Western massachusetts network to end homelessness
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Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness. Goals. Public health approach to benefit households affected and broader community Focus on best use of resources, “best fit” Goal: reduce incidence & prevalence of homelessness Fewer enter homelessness/shelter

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Goals l.jpg

  • Public health approach to benefit households affected and broader community

  • Focus on best use of resources, “best fit”

  • Goal: reduce incidence & prevalence of homelessness

    • Fewer enter homelessness/shelter

    • Reduced length of stay in shelter

    • Reduced number who are homeless at point-in-time

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  • System Change:

    • Meaningful assessment & accurate referral

    • Coordination of right resources to right person at the right time

    • Early warning system

    • Inclusiveness and transparency

  • Innovations:

    • Regional REACH model for individuals

    • Flexible prevention, diversion & rapid rehousingfor families

  • Generate broad community support for goal of ending homelessness

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Leadership Council

Fiscal Sponsor - PVRVC

Network Diagram

Service Coordination



Pioneer Valley 10YP






Data & Performance Measurement

Springfield CoC

Three- County CoC

Berkshire CoC

Community Engagement


  • System Change/Community Initiatives

  • Supportive Housing Development

  • Employment & Training

  • Interfaith Mentoring

  • Early Warning System

  • Project Homeless Connect



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Leadership Council Chair: Dr. Evan Dobelle, President, Westfield State College Vice-Chair: Lynne Wallace, Principal, Dietz & Co. Architects

Fr. Stan Aksamit, Our Lady of Peace

Paul Bailey, Springfield Partners for Comm. Action

Andrew Baker, Hilltown CDC

Tim Brennan, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Rebecca Caplice, Greenfield Savings Bank

Martin Chaisson, INOE Technologies

Dave Christopolis, Berkshire Comm. Action

Amy Clark, Franklin Co. Community Meals

Steve Como, Soldier On

Senator Ben Downing

Linda Dunlavy, Franklin CR Council of Govts

Judge Robert Fields, W. Div. Housing Court

Bob Fleischner, Center for Public Representation

David Gadaire, CareerPoint

Steve Huntley, Valley Opportunity Council

Lori Ingraham, Easthampton Savings Bank

Peg Keller, City of Northampton

John Klenakis, UMASS Donohue Institute

Charlie Knight

Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield

Betty Medina Lichtenstein, Enlace de Familias

Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank of W Mass

Rebecca Muller, GrantsWork

Yasmin Otero, Dept. of Transitional Assistance

Joe Peters, Universal Plastics

Jane Sanders, Community Action

Linda Stacy, United Way of Franklin County

Liz Sullivan, Dept. of Mental Health

Mayor Mike Sullivan, City of Holyoke

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Affiliated Committees & Workgroups

  • Individual and Family Workgroups

  • Western Mass Interagency Council

  • Supportive Housing Development Committee

  • Regional Faith-Based Action Initiative

  • Three Continua of Care

  • Springfield 10-Year Plan Implementation Committee

    • Project Homeless Connect

    • Education, Training & Employment Workgroup

    • Housing First Workgroup

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Western Massachusetts

Four counties





35% of the area of the state

13% of the state’s population

Urban: Springfield is the third largest city in the state, and the fourth largest city in New England

Rural: 67% of the regions towns and cities have less than 5000 people

The region contains two of seven state ‘hotspots’ for family homelessness—Holyoke and Springfield

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Urban, Suburban, RuralTension between very overwhelming need in urban areas and need to have basic service infrastructure in suburban and rural areas



  • Hampden County holds about half the region’s population.

  • Springfield and Holyoke contain among the highest populations of concentrated poverty in the nation.

  • Springfield is ranked sixth in the nation for child poverty.

  • Hampshire County. 5 colleges contribute to very high housing costs. Pockets of poverty, especially in Amherst.

  • Berkshire and Franklin Counties are predominately rural, but contain urban areas: Greenfield, Pittsfield, North Adams.

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Regional profile

  • 75% of jobs are in service sector

  • Education & skills gap (50% high school drop out rate in Springfield)

  • Immigration gateway

  • Housing costs affordable compared to eastern part of state, but still out of range for very poor households

  • High foreclosure rate

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Homelessness in Western Massachusetts

January 2009 PIT Count:

465 Individuals

383 Families

As of mid-July, 2009, region had 195 homeless families in motels, out of a state total of 862

(23% of motel families)

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Western Mass Innovations


Flexible Prevention, Diversion & Rapid ReHouse

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Regional Engagement and Assessment of Chronically Homeless Individuals (REACH)

  • REACH grew out of WMIC prior to ICHH; ICHH allows expansion of local best practice

  • Monthly coordination meetings by county: identification of all chronically homeless individuals, “best fit” housing & services

  • REACH providers must provide housing units

  • 38 REACH services slots regionally

  • So far, 2 agencies to provide 23 units/services; more sought in 2nd RFP

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Prevention, Diversion and Rapid ReHouse for Families Individuals (REACH)

  • Flexible funding for prevention, diversion & rapid rehouse

  • Monthly coordination meetings by county—prevention & rehouse agencies + DHCD/DTA

  • Integration with RAFT, ESFP, HPRP, CSBG funds

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Funding for Family Innovations Individuals (REACH)

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Community Support Individuals (REACH)

  • The regional network is more than the innovations

  • Building leadership & community support

    • Bring additional resources to the table

    • Build political support for continued funding

  • Engaging full community in working toward solutions

    • Faith-based initiatives

    • Coordination with local governments

    • Engage United Ways and foundations in solutions

    • Work with consumers & community members

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Building Community Support Individuals (REACH)

ICHH Grant Components

Leadership Council: inclusion of civic & business leaders

Director of Regional Coordination

Public relations

Community organizing

Website/Blog: transparency

Expertise of providers

Strong data and results; Outcomes rather than outputs

Other Elements

Faith-based Action Grant

Consumer Advisory Council

Project Homeless Connect