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. 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