Region 3 Homeless Council Monthly Meeting – Minutes
103 Texas Ave, Bangor Health and Community Services
December 11, 2013 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
1:00-1:10 Welcome/Introductions (sign-in sheet), adjustments to the agenda
- Rindy Fogler, City of Bangor
- Kat Perkins , Spruce Run/Womancare Alliance
- Cullen Ryan, CHOM
- Catherine Sullivan, PCHC Hope House,
- Phil Allen, Preble Street Veteran Housing Services
- Keri Dunton Preble Street Veteran Housing Services
- Dennis Marble, BAHS
- Karen Martin, Bangor VA Clinic
- Joe Locke, MSHA (phone)
- Steve Eyler (phone)
- Candy Eaton, DHHS/SAMHS (phone) note-taker
- Kerry Polyot-Stefani, Stepping Stones (phone)
- Regrets: Rebecca Hobbs, The Next Step; Mary Ellen Quinn, CHCS
1:10-1:30 Statewide Homeless Council update
Steve will start attending the SHC meetings in the future.
Yesterday: Lewiston/Auburn – roundtable – review SHC 12-13, 3 each region, director Maine Housing, DHHS/SAMHS, DOC, Regional participation, reviewed plan, Bob Rowe, New Beginnings welcome –
Dialogue about all the new changes in Lewiston/Auburn. Issues with political environment, teens / adults unable to access services, adult homeless shelter access – gospel mission seen as challenging high barrier, receive MSH $, don’t proselytize, underground homelessness in area; political climate – mayor & city council not supporting low income housing or shelters; solutions – using point in time data more effectively, count numbers well, get more people involved, military, CDBG planning, jobs & housing ideas, data collection. Action steps: data collection, trading volunteers, personal stories, relationships, urban development plan – drive around (parts of Lewiston are looking like New Orleans after the hurricane) condemned buildings, entire areas, driving people out of affordable housing; huge problem – fire depts. won’t go into area. Not a clear plan – group continue to meet, access resources. Keep funds in Region 2. Good turnout–60 attended meeting.
Lewiston facing extreme economic challenges. Reasonable discussion with city manager re: workforce housing, homeless housing. Quite a bit behind the rest of the state. Recommend formal discussion at next SHC re: fed/state funding for homeless shelters (elephant in the room). Advise MSHA to hold shelters accountable. Prior advisory report to legislation, MSHA, DHHS, etc. re: this issue.
Barriers to general assistance. 1.800.442.6003 – call if denied services.
Maine Military Community Network – point in time count in area, creative ideas, distribute info
Open 800 # at Preble St to get better idea of true homeless count in Lewiston. Grassroots efforts. PATH program is assisting. Sanford had success with weeklong data gathering – 1 day too short. Coaching of survey takers – sensitive to community (trained) – what does homelessness look like.
Difficult to count those who want to be off the grid.
Phil Allen, homless vets Preble St., expand services statewide – support services from VA
Bangor area, L/A area, case managers – 15 Main St, Bangor – as far south / north as needed.
Short term intensive case management, connect vets to services to stabilize housing, BRAP, Shelter+ care – any alternative housing options.
Partner with Pine Tree Legal, direct client representation at eviction court, successful in negotiating accommodations for families in the Portland area – reasonable. Legal, temp financial assistance, rent, utilities, pay arrears, security deposits for vets, transportation costs, public transportation (unlimited), child care (contract with any day care provider); moving expenses, emergency fund (comes with restrictions)
Keri — on the job –working 1-1/2 weeks – welcome; graduate from UMaine; 1-800 referral line;
Dennis – welcome and stop by BAHS – contact Rowena Griffin
Intensive case management – primarily 90 days, can be extended if needed. Average time in program = 75 days, but some vulnerable folks on case load over 1 year. Flexibility important.
Contrast in numbers –dual diagnosis, rural nature of challenge – not on radar until “crash & burn”; lots of networking. HUD-VASH has some restrictions. Update 211. WHCA new program – coordinate with Preble Street & VA. Collaborate and reach out. Open to having hours at shelters, GA office, wherever needed. VFW & Veterans for Peace. Roving outreach may be more effective. Can work with anyone with military service as long as not “dishonorable” discharge.
1:30 -2:15 Discussion Topics:
- 1. Pressing issues in Region III — same old, same old – increasing length of stay at BAHS, 6 nights increase to 6 weeks, increasing health issues. Federal Budget deal yesterday re: cut sequester in half. New director at BHA – more open, helpful. Continue to place folks at locales that reinforce homelessness. 4 open beds last night. Structurally not encouraged. Where is the voice of leadership? Oldest housing stock in USA. Watching resources get cut. Ad-hoc committee (shelter directors) – placeholder bill in – increase resources for homeless shelters. State share is less than 25 years ago. 1 year ago: Folks sleeping outside, BPD picking up, current status: 5 over capacity last week, guesstimate 10 still outside. Discussion about PATH, Home to Stay PCHC, stepping stones, Emmaus, TNS / Washington County, Homeless services in Aroostook; GA seeing a lot of young families coming in with no place to stay. – happens on Friday afternoon. Hotels less inclined to take families while waiting for Section 8 vouchers. Ann’s House (3-4 slots) – back up & running? BHA – Park woods development. Seeing high medical need in shelter? Don’t know how to quantify. Need medical step-down facility. HOPE House has terrific psychiatrist. DV: Communal living – fearful, different, working to nail-down intake process, helping support children & mom. Has there been an increase in DV incidents over the past 2 months? Yes. Seeing extreme violence, increase in attempted / successful murders. Substance abuse treatment – definitely city council initiative – Suboxone / Methodone clinics – higher numbers than anywhere else in state. Impending drop-off MaineCare recipients – 1000 in Bangor area currently receiving addiction services will lose MC services 1/1/14. General Assistance, law enforcement, shelters will begin picking up cost. Loss of MC coverage will have concrete consequences. Rally at State House 1/8/14 from 8-1 for Cover ME Now – bringing the Affordable Care Act funding into Maine. Recent legislative presentation Bangor City Health (Jamie Comstock).
2. Efforts at ending long term homelessness – Long term stayers: subcommittee to work with Joe Flynn, Massachusetts Housing Alliance – waiver, chronic homeless. DRAFT white paper – for Maine DHHS Commissioner & Guy Cousins. Small population, higher morbidity rates, numerous communities cost of homelessness vs. housing, effective models, behavioral health partnerships, C-SPECH, other successful pilot projects. Go out in the next couple weeks – challenge DHHS. Would enhance services so that housing can occur. Shelter + Care, copy Bangor, target resources to long-term stayers. Penquis has many properties that may be eligible for priority populations. 20-30 of 100 vouchers may be coming to Bangor.
3. Recommendations to Statewide Homeless Council: see above. Existing statute – reauthorize? Needs to be bi-partisan support or withdraw request. Other recommendations – email to representatives (Shawn, Steve & Sister Lucille)
2:15-2:30 Regional Council take on MaineCare expansion with local representatives.
(11/13/13) All to contact local State Representatives and Senators re: need for healthcare for people who are homeless; review of draft talking points;
Bangor City Health presentation to local legislators; Maine Public Health system – district (advisory) – regional effort to all area legislators. Ed Youngblood has long history of serving legislature. Cover ME Now has Ed on short-list; he attended event, but did not make any statements or ask questions. Forward info to Candy for distribution through list-serve
2:30-2:40 State and Federal Updates. Nuclear option (federal) – many appointments confirmed yesterday. New head of Federal Finance authority may finally fund the National Housing Trust Fund, which was authorized in 2008 and is designed to set-aside $$ to target affordable housing with 75% for extremely low-income. Tax credits have helped but it has been since the Ford administration that we have developed major Section 8 housing; sequestration softened a bit; 2 year plan – no January shut-down; State: redo LD598 did not get approved for reconsideration by the legislature to go forward. Rally – 1/8/14.
2:40-2:45 Nomination process for Chair: Dedicated agenda time next month – need someone for 2014.
2:45-3:00 Agency updates – Including a review of numbers of people who are homeless at each facility/program
- Develop count each month – see BDN snapshot (weekly); # people served at each shelter
- HOPE House – in transition, negotiated with City, trying to hold to agreed-upon #(69 or 79) beds; running 3-7 over nightly;
- BAHS – using cots some nights, 35-36/38 beds full, not a big line at 6:30pm – turn-aways over phone; long-time stayers 180 days cumulating – fewer than 8 people; (43 units in winter); Bangor vigil info distributed – allows for more families to bring kids; exploring pilot project with hospital chronically ill – arrangement for direct linkage to med support – tiny house, general outreach, direct monitored re: med piece.
- VA: Upsurge in Hancock County – VA partnership with new WHCA program; big number of vets need housing support, relying upon partnerships with Region 3 coalition.
- Bangor City: Waterfront corridor — 6 buildings demolished; balancing act, rates set above what GA will pay (still reasonable); Cedar Street – curb, paving sidewalks; support workforce housing; where is cheap housing? Working poor; struggling to find affordable housing
- Spruce Run: Working things out with WomenCare merger, sharing resources; language (yours/ours); 6WC / 18SR staff; hotline; so many levels; any merger takes a lot of work
- Joe: Home to stay trained all round 2 folks; applications trickling in from new providers;
- Discussion re: posting minutes on website without email contact info.
NOTE NEW TIME: Next Meeting: 1/08/14 2-4pm