Merrimack Valley Regional Network Meeting Minutes 2/27/12

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

February 27, 2012 – Meeting Minutes

Greater Lawrence Community Action Inc. 305 Essex St Haverhill, MA

In attendance: Patricia Bergin (Comfort Home Care), Charlie Manzi  (Comfort Home Care), Kristin Ross-Sitcawich (CTI), Connie Murphy (CA)I, Karen Frederick (CTI), Ed Cameron (CTI), Linda Comeau (YWCA of Greater Lawrence), Sue Fink ( City of Lawrence), Ken Link (Bedford VA), Melissa Glassman (Eliot CHS)

Network Updates:

  1. Network Update from Partners

Eliot CHS – Is in the process of applying for Balance of State ESG funds for the re-housing of homeless individuals.

CTI – expanding its’ service offerings across the Merrimack Valley, will start with Subsidized Housing Application workshops. CTI is seeking organizational partners in Lawrence, Haverhill and the North Shore. Beginning in March and April, 2 new workshops will be offered at CTI in Lowell. This month, the Veterans Information & Education Workshop (VIEW) was implemented at CTI and will be offered going forward twice monthly and is geared to consumers as well as providers. The two new workshops to be offered are utilities education and Apartment Search/SMART tenant.

Community Action Inc. – Continues to remain busy and has little in the way of resources for rental/utility assistance.

City of Lawrence– In the process of expanding Continuum of Care membership. They are now including the VA, Casa Nueva Vida and the YWCA of Haverhill in their CoC. The City of Lawrence has a new VSA. Most recent PIT count yielded 12 unsheltered individuals.

Veterans Administration – VASH vouchers will be released in March and will likely not be utilized until April/May due to the need to hire case managers. Case managers will be hired through a sub contractor via Secretary Nee’s office (MA Veterans Services).

YWCA of Greater Lawrence – Currently has 5 SRO vacancies for single homeless women. Ms Comeau will email an FAQ and housing application to Network members.

Comfort Home Care – Open house will happen on 3/7/12 at their new site, located at 147 Pelham St. Methuen.

New Business


Household assistance is the primary service being offered to families at this time. There are currently 950 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 – Committee

Discharge Planning

The group has identified facilities to reach out to fully implement a discharge framework, to reduce the number of inappropriate homeless discharges to shelter. A discharge model has been created. Discussions will occur with hospitals, county corrections, Department of Correction and the Department of Mental Health

Early Warning Systems

The group has identified organizations to outreach to and will include housing authorities (resident managers), landlord associations, larger real estate management companies, budget counselors (CAI), ROOF (families in apts. – moving to work program) and case managers across the region.

Next meeting: The legislative event will take the place of the March meeting which has been scheduled for March 15, 2012 @ Diburro’s Function Facility in Haverhill


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