda King (City of Lowell)  and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI).

Network Updates:

  1. Network Update from Partners

CTI – Discussed implementation and progress of Home Base across the Merrimack Valley..

CAI – Increased volume of calls relative to evictions. EFSP is set to be released in September (potentially), CAI staff requesting a training around Home Base so they may better inform and direct clients.

DCF – Since Home Base has begun on 8/1/11, DCF has performed 300 Homeless Health and Safety Assessments across the state.

YWCA of Greater Lawrence – Reporting an increase in the number of households led by 18-21 year olds seeking services. Reportedly, these households are seeking assistance through this agency as opposed to seeking services through DTA as young parents, ages 18-21 are not eligible for Home Base and instead placed in a Congregate Shelter.

Lowell Transitional Living Center – LTLC announced they have made recent policy and programmatic changes; only 2 meals (breakfast & dinner) are being served daily. Bag lunches are available to LTLC guests. They are reporting a 42% reduction in their overall census, 63% reduction women served and a 33% reduction in the number of men served. LTLC recently entered into an agreement with Jim Lichoulas, to re-house the lowest income individuals in the SRO’s located at 201 Middlesex St Lowell. Additionally, they announced that they are enforcing a priority for individuals who are from the Merrimack Valley region. Admittance of those from outside the regional cachement is determined on a case by case basis. Winter Protocol at LTLC will likely not be offered this year as the center hasn’t the funds to offer this service.

Emmaus – Assessed 147 households in the first week of Home Base, 186 households in the second week of Home Base operation at Lawrence DTA. Reported that in one day they assessed 48 families in one day in the first two weeks of Home Base. Additionally, they are reporting that they have 3 families in Temporary Accommodation.

City of Lowell – Keys to Ending Homelessness on October 28, 2011 with a focus on criminal justice/re-entry. Also reporting that the office is initiating an analysis of all households served with ICHH and HPRP funds over the preceding year and a half. The purpose of this analysis is to ascertain the amount of case management “actually” required to keep households stably housed.

New Business

HomeBase – Discussed the framework by which HomeBase will operate going forward; the original plan for the Northeast region was that Lowell, Lawrence and Salem offices would fall under the auspices of the Home Base region. Lynn Housing Authority advocated to be named in the Home Base legislation resulting in the Northeast region being divided into two regions – Merrimack Valley and North Shore. Lynn Housing Authority will administer Home Base for the Salem TAO area office.

Progress to date for the Northeast Region – Since 8/1/11: Lawrence – 333 households have been prescreened, 18 families assessed were determined EA eligible and 1-2 families per evening were placed in Temp. Accommodation. Lowell – 128 households were prescreened, 19 families were determined EA eligible and 1 family per evening was placed in Temp. Accommodation. The MV region is leading the state in terms of the least use of Temporary Accommodation for families seeking EA assistance.

Providers across the state have been assigned to re-house emergency motel families with a monthly objective of re-housing 100 families from motels, statewide, until the motels are empty of EA families.

CTI is working with EA motel families in Chelmsford & Tewksbury and Emmaus is working with EA motel families in Haverhill. Emmaus reporting that they re-housed 28 families the first week of August from emergency motel shelters.

Moving forward the Network will defer to the Leadership Council as to how the Home Base Network will work with the MVRN. The other objective will be to determine how best we provide households with employment and training opportunities that are available across the Merrimack Valley region. It was also discussed the need for a workshop curriculum for Home Base and families requiring prevention assistance. The workshop ideas brought forward by the Network were; SMART Tenant, Nutrition, Shopping on Food Stamps, Financial Literacy/Budgeting and Parenting.

To date, the following organizations provide the following employment services:

CTI – employment readiness, workforce training

CAI – CNA training

YWCA – job readiness, budgeting

Emmaus – job readiness/ BETHEL program.

There are currently 237 shelter units across the region. Diversion will be hold the greatest priority under Home Base 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 and Lawrence TAO offices. Tenants accepted into Home Base will be responsible for a portion of their rent and continuance in the Home Base will be determined based on compliance in paying their portion of their rent, entry into education, employment or workforce training programs.

  1. Sub – Committee– no subcommittee reports at this time

Next Meeting

September 19, 2011 @ 2pm

Community Action Inc

75 Elm St, Haverhill, MA

Basement. Conf.



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