You are invited to join The National Center on Family Homelessness at the Massachusetts State House to commemorate National Homelessness Awareness Month during the launch of Looking Into Light, a photo exhibit that highlights stories of homeless families and children. The exhibit engages viewers in the experience of family homelessness and the plight of homeless children, explores why families with young children are a sizable and growing part of the American homeless population, and opens viewers to the vision that with their participation we can put an end to this problem. The exhibit will be on display November 14-18 in Doric Hall at the State House (24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133).
Friday, November 4, 2011
9AM – 4 PM (Registration begins at 8:00AM)
What Is It?
- A chance to learn more about policy initiatives and programs on homelessness and veterans and their implications for local homeless systems and providers
- An opportunity to meet and establish relationships with local agencies in your area working with homeless veterans
- Builds on recent and ongoing partnership-building activities
Who Should Attend?
- Staff from agencies serving veterans and/or homeless people, Continuum of Care representatives, state and local government staff, ten-year planners, veterans service organizations, service providers, HUD homeless grantees and sponsors, VA staff, HUD staff, Public Housing Agencies, and any other agency involved with homeless or veterans related issues.
How Do I Register?
- Each individual must register by October 21, 2011 in one of two ways:
Tuesday, November 8th, 2011
9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
at the International Institute of New England – Boston Office
This Commonwealth Workforce Coalition network session is open to all workforce development professionals, and: is especially relevant for direct service and supervisory staff; provides a forum to share experiences, discuss on-the-job challenges; learn from peers, build contacts; find support for your work, and; will focus on networking.
This training is provided for you at no cost but online registration is required by November 1st, 2011. Please see registration instructions on second page of attached flyer.
Thank you to all who attended last week’s stabilization strategy session. As promised we have consolidated all of the notes and flip charts from the convening and put everything together into this document. Please share these notes as you see fit throughout your agency and region.
Some common themes that emerged from the four discussion sessions include:
- A general lack of clarity around the exact role of the stabilization worker – workers are expected to be experts in too many areas.
- Needed clarification around the difference between home based case management and stabilization services. Without this clarity is it challenging to set priorities.
- Family empowerment is lacking in the current stabilization model
- Families are unable to access to the necessary resources to stabilize their families, including: child care, transportation, GED and job training programs
- There is a need to create more partnerships, make better connections between provider agencies and staff
- There is a need to improve communication and collaboration between networks, agencies, and staff
- The need to create a stabilization tier system through triage
- Families that need check ins
- Families with moderate barriers
- Families with extreme barriers
We have also reviewed your evaluation and survey feedback and will be announcing future trainings and convenings in the near future.
The Workers’ Pathways to Education and Jobs Coalition is supporting The Middle‐Skills Solutions Act. This legislation would establish a middle‐skills council and the creation of regional skills academies in the Commonwealth .The Act’s three main sections build upon existing resources to develop a more robust system to prepare adult, non‐traditional students for employment in economic sectors targeted by the Commonwealth for increased growth and investment.Workforce development and access to education for nontraditional students is a key component of stabilizing at-risk and homeless families.
- Approximately 45% of all jobs in MA require middle‐skill training (more than a high school diploma but less than a four‐year degree) but only 32% of MA workers have the education required to fill those positions.
- Nearly two‐thirds of the people who will be in Massachusetts’ workforce in the year 2020 were already working adults in 2005—long past the traditional high school‐to‐college pipeline.2
- Non‐traditional students make up the largest pool of students at community colleges and most of the growth in community college enrollments across the state.
- Nationally, 61% of students who enter community college through adult basic education programs never earn any college credits within five years, and only 3% earn a credential of one year or more.
The Middle-Skills Solutions Act (H2713/S921) will be heard before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development on Thursday, October 27, 2011, 10:30am in Hearing Room A1, The State house.
The Workers’ Pathways to Education and Jobs Coalition hopes you can attend the hearing to demonstrate support for this legislation. If you are interested in testifying at the hearing please contact Chelsea Sedani from Crittenton Women’s Union. Written testimony can be submitted to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development at: MA State House Room 39 Boston, MA 02133.
CHAPA’s supportive housing bill has passed the Senate unanimously and is pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means (S. 1967). If you are interested in supporting this important piece of legislation please contact a your legislators and request that they indicate their support to the Speaker and Chairman Dempsey. Click here for a document that lists legislators on relevant committees and bill cosponsors. These are the folks we hope you can reach out to.
Lead Sponsors: Rep. Kevin Honan and Sen. Pat Jehlen
Goals of Proposed Permanent Supportive Housing Legislation:
The legislation proposes several actions to address the need for permanent supportive housing:
- A Memorandum of Understanding to be developed among state agencies to identify shared barriers to creating supportive housing, an Action Plan to coordinate the three critical elements, and an assessment of the long-term need for supportive housing.
- Demonstration Program of 1,000 units or more of permanent supportive housing
- Establishment of Community Housing Support Service Action Grant through the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness for supports such as service coordination and Housing Support Teams.
Sample Letters and List of Supporters:
Last week, as part of the Research Matters series, the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Homelessness Research Institute released “The Heterogeneity of Homeless Youth in America: Examining Typologies.” The paper, authored by Paul Toro and his colleagues Tegan Lesperance and Jordan Braciszewski, provides a review of prior research typologies of homeless youth and offers a new three-category youth typology.
The typology classifies homeless youth into one of the following groups: (1) transient but connected youth, (2) high-risk youth, or (3) low-risk youth. These classifications were derived based on a longitudinal study of homeless youth. A series of six recommendations for future research and intervention are also offered. The paper points out that “targeted interventions can be created for homeless youth…even for youth who are experiencing a number of difficulties early on, positive outcomes are often achieved.”
The Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Boston Healthcare System and, VA Bedford invite you to:
Please join in collaboration with our Federal, State, Community and Homeless Veteran Partners, to continue our work in ending homelessness among veterans throughout the region. This meeting will highlight the progress made, and provide an opportunity to strengthen our partnerships to provide “faster, better, smarter” strategies as we work towards this goal.
This meeting will focus on the overarching goal of bringing all of our resources together in order to be successful in this effort.
We will be joined by:
Michael S. Galloucis, Department of Veterans Affairs, Executive Director of the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
Where: Chelsea Soldiers Home, 91 Crest Avenue, Chelsea, MA
When: October 20th, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM (REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 8:30 AM)
RSVP: Please send an email to Nancy.Lauria@va.gov to let them know if you plan to attend
On Wednesday October 5th One Family in partnership with the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley hosted the Stabilization Strategy Session: Envisioning a Model of Housing Support and Opportunity. The goals of the session were to:
- Share and enhance a common understanding of what stabilization is and what it can/should be in our system;
- Better define and understand the roles we all (Networks and HomeBASE Providers) play in creating and implementing a new stabilization model;
- Identify the types of trainings and convening that would benefit you, your staff and the field over the next year.
We felt that the session was a good beginning to several important conversations about what stabilization is, each of our roles and responsibilities, how we measure success in stabilization, and what we as convening organizations can do to support the development of a stabilization model that achieves the best possible outcomes for families.
We are still in the process of reviewing the evaluations and synthesizing all of the notes from the session, but we post the outcomes on One Family’s Right Resources Blog next week. The outcomes will also be sent to DHCD and the ICHH for their information. The conversations did highlight a few key themes that call for further attention, including:
- Clarifying the roles and responsibilities of stabilization workers
- Developing a deeper understanding of the potentials of a peer support model for families in stabilization
- Developing a clearer understanding of the community based resources that families can access
- Exploring incentive-based and empowerment models for family stabilization
In addition to the facilitated conversations we distributed additional materials on stabilization models, programs, and research that we thought were relevant. These included:
- The Housing Stabilization section of the 2009 National Alliance to End Homelessness report Rapid Re-Housing: Creating Programs that Work.
- A stabilization chart, developed by a DHCD working group, that breaks down the key components of family stabilization
- An overview of the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Allies for Employment Initiative
- A housing stabilization overview presentation created by Housing Innovations
- The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness’ brief on the relationships between educational attainment and housing risk
- An overview of the Family Independence Initiative’s Boston pilot and outcomes
This was the first discussion in a series of convenings and trainings that we hope will support and assist the community in developing innovative practices in family stabilization.
On October 6th the Boston Globe ran an article about the high cost of transporting homeless children from motels and shelters to school. School transportation costs are just one of the many challenges faced by local communities in the effort to address family homelessness. Children experiencing homelessness have the right, under federal law, to attend their school of origin and the home school district and district where their shelter is located are required to split the transportation cost. Maintaining continuity in education is important for children experiencing the disruption of homelessness, but the cost is causing a major challenge for school districts and communities. The cost associated with school transportation is one more reason to reduce the length of time families experience homelessness and stay in shelters or motels. By focusing on diverting families from shelter or rapidly re-housing families in their home communities we can save local communities and school districts scarce resources.
A young girl with a heavy backpack stepped off, waving to her mother, who came to meet the bus. Two other children exited the bus and pushed the glass door to enter the lobby.
Hotels are a regular stop on public school bus routes north of Boston, where hundreds of homeless families are temporarily living because the state’s 2,000 family shelter units are full.
As of Monday, there were 1,437 families living in motels and hotels across Massachusetts, according to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
More than 300 families are living at hotels in Burlington, Chelmsford, Danvers, Haverhill, Malden, Saugus, Tewksbury, and Woburn, according to state data.
But since August, when a new program started to place homeless families in permanent housing, the number of families living in hotels has dropped by about 20 percent, or by 341 families, including 30 that moved from Danvers hotels.
“It’s a promising trend that we anticipate will continue,’’ said Robert Pulster, associate director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Still, the gains are not enough to offset thousands of dollars in new transportation costs faced by local communities.