Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness Mtg. Minutes 1/23/12

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

January 23, 2011 – Meeting Minutes

Community Teamwork Inc. 17 Kirk St Lowell, MA

In attendance: Patricia Bergin (Comfort Home Care), Melissa Glassman (Eliot CHS), Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI), Charlie Manzi (Comfort Home Care), Connie Murphy (CAI, Karen Frederick (CTI), David McCloskey (LTLC),Dave Robinson (Pathfinder), Richard Rangin (Data Remedies), Ed Cameron (CTI), Brent Rourke (CTI), Linda King (City of Lowell)

Network Updates:

  1. Network Update from Partners

Eliot CHS – Is in the process of recruiting a ½ time shelter specialist that will work between Daybreak Shelter and Lazarus House. This clinician will work with families at Lazarus House and individuals at Daybreak. The candidate must have an MSW.

CTI – Discussed the recent Fireman Foundation award to the MVRN to facilitate network building around workforce development and Home Base. There will be 3 planning sessions across the region and invitations will go out to stake holders shortly. One session recently held in Lowell. The purpose is to connect Home Base families more cohesively with Work force development opportunities. Stake holders in this discussion include community college, UML, career centers, Adult Education and vocational schools.

Awaiting the first version of the Governor’s budget and gauging impact to programs throughout CTI.

The HCEC is in the process of placing all workshops on power point format, translating those presentations to Khmer/Spanish and will eventually be formatted as a video which will enable other agencies to utilize those tools. Those presentation topics include Subsidized Housing Search, Eviction Prevention/Tenant Rights, SMART Tenant, Veterans Benefits (for providers & clients). There has been an increased demand for subsidized housing workshops  which have been scheduled with more frequency. CTI has applied for ESG funding through the City of Lowell for homelessness prevention and emergency motel funds. A grant has been submitted to Lowell General Hospitals Community Health Foundation to re-house and provide wrap around services to chronic homeless and those individuals who were homeless upon entry into the hospital/rehabilitative facility and likely to be homeless upon discharge from those inpatient settings. In addition, CTI is applying for the SSVF (Veterans Administration) grant.

The MVhomeless blog has been updated to collect a wide array of quick links to services and resources for those that are homeless, or at risk of being homeless. Please take a moment to visit the blog, and sign up for email notifications. Additionally, if any network members want information posted, please email that information to

Pathfinder/Bridgewell – Reporting a marked increase in the number of homeless men and women between the ages of 18-23 since early December. Reportedly originating from the Lawrence area and from out of state. More significant is the lack of income and/or connection to any services whatsoever, for this population. PF has been unable to ascertain if these individuals have recently cycled out of foster care or DCF custody. Pathfinder Apartments does have 2 market rate units available @ $454 per month and one subsidized (non DMH) unit available for a chronic homeless individual

LTLC – Winter protocol is in place. Reporting that towns/cities in the region not allowing sex offenders to register in their respective towns and directing sex offenders to register in the City of Lowell. Please inform the Lowell Police Supt. If you come across this practice. Additionally, LTLC had previously reached an agreement with the City of Lowell whereby their sex offender shelter population would exceed 10% of their shelter population. Reporting that they are currently at the maximum of their agreed upon quota. Also reporting an increase in single, homeless women presenting for shelter services.

Community Action Inc. – Small amount of EFSP/FEMA remaining.

City of Lawrence/Data Remedies – Richard Rankin is a consultant engaged by the City of Lawrence to transition the City of Lawrence data management systems from Housing Works to ETO.

City of Lowell – Gearing up the annual Point in Time Count which will take place this week.

YWCA of Greater Lawrence – encountering more challenging families. YWCA currently has openings in their women’s SRO program, however has no candidates on the waitlist for these units. Any women seeking this housing needs to apply through the Lawrence Housing Authority.

New Business


Household assistance is the primary service being offered to families at this time. There are currently 850 families in the Merrimack Valley Home Base program. 300 of those families came through the “front door” and 550 of those families  have transitioned from flex funds to Home Base. Emmaus covers the Lawrence EA office. The MV Home Base program was initially budgeted at $3million and will likely require $6-$7 million in order to sufficiently run this program. The MV region has seen a significant reduction in the number of EA motel families, going from 70 to 3o families currently in EA motel shelter.

  1. Sub – Committees– .

Home Base/ Families

Chair: Ed Cameron Members: Peter Cirioni, Al Hanscom, Linda Comeau

This group will report to the larger MVRN on issues pertaining to homeless families especially related to the HomeBASE program.  Issues to be covered include: EA/HB front door, hotel/motel placements, shelter exits, and stabilization as well as workforce development, child care, school age, and resource maximization.

Early Warning Systems

Chair: Melissa Glassman Members: Connie Murphy, Brent Rourke

It will be responsible for identifying specific populations at (potential) risk, provider outreach mechanisms, methods of outreach and measurable outcomes that may be achieved.


Chair: Kristin Ross-Sitcawich  Members: TBD

It will be the responsible for identifying all Veterans related resources throughout the Merrimack Valley, tying together Veterans services/resources from the federal level down to our local Veterans fraternal organizations. Once resources/services have been identified, a regional coalition will be formed, consisting of Veterans service representatives across the Merrimack Valley region. The outcome of forming this coalition will be that all providers will be informed as to the myriad of services that are available and have greater leveraging capacity to provide services specific to homeless veterans.

Discharge Planning

Chairs: Patty Bergin Members: Charlie Manzi, Ann Marie Malavich, Melissa Glassman

It will be responsible for identifying/mapping out all institutions across the Merrimack Valley region that are likely to discharge individuals into homelessness (ex: state & county corrections, hospitals, substance abuse treatment and rehabilitative facilities). This committee will additionally identify service providers where these discharges to homelessness will be served in the community and coordinate consistent discharge planning policies that may be administered across the region (ex: discharge planning tools that require that these individuals be released with prescribed medication, prescriptions for medications refills as well as scheduled provider appointments in the community).

Subcommittee meetings should be held at least monthly with a full report supplied to the Network Coordinator. It will be determined at the next meeting whether we shall continue to meet monthly as a Network or if we will meet quarterly.

Legislative Event – Date TBA. Anticipate holding this event in the Greater Lawrence area in March 2012. Announcement to follow shortly.

Next meeting: February 27, 2012 @ 2pm – Greater Lawrence Community Action – 305 Essex St 4th fl Conf., Lawrence, MA


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