Region 3 Homeless Council Monthly Meeting – MINUTES

103 Texas Ave, Bangor Health and Community Services

January 8, 2014 – 2:00 to 4:00 pm Note time change this meeting only

Welcome/Introductions (sign-in sheet), adjustments to the agenda

Francine Stark (via telephone); Steve Eyler (via telephone); Kat Perkins (via telephone); Christine Brown (via telephone); MaryEllen Quinn (via telephone); Candy Eaton; Cullen Ryan; Awa Conteh; Rowena Griffin; Karen Martin

REGRETS:  Rindy Fogler, Dennis Marble, Dave McCluskey,

Statewide Homeless Council update:  Not met since December.  Next meeting 1/14/14 – Steve will represent Region 3

Rally this morning:  Cover Me Now – Maine People’s Alliance; press conference; meeting with representatives & senators; explain expansion of MaineCare coverage.  Within 1-2 weeks, hearing on expansion – packed, aiming for 400 people, lines out the door; counter demonstration re: welfare expansion. 

Good long conversation with Sen. Margaret Craven – bill entered today – calls for $750K to support homeless shelters.  She is well connected with New Beginnings – youth homelessness.  Tell the real story of people’s lives affected.  Dennis will be active on this bill.  Issue brought up to Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.

Discussion Topics:

1.      Pressing issues in Region III:

Rowena/BAHS residents are stuck – not eligible for any other voucher program.  If working, over income for GA, WRAP $ need MH diagnosis, folks who are working – need additional time to save $$ for security deposits, vouchers are taking some time, homelessness not priority for BRAP, STEP voucher (HOPE House) for people to get back on their feet within year, SSVF have funds for rapid rehousing, many lost MC 1/1/14, individual story re: lost MC / not able to afford $800 injections/month; those on disability (SSI) have full MC 30% or less; 2/3rds don’t have MC (Rowena to send #s);   discussed couple in van at Brewer Walmart

AWA – security deposits and loss of MC, do not meet criteria for MC – losing other services ie: case managers; inhumane, continues to provide case management.

Francine – same story – need vouchers really badly, access project-based voucher, used other grant funding for security deposits; gathers info re: shelter residents MC status;

Steve – 30 days, transportation remains issue, housing, employment challenges, vouchers dried up, easily less than 50% do not have MaineCare; 43 beds; 466 people turned away (2012); for everyone helped, turned away 3; could only help 25% of those who requested; (2013) 180 unduplicated, turned away 2.25 times; only ones they know about.  Busiest in springtime – nowhere else to turn; same story across the state;

Kat (Spruce Run) – agree with voucher shortage – housing is full-time job; 50% have / 50% do not have MC;

Christine (AMHC) – WRAP, BRAP, Shelter+Care, Section 17 related, much higher volume who have lost MC, TBI rehabilitation lost MC – cannot access services thru brain-injury program.  Excellent story for LD hearing; sent request to CI programs re: client stories – difference between MC/non-MC – value recovery; transportation continues to be large issue.  Good situation in vouchers, re: PATH services, BRAP vouchers – continue to ask.  AMHC will take referrals from other agencies as long as they have capacity & funding.   Compliments to Steve serving homeless population and partnerships; noted decentralized areas in need of shelter.

MaryEllen Quinn (CHCS) – change in non-cat availability – may not be seeing the full impact yet – paying for therapy, addiction treatment, med management, etc.  Huge impact over next 3 months (negative).  Increase jail census.  Important to stay vocal.  Seeing people who are still living in cars – severe this time of year.  Some couch-surfing.  No resources for emergency motel.  Coordination meeting with 1st responders (crisis) and shelter folks to keep communication open.  More pressure on shelters.  In PATH – not serving MC funded.  Non-cat did not pay for CI.  State funding to keep continuity.  When CHCS opens up CI – how to communicate info.  Brian Moynihan is intake coordinator for CHCS. 

Karen (VA) – not as many referrals, don’t have health care access issue, vets sitting in shelters not eligible for VA services – getting upsurge of people living in cars, not willing to consider shelters.   5 nights couch-surfing vs. 25 nights in car.  Ellsworth guy couch-surfing / car – income too good for shelters ($2200/mo), made bad choices – tough to reach with treatment.

Common theme:  lack of rental vouchers; losing MaineCare eligibility at 1/1/14 – remember to discuss with media & legislators

2.      Efforts at ending long term homelessness – Long term stayers (no update)

3.  Recommendations to Statewide Homeless Council (no update)

Regional Council take on MaineCare expansion with local representatives. (no update)

State and Federal Updates

Point in time:  Maine COC conducts Point In Time in Maine (last Weds in January) conducted in collaboration with MSHA, collaborate with shelters, BPD ride-along, Hope House (2012) & BAHS went out with BPD, Karen wants to be trained (Awa will forward info to Karen); MSHA – housing inventory chart; if not in HMIS – receive paper version; may be a webinar that will be posted to MSHA website; shelters, streets, housing in transition, those in places unfit for human habitation; Public Health nurses participate;

2 bills:  funding for homeless shelters; expansion MC; cuts to GA – Governor painting picture of wide-spread

One targets immigrants (GA – Portland, Lewiston, Bangor) – lengthen time in order to be eligible for benefits; if have green card – eligible for any national program; asylum seekers – difficult paper trail; Catholic Charities – documents those they bring into the state;

Carryover bills – process in January; lots of vigor against those in poverty.  Governor moving Portland DHHS office to South Portland.  Cutting transportation funding. 

Fed:  National Housing Trust Fund – Mr. Watt – expect Maine to get $3 million for extremely low income housing development.  Food stamp benefits cut.

Nomination process for Chair

Karen wants to be co-chair; nominated

Rindy —  another possibility – Cullen to twist arm (Awa nominated Rindy)

Agency updates – Including a review of numbers of people who are homeless at each facility/program

Cullen’s project in Brewer (48 units – at least 12 will be for chronically homeless) – 2 years; efficiency apt. in Maine Hall available; Rowena / Awa have candidate;

Karen:  VASH openings (3) Bangor – has candidates to screen for these openings; SSVF supportive services for families – connect with Preble Street – since hired Robert Jones & Deb Hook (CHCS) starting Monday.  VASH coordinates with SSVF if organized properly.  SSVF designed for 3 month help – can extend to 6 months.

Awa:  collaborate with shelters long-term stayers, 3 ½ year camper got into nice building – spent Thanksgiving, Hope House just sent list of long term stayers – please get in touch with City of Bangor – also link with Case Management

Rowen:  not huge attendance on Saturday vigil (started freezing rain) – program was really good, ton of media coverage, Paul Edwards BPD impromptu opening with BAHS resident; Tripp Gardner’s boys sang, next year simulcast on local access;

Francine:  continue to provide services – very cold!  Citizen’s Energy — $8K heating bill – hoping that funding comes through this year!

Steve:  Citizen’s Energy — $35K heating bill; no VASH, no funding for veterans in Aroostook County – substantial #, only reported thru shelter.  See about a dozen vets each year.  Trying to get vets fast-tracked & plugged into VA system. 

MaryEllen:  share good stories – in shelter, outdoors – housed last month – in tent near airport mall, had some survival skills, finally got voucher & moved to Lincoln where some support; couple others who were particularly difficult – Waterworks and one apartment.  CHCS has primary care practitioner – Kathleen Bernard , (St. Joseph Hospital) in CHCS med clinic – part of WIN program – Wellness Integration Now.  Health care team approach – MaineCare;  access other services – peer / nurse care manager for those without MC.  Contact Kim Donovan for more info (922-4495)

12.11.13 Minutes to approve:  so moved, second, accepted as distributed

Set Agenda for the Next Meeting:  (2/12/14, 1-3pm) same location