Merrimack Valley Regional Network Meeting Minutes 4/23/12

Merrimack Valley Regional Network to End Homelessness

April 23, 2012 – Meeting Minutes

Community Teamwork Inc. 17 Kirk St, 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),Peter Cirioni (DOE), Sue Fink ( City of Lawrence), Troix Bettencourt (IHR), Melissa Glassman (Eliot CHS), Dave McCloskey (LTLC), Susan Rourke (Middlesex HOC), Kirsten Lewis (Public Counsel)

Network Updates:

  1. Network Update from Partners

Eliot CHS – Through the use of PATH funding they have been able to re-house 17 homeless, mentally ill individuals in the past month.

CTI – 1,000 families currently placed in the Home Base program in the Merrimack Valley region. $81million has been requested by the administration for Home Base in FY13 with less funds dedicated to shelter family operations. Home Base assistance now restricted to 2 years. An ICHH funding amendment has been filed to continue to fund Network activities. Amendment 333 seeks to reallocate RAFT resources to Home Base administering agencies rather than through the Regional Housing Network (RHN) agencies. A significant increase in RAFT funding has been proposed which would provide a great deal more in the way of prevention funds for households. State ESG (balance of state) – Each CoC has chosen a priority with Lowell opting for individual rapid re-housing assistance. Lawrence has opted for family prevention funds and is partnering with Emmaus, Inc. The North Shore CoC has opted to prioritize rapid re-housing for homeless individuals.

DHCD is in the process of identifying HPRP funds that they will recapture from agencies throughout the state who have not fully expended their HPRP awards. The Merrimack Valley Regional Network was chosen by DHCD to be the recipient of a portion of those recaptured funds to disburse on behalf of households in the Merrimack Valley region for individuals and families for rental arrears. The full amount awarded is $64k with approximately $45K available for rental arrears assistance.

Community Action Inc. – Reports having been busy processing HPRP applications for those requiring rental arrears assistance in the Greater Haverhill/Lawrence region.

DOE – Discussed a house budget item that pertains to the reimbursement to cities/towns in the Commonwealth that will cover the cost of transporting homeless students back to their Districts of origin, under McKinney/Vento mandate. Currently, those costs are covered by each School District. Additionally, discussed HB3838 which would create a commission around high risk/homeless 18-22 year olds – identifying resources, housing, best services and barriers to housing.

Institute for Health & Recovery – Shelter + Care units were re-approved for another 10 years and in the process of switching their systems over to BSAS. IHR will receive an additional $90k for six more units dedicated to families with HIV/AIDS.

Ctte on Public Counsel – informed the network that they receive referrals from Attorneys offices to provide supportive services to individuals in pretrial status.

LTLC – Reports seeing an increase in the homeless population which is largely attributed to the cessation of Winter Protocol and the depletion of HPRP re-housing funds.

Billerica House of Correction – They have expanded the case management program at HOC which gives them 5 case managers in total. These case managers will work with prisoners who are confined for six months or more.

City of Lawrence – DPD is in the process of concluding the City of Lawrence HPRP program. All data is uploaded into State ETO. The CoC is currently in the process of transitioning from the Housing Works data system to State ETO.

New Business

Regional Homeless Liaison Meeting

This process will be coordinated by Ed Cameron, Peter Cirioni and Kristin Ross-Sitcawich. The purpose of this effort is to pull together all School District Homeless Liaisons in the Merrimack Valley region. In addition, District Superintendents, social workers and guidance counselors will be invited to participate. The overall objective is to bring the community resources that are available to our School District personnel who work directly with at risk/homeless families and strengthen partnerships between school districts and community service providers.

  1. Sub – Committee

Discharge Planning

This group met on 2 occasions this past month and requesting a contact at the Department of Corrections.

Next meeting:

May 21, 2012 @ 2pm

Greater Lawrence Community Action

305 Essex St. 4th fl. Lawrence, MA


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