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January 2023

Ed Caisse

January 12 2023

Virtual Networking Meeting

Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative
Meeting Notes

Date: January 12, 2023
Time: 1:00pm to 2:30pm
Place: Zoom Meeting

Mission Statement: The Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative is a partnership between local, state & federal law enforcement; city & state government; civic & human service organizations; faith based organizations; the business community; education providers; property managers; and residents coming together with a goal to create safe, healthy & economically viable neighborhoods through information sharing, identifying at-risk youth, referrals and community efforts in specific Holyoke neighborhoods.

Welcome & Introduction 1:00pm - 1:05pm

Jennezzy Martinez: Way Finders 1:05pm - 1:20pm

Thank you Ed. Good afternoon, everybody, thank you for having us Ed. As he mentioned, my name is Jennezzy Martinez. I am a manager for Homeless Prevention at Way Finders and I will be presenting a little slide. If you have any questions, I put my information in the chat as well as the information for the Director of Homeless Prevention, the Housing Consumer Education Center, and Jodi Smith, our Senior Vice President. I will stay on as long as possible, but I do have to leave the meeting a little early, but my information is here and at the end of the presentation you will see the information to contact my director. Again welcome, our mission here at Way Finders is to light pathways and open doors to homes and communities where people thrive. Way Finders confronts homelessness head on in the communities throughout Western MA, including Hampden and Hampshire counties. We have developed targeted services that help people lift themselves up and out of homelessness with a focus on housing, real estate, employment support, and community services. Way Finders programs and services, these are some of the lines of businesses here at Way Finders. The Housing Consumer Education Center, which you may hear some folks say HCEC; Emergency Financial Housing Assistance which is the RAFT Program; our Fair Housing program; Accountable Care Organization Program, which is our ACO program; Homeownership and Financial Education; Resident Resource Center is our emergency housing for families; Supportive Housing for Young Parents called Turning Point and Survivors of Domestic Violence, which is called Safe Step; Employment Support Services; Rental Assistance and Economic Mobility; Affordable Housing Development; Affordable Housing Management; and Community Building and Engagement. I see some of my colleagues are on here, hello everyone. Emergency Financial Housing Assistance Funds, available funds are for renters only. In the past we were able to assist homeowners but with the funding we currently have now our funds are strictly for renters only who are residing in Massachusetts. RAFT, residential assistance for families, is a benefit cap up to $10,000. Unfortunately, as of January 31st, 2022, we no longer have funding for Monson. We were able to help renters who were in arrears in Monson, so we no longer have those fundings. Funds can assist residents of Hampden and Hampshire counties with rent arrears; one prospective rent payment which is a stipend for future rent, utility shutoffs with a minimum required to restore or protect services, move in costs which includes first and last month’s rent, a security deposit, up to $1000 in furniture- and that includes delivery, and moving costs up to $5000.

RAFT can assist a family or individual in relocating. The additional information and link to apply for renters, you can go right onto Way Finders page and start application for any financial assistance. For RAFT, COVID crisis is no longer a requirement. Households with income-based subsidies cannot receive payments for more than six months of arrears and are not eligible for a stipend, so no future payments for an individual's that is subsidized. Subsidy holders who are moving are eligible for first/last month’s rent or a security deposit. The benefit cap is $10,000 per household in any rolling 12-month period. Utility arrears requires a shut off notice or proof that assistance is needed to turn utilities on at a new unit. Income for RAFT is an AMI of 50% and up to an AMI of 60% for households at risk of injury or harm due to domestic violence in their current living situations. This slide is just an overview of the Area Median Income (AMI) for families. It is very important that when applicants, or if you are supporting an applicant in submitting an application, they have this required documentation in order for us to move the application forward and be able to assist. Required supporting documents are an Application ID, which is required for the Head of Household only, it must include their name and date of birth, and be verified through a driver's license, Birth certificate, Passport, State issued ID, etc. Verification of current housing, a lease, a tenancy agreement, or a tenancy at will form is required. Verification of eligible housing crisis, documentation will depend on the housing crisis but for example if someone is facing eviction or is in arrears, we will need a notice to quit from a landlord. Proof of income is not required but if available it can be uploaded. Income can also be gathered through other services if not provided. Our system automatically verifies if an individual is receiving MassHealth or DTA and that can make a household income eligible. If an individual does not receive either of those two, we will need to request additional information such as pay stubs or whatever benefits they are receiving. A social security card is not required; however, every member of the household must provide a name, date of birth, social security number if they have one, gender, ethnicity, and income. Households do not need to have a legal immigration status to qualify.

This is a list of required documents and verifications. A notice to quit from a landlord is now required. Evictions, a summary process summons and complaints from the courts. A doubled up and must leave/overcrowding is a letter from the primary tenant or landlord including the address of where the household is staying , verifying that the household is being asked to leave, or documentation showing that the current unit is too small for the number of people residing there such as but not limited to a letter from the landlord verifying the number of people and the bedrooms in the unit. Health and Safety must demonstrate a serious health and safety risk that prevents continued residency, for example like a failed inspection, if the city had found that unit to be inhabitable, condemning a unit, these are all documents that we would be requesting. Domestic violence, need documentation to support allegations connected to inability to stay safe or what we really ask is that if an individual is facing this on the application it allows that to self-attest. So, we will not ask that someone provide us with a restraining order, we do not want to put anyone in harm's way, so a self testament is enough for RAFT. Fire/Flood/Natural Disaster reports of floods, fires, or natural disasters. Utility shutoffs, a current shutoff notice or verification that service has already been disconnected, or proof that assistance is needed to turn on utilities at a new unit. We can also help with the deposit when moving into a new unit. Other crisis that will result in imminent housing loss, documentation demonstrates that that the family will be at imminent risk within the next thirty-days, so a landlord could be asking for possession of the unit that is enough for us to go in and assist with moving costs. Tips to increase processing time, we have moved on to a new program and this will be super helpful when helping an individual complete an application, is making sure that when submitting an application that is incomplete will delay the process while our staff chases documents. To avoid this we would ensure that all required documents are uploaded such as the ID, proof of housing crisis, and proof of current housing, ensure landlord contact information is the in the application- both email and phone number, and alert your landlord to look for an email requesting landlord documentation – they will be asked to upload a W9, proof of ownership, and an appointment of agent if that applies to them. I have made it to the end of my presentation and will take questions or hand it over to you Ed.

Agency Overview and Updates 1:25pm - 2:25pm

Abbie Germain: Western Mass Moms
Hey Eddie, good afternoon everyone, thank you so much. I missed last month so I am happy to be back today. I do represent the Western Mass Moms program, for those of you that do not know what that program is; we provide an opportunity for mothers and other caregivers of children under 18 a chance to receive our services. Our program is part of a research study, so it is free to join, and we pay to participate along the way as participants move through the program. We offer a stress management course and some employment services, and really help moms break down goals and reach resources that can help them reach their goals. Updates for our program are that we are growing; I think we have about 12 or 13 employees now on our team. Our goal for the New Year is to continue to make community connections. If I haven’t already presented to you or your staff, I would love to do that. I am also setting up a schedule to have agencies present to my team so that I can share all the information from your programs to my staff so that they can refer our moms to your program as needed. I am happy to be here and if anyone has any questions, I put my information in the chat, but I look forward to connecting and remaining community partners throughout the year and Eddie, thanks for this opportunity.

Adair Medina: Holyoke Pediatrics
Hi, I am Adair Medina care coordinator from Holyoke Pediatrics. My coworker, Erika Vasquez just put in a question for Jennezzy. I don't know if she was able to see it, but I have nothing new here.

Ana Gerena: Girls Inc. of the Valley
Hello, good afternoon, everyone. I am with Girls Inc. of the Valley headquarters in Holyoke. We serve youth in Holyoke, Chicopee, and Springfield ages five through 18. I'm just going to put up a quick plug in for something you'll probably get in your inboxes soon; Our Eureka program is currently recruiting 7th, 8th and 9th graders. Eureka is a five-year college and career readiness program that's focused on STEM. The first two years, they head over to UMass campus during the summer, and receive classes from professors, which is amazing. One of the years they work on a community service project and then the last two is really focused on getting ready for college and they head over to the Bay Path campus. We are recruiting, so if you work with youth, please encourage them to apply. It is a great program that we offer. I also want to put in a plug, I'm currently working on revamping our volunteer program called the Girls Inc. Go Getters. This volunteer group is going to be working within our organization more impactfully, as well as working in community outreach efforts, which is a part of my role. I really want to be more involved in what's going on, specifically in Holyoke, so if you have any events or anything going on that you need a group of volunteers, please let me know. I would be happy to collaborate and work on that. Thank you.

Adlyn Colon: Holyoke Community College
Good afternoon, my name is Adlyn Colon. I work for the Holyoke Community College Adult Education Program. We offer HiSET or GED Preparation classes and ESOL classes. We are now recruiting for February, since our cycle will start from February 27th. We also are going to be having hotel preparation and line cooking starting at the end of the month. I am going to put the website in the chat so you can get more information. Thank you.

Barbara Droz: Way Finders
Hi, I am Barbie. I am the resident service coordinator for Way Finders in our Holyoke portfolio. We just had a credit success workshop on January 10th. We are working on bringing it back for February and March. I don't have dates yet, but I'll keep you guys posted. Thank you.

Benjamin Ostiguy: Holyoke Community College
I am the Thrive coordinator here at HCC. At the Thrive Center we have a food pantry, a grab and go snack program for students, and we support students who are facing food and housing insecurity. We also assist students with applying for SNAP and Mass Health. Our overarching mission is to make sure that students don't have to choose between their essentials for life and an education. We want to make sure that access to essential programs does not hinder them from progressing. Thank you.

Deshawn Brown: Massachusetts State Police
Good morning, everyone. Thanks for having me. It has been a while. Thanks for having me, Ed, glad to be back. No new information at this time. I am, however, always looking to participate in resource or career fairs in the area. So, if anybody has any of those coming up let me know. Thank you. Have a good day.

Domonica LaValley: New England Farm Workers
Hi, I am Nikki LaValley. I am the Director of Housing and shelter for New England Farm Workers. We have a shelter in Springfield and one in Holyoke. Our shelter in Holyoke right now is housing 24 families and we are just looking for accessible housing in the community.

Elizabeth Veillette: CHD
Hi, I am Elizabeth Veillette. I am the Employment Service navigator for CHD’s diversion shelter and housing division. I work predominantly with families in shelters and emergency hotels. We are currently building our navigator team to include domestic violence specialists, family life specialists, and we're expanding the team out to work with people in home base as well. Other than that, I don't really have anything else to report. I'm so happy to be back after missing a couple of meetings. Thank you.

Ellen Broadhurst: Hampden County Courts
Oh, I am sorry. I am driving, I just wanted to say hi to everybody. I am a social service expert forensically working with the Hampden County Courts.

Emily Skoczylas: Alianza
Hi, good afternoon. My name is Emily Skoczylas. I am the education and outreach coordinator for all Alianza Domestic Violence, formerly known as Women’s Shelter Companeras. The little plug that I would like to put in today is, there was an email sent out on our four by six stickers that now contain QR codes. They can be hung anywhere, they peel right off and go right on a mirror or glass. Those will be sent out tomorrow if you are interested. I will put my information in the chat. Thanks again for having me.

Emmanuel Reyes: United Way of Pioneer Valley
Hello everybody. Happy New Year. Thank you for having me again, Ed. My name is Emmanuel Reyes, I am from the United Way of Pioneer Valley. We service Hampden County by offering a lot of community services. I have a few announcements to make. We have Thrive financial coaching meet and greet, which is going to be happening at the library on January 18th. We have another program which is called Power of the Purse, and we are collecting toiletries and purses for women. So, if you have any toiletries or purses that you feel like donating, please contact me. We also have Thrive for the Youth, financial coaching for the youth and that's going to be starting on January 31st. We also have EFSP Phase 40 press release happening, that will go out today at some point. Also, I wanted to invite you guys to our service center if you have not been, it is in Springfield and Chicopee, please pass by. We have a food pantry that is open here in Springfield on Wednesdays at nine a.m. to one p.m. and in Chicopee Tuesdays, Thursdays and Wednesdays as well. That is all I have. Thank you so much for having me.

Frances Monge: Clear Way Clinic
Yes, sorry, I had some technical difficulties there. Thank you for having us. I'm Frances Monge. I am the patient services clinic manager for Clear Way Clinic. We are a nonprofit women's health organization. What we do is we are a pregnancy center here to service women in need that find themselves pregnant in the Springfield and Holyoke and surrounding areas. We are just here looking to have more connections with the community and resources where we can help these women find the proper resources to help them as they as they face crisis situations and facing in having children.

Iris Sosa: Boy Scouts of America
Hello everyone. I am Iris Sosa; I am from the Boy Scouts of America Massachusetts Council. We are working in all Western Mass. We have different units. We have a program from Cub Scout age that is kindergarten all the way to fifth grade. We have a regular scouting program that is for boys and girls, 11 years old and up. We have the Explorer program that is more career oriented. Right now, we are opening three new Explorer programs. We have an Aviation Explorer, a Law Enforcement Explorer and Broadcasting Explorer post for 14 years old and up. We have some Fire Fighter posts too. If any of you are working with youth interested in those careers, please reach out to us. We are just recruiting kids. They learn what the career is about and what they need to be in that career, and what the training and stuff is like. We also have some programs coming up, one is outdoor activities during the winter. So, I am going to add the links and the flyer in the chat. You are more than welcome to try it if you want to be outdoors, we have some fun activities to do. Thank you.

Jason Comcowich: Nuestras Raices
Thank you ... greetings everyone. I am the Terra Corps community engagement coordinator with Nuestras Raices. I don't have a lot new to report this month. I am looking for occasional partnerships with people who are interested in youth programs and can teach cooking classes and gardening classes. So, if any of those youth resources sound interesting to you, my contact will be in the chat and then our further subsequent meeting notes, and I hope to have some nice community gardening news to share next month, so look forward to that.

Jennifer Santos: Way Finders
Hi Ed, my name is Jennifer Santos and I'm a system navigator for Way Finders- we’re a new team of four. Our job is to assist the housing search workers and case managers with more of the barriers across our shelter families in our portfolio with coming to meetings like this, finding more resources and assisting our workers in helping the families out. So, I'm glad to be here to connect with other different avenues to help them.

Jessie Berliner: MHA
Hi, I work with MHA. I work as a care coordinator at our GRIT Yale Street House. We are a recurring recovery residence for folks in the LGBTQ community. Lovely to meet you all. We're always looking for housing resources specifically, but I know that's a common thing.

Julia Zegarra: Alianza
Hi, I am Julia Zegarra, I am with Alianza Domestic Violence services. I'm the communications coordinator and Emily has already spoken to you about the stickers that we have, and I don't have anything else to add.

Jill Laboy: Gandara
I'm the program director for Gandara Residential Service for women in recovery. I think all of us just recently joined- looking for more resources for our ladies like the other ladies said in regard to housing. That seems to be a barrier for some of our women who are in recovery, hard for them to find you know safe housing when there's no room for them to go to like Serenity or Chess program if they don't have a criminal record. So, I am happy to be here.

Justine Sabbs: Holyoke Housing Authority
Hi everybody, Justine Sabbs Director of Resident Services at Holyoke Housing Authority. Happy to be here. I wanted to introduce, we have a new member of the Resident Services team, Jadaris Rivera, her microphone is not working but she's going to be working with our Section Eight voucher holders and doing some self-sufficiency programming and then kind of dipping our feet into community engagement and getting out in the community and meeting a lot of you. We will be planning our spring first time homebuyer workshops, so we will have one in March and April, and I think we are going to try to do one over the summer as well, so we'll send that out other than that things are moving along. Thank you.

Karina Castro: Westover Job Corps
Hello everyone. Good afternoon and Happy New Year. I am an admissions counselor at Westover Job Corps Center located in Western Mass in Chicopee. We are serving those ages 16 and 24 who are looking to join a program for career training. We are currently scheduling in-person center tours, again for interested people in the area, on Wednesdays only, either 10 o'clock in the morning or I p.m. We are also offering virtual orientations for those who want to continue with the admissions process. We have five admissions counselors who serve the Western Mass area. We are available, I will leave my information in the chat and if you have any questions, please reach out. We are also looking to participate in outreach and volunteer opportunities in the Holyoke area. Thank you.

Kashawn Sanders: Follow My Steps
How are you doing everybody? Kashawn Sanders, Follow My Steps Foundation. What we do is we put youth with their future selves and surround them with the most resources that can help them with financial literacy, professional development, and community engagement. We most recently launched our fitness program at Best Fitness over in Springfield. We are actively trying to have a foothold in the Holyoke area. So please reach out to us because we want to get in front of the youth. We want to talk about our program, and other ways that they can stay in shape, stay healthy and learn some of these better habits that they can start practicing at a younger age to take them into adulthood. So please reach out to me, my information is in the chat. We have at least one community event every month and for those of you that can make it on the 26th of this month at the Springfield Wine Exchange. We're going to have a little networking meeting and it's going to be a good time for everybody to kind of unwind after work for additional details please, reach out to me. Thank you.

Keiry Dilone: Young Adults Supported Living program
Hi everyone. My name is Keiry, I am the case manager for the Young Adults Supported Living program. I wanted to talk about my clothing drive that I'm doing. I'm collecting a lot of clothes for donations for homeless people, children, women, men, families, all kinds. I'm going to put my information in the chat, if any of you want to donate. I am also always looking for opportunities for community service for our youth and recreational activities that they can participate in. So, if anyone has any community service, please put it in the chat. Thank you.

Kocayne Givner: Holyoke City Council
Hi Ed, thanks for having this meeting. I just dropped in because I see all your awesome emails. As a Ward Four City Council for counselor for Holyoke, I wanted to hear about all the great programs that are happening from the various agencies. There's a lot of interesting things that come before the council and I thought it would be very helpful to see the glue that is Holyoke Safe Neighborhoods. So, thanks for letting me listen in for a bit.

Lani Ortiz: DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps
Hi guys, my name is Lani, I use She/Her pronouns, I'm with DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps program. We are currently in our recruitment process. We're looking for members to join a 10-month term where they will be supporting youth in the Western Mass community. It's a lot of personal and professional development of skills and community connections. Also, the members do receive an education award, as of recently it has increased, which is very exciting. Typically, it's $6,495 and now it's $6,895, so it went up $400 which is nice for the members. Reach out if you have any students that are graduating or individuals that are in the middle of finding jobs or just looking for something new to be involved in. Thank you.

Liandro Gonzalez: Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
Hello everybody. Liandro Gonzalez, Hampden County Sheriff's Department working here at the Holyoke Police Community Center. Nothing the report at this time. Thank you.

Liz Plouffe: East Hampden & Bay State
Hello everybody. Good afternoon. I am the community social worker for East Hampden. I also work part time for Bay State at the main hospital campus as a social worker. I am mostly here for resources, but I did want to share that a couple of months ago we started a student closet for our high school, and it has since exploded. I have way more clothes than we need. So, if anybody needs clothing for young people, I am happy to set up a pickup or drop off. I recently made a huge donation to AISS in Springfield and a couple of the shelters. I have coats that still have tags on them. I have vests and shoes and everything under the sun. So, if anybody's looking for clothes for participants or clients at your program, I will put my info in the chat. I am happy to share it. Thank you.

Lydia Pares: Big Brothers Big Sisters
Hi, my name's Lydia. I'm with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Hampden County. I used to attend these in person and then Cindy, my co-worker, took over but I will be coming back and helping her out with that. We are a youth serving organization for ages 7 to 14 and we pair them up with mentors. We have different programs such as the community-based ones and site-based ones. We are always looking for people who would want to become mentors and make a difference in the community, thank you for letting me share.

Madeline Martinez: Way Finders
Hello guys, my name is Madeline. I work for Way Finders. I am the employment supported services manager. We help our clients that are in shelter, home base, or RAFT do employment and training and help them get jobs. So, if you have any questions, just let me know.

Maria Chambers: Behavioral Health Network
Hi everyone. I am Maria Chambers, I'm a senior program manager at the Behavior Health Network, and I have two updates for you. First, I've heard a lot mentioned today about individuals in need of housing and I wanted to talk about our C3 flexible services housing program. It is a partnership with C3 Insurance, which is Community Care Cooperative and Way Finders, that provides pre-imposed tendency sustaining support for individuals, those who are at risk of homelessness and those who are facing homelessness. We have housing specialists who work with individuals to complete all sorts of applications for housing. They work around advocating landlord tenant disputes. We can also assist individuals who are transitioning into housing with funds for first, last, and security, as well as transition goods like beds, mattresses, tables, and chairs. I put the information card into the chat, so please feel free to look it over and give us a call if that's something that would be helpful. The other thing I wanted to mention is just to give a plug about BHN’s Community Behavior Health Center, which opened as of January 3rd, and this is basically a hub where we're going to have coordinated integrated mental health and substance use treatment for Mass Health members of all ages. These are services that are provided in person and via telehealth. It includes same day evaluation and access to treatment. We have hours during the week and evenings. Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm. Please feel free to reach out and spread the word about that as well. Thank you.

Melany Mendoza: Mass Mentoring
How is everybody? My name is Melany. I'm part of Mass Mentoring partnership, a statewide organization that supports mentoring and supporting relationships. We are a capacity building organization. We provide professional development training. We have an assigned line item for the state budget of $1.5 million that has been increasing, thanks to much of your advocacy. That money gets distributed to formal structure mentoring programs. I am so excited to be here. I am going to put our link to get to our training in the chat. We have a number of training courses that are provided and available to anyone who wants to participate. Some of them are restricted, but that gives you an idea of what we do. I'm also going to put out a call; we do have a networking group for youth development programs, and we are looking to have our next one in person. As you know, in the last three years it feels that the person locations have not been as sick. So, I am looking for someone from Holyoke or Springfield who has a big enough space and would love to host our next networking meeting happening in February. So, if you are interested, please send me a private message or email me and I will truly appreciate that. Thank you.

Nolan Teixeira: Eagle Eye
Hi everyone I am Nolan Teixeira, I use he/him pronouns. I am the current program manager for the Eagle Eye Institute based in Holyoke, Massachusetts. This is my first time at the meeting, so it's nice to meet people in the community. If anyone has experience with the previous program manager, Cass Pastoral, I'm stepping into that role now. So, a little bit about Eagle Eye. We are based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, but we have a land trust site in Carew Mass where we host youth groups. Our purpose is to serve primarily black and brown youth by connecting them to nature in access to natural sites. My role is connecting youth groups, whether they be youth organizations or schools, with instructors and volunteers to lead lessons in natural areas and creating accessibility for nature and natural sites. I can leave my email in the chat here if anyone wants to get in touch, but it's good to meet people in the community so we can connect a bit more.

Rondey Allen: Cross Point Clinical Services
Hey, good afternoon everybody. I am the executive director for Cross Point Clinical Services. I want to say thank you to Jennezzy for your presentation. I am proud to serve on the board of Wayfinders. You guys do some great work, especially to support people through the pandemic. At Cross Point, our mission statement is redeeming mind, body, and spirit through exceptional clinical care and wellness services. We specialize in providing Christian based outpatient therapy, but our license staff is very professional and works with many people who do not come from that perspective. We're about to host a couple of things you might be interested in; a class called “Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work” is based on the work of renowned researchers, John and Julie Gottman. They are kind of the gurus of the field. This eight-session class is a workbook based and is going to teach about these principles which are powerful. I've read the book a few times and use their work and my treatment as well. Then also if anybody's looking at some fitness goals for the New Year, we also have a wellness staff, two trainers who coach people through their goals. We try to make it very accessible in terms of pricing and packaging and it's very professional. They provide a 15-minute consultation. I will put the link for both of those things in the chat. Thank you guys.

Josh Colon: Holyoke Police Department
Hello everyone. Officer Josh, Holyoke Police Department working at a two-way race street right now, I have nothing to report.

Robin Neipp: Moms Demand Action
Hi everybody. I am the local volunteer group lead for Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense. Good news in Illinois. I do not know if everyone saw it, but the Democratic reelected governor signed some commonsense gun legislation including the Assault Ban in Illinois. So, it is exciting. The thing that we offer is Be Smart, it talks about safe storage. We talk a lot about legislation, and we try to support community partners. We are pretty active in Springfield right now. I did want to point out, I had sent out a flyer that the Greater Springfield Nonviolent Committee is having a Martin Luther King event and I think Ed was going to send it or post it. I look forward to meeting you all. Thank you.

Rosalyn Rodriguez: YWCA
Hi, I am Rosalyn Rodriguez. I am the new program director for the YWCA Holyoke Teen Living program. My program empowers the residents who will pursue an education, develop parenting and life skills. It is my first meeting. I do not know if anyone here knew Darryl Roberts, but I am her replacement. Thank you.

Sandy Ward: Holyoke Public Library & The Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts
Thanks Ed. I am a volunteer wearing two different hats. The long term one has been helping the library with the mini golf event, which we have sponsors, and we welcome volunteers. I want to let you know that Saturday April 29th is the date this spring, that will be coming. I put a note in the chat with the contact information for Nancy Kaczmarski at the library who's coordinating. I'm not on the planning committee this year, but I'll be a volunteer there and hope to see a lot of you involved in that. My other volunteer role is with the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts. I announced last month that there was a 60-day comment period for the Federal Trade Commission. We can lobby to improve the federal funeral rule. One of the main things that we want updated, that hasn't been updated since 1984, is couldn't we have the funeral homes put their prices on their websites, which they didn't have in 1984, its way past time for that. The comment period has been extended. It was supposed to elapse last week, but it got extended until next Tuesday and I've put in the chat the link if you want to go to the Federal Trade Commission site and put in a sentence or two saying, by all means do this online thing, it's time. Thank you.

Sarah Lynn: MSPCC
Hi everybody, Sarah Lynn from MSPCC Prevention of the Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers' program, which are home visiting programs that support young parents in our area. We are actively taking referrals. Moving into 2023, we'd really like to engage some dads in our program and parents to be in our program. So, if you know anybody that could benefit from some extra support, please let us know. Thanks.

Sheryl Maldonado: Way Finders
Hi, good afternoon. My name is Sheryl Maldonado. I'm a resident engagement coordinator with Way Finders. We help the residents in Holyoke and in Springfield to engage with the community and to be that voice in the community. We also train our residents in computer classes and advocate for the community. If you need more information, I will leave my information in the chat. Thank you.

Stephanie Hines: Head Start
Hi, my name is Stephanie Hines. I am the RCA generalist over at Head Start. This is my very first meeting, so a little bit about Head Start, I'm sure many of you know, we service children from the ages of four weeks up to five years old. Our programs run Monday through Friday eight AM to two PM. We only have six-hour programs right now. I do not have any other events or anything coming up, but we are always looking for events to set up tables at. If anybody has any sort of community events that, you feel like children will be at, or we can reach families, low-income families, anybody receiving SNAP benefits, cash assistance, please let us know. You can always reach out to me. I put my information in the chat so that you guys can have my contact information. It is nice to meet all you guys. Thank you.

Stephanie Moore: Holyoke Rows
Hi, I am the director of Holyoke Rows. We run community boating programs down at Jones Ferry River access center. We have canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, dragon boats, stand up paddleboards and we can put just about anyone on the water. I want to tell you about a new program we started last year, Stem to Stern middle school rowing. We partnered with STEM Academy at Dean to get middle schoolers on the water. The idea behind the program is to give extra support to kids from a particular school to get them comfortable with rowing and give them extra support. We work on swimming skills, good nutrition and fitness. We also work on making sure kids have transportation, which is why we have targeted Dean first because we can walk down to the boathouse with the kids. I'm bringing it up because we want to, we want to partner with another school, another middle school in Holyoke, but we run into transportation issues. So, I'm sort of putting a call out to anyone who has ideas about, um, some way not to own a van personally, whether that be by partnering with an organization that already owns a van and sharing costs or how that might work so that we can get kids to the boathouse.

Professor Miguel Arce: Springfield College
As always, thank you Mr. Caisse. I'm still available to chat with anyone who's interested in considering higher education opportunities. I'm not embedded with one school, I've taught at HCC, Stick, Elms College, and Springfield College and just want to promote higher education for anyone that's interested. Please feel free to communicate with me. Thank you. Mr. Caisse.

Steven Fay: Holyoke Mayor’s Office
I am one of two assistants to Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia, Nilka Ortiz is the other, we have a variety of responsibilities but a fair part of each of our days is fielding phone calls from citizens. They may vary from a minor problem to an immediate crisis when it comes to issues of trash mold, unsafe conditions, etcetera. This is something we can handle municipally with our own resources. Our Board of Health, Fire Department, Police Department, Holyoke Housing Authority, just as often we need to reach out to Valley Opportunity Council, Way Finder's, CHD and we're grateful to everyone who is participating in this group because at one time or another we may be getting in touch with you and looking for some backup. On the other hand, if any organization or individual needs to get the attention of the mayor has an issue that ought to come to the mayor's attention, please call this office. Thank you.

Sunibel Guerrero: Community Education Project
Hi, my name is Sunibel Guerrero. I am the Office Administrator for the community education project. We offer ESOL classes and HiSET GED in Spanish. At the moment, we are currently accepting new students, we provide digital training and devices to our students. If you know someone who might be interested, please let us know. Thank you.

Yajaira Marquez: Holyoke Chicopee Family Community Program
Hello everybody. I'm Yajaira, I work with the Holyoke Chicopee Family community program CFCE and Head Start is the lead agency. I just wanted to share two quick programs that we have right now. We have a Play, Grow, and Learn. It is a play group for children 0 to 5 years old who are not in school at the Holyoke Library on Tuesdays at nine in the morning. We also have a Date with Dad program. It's Saturdays from 1 to 2 at the Chicopee library and it's for anybody. We're trying to get the dads more involved but if a child doesn't have a dad at home, the moms can come. Our programs are free. I'll send a flyer in case anybody has families who are interested, unless you guys are interested in coming with your children. Thanks Ed.

Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff's Department
I am going to close it with this, our next meeting is going to be February 9th. I do want to say if you know agencies that are not at our table, what we're trying to do is develop relationships with representatives from different agencies, so when we do work with youth and families, we have a relationship with agencies and we feel good about making a referral and getting the youth and families connected to that agency. I wanted to say that I heard a couple of people talk about tabling. I just want to say on Friday nights we have eight basketball games at the YMCA from 5:30 to 8:15. There is a spot in the lobby as people are coming in, if your agency is interested in sitting at that table and passing information out to the families that come in. The only downfall is we only have enough room to be able to fit one agency per night. So, if you are interested in setting up a table just send me an email, first come first serve, I'll schedule you guys. We are going to be at the YMCA for the next seven weeks I believe.

Lastly, I wanted to throw some information out again regarding the Holyoke Hub. A quick overview in terms of what the Holyoke Hub is. When we started this work in 2011, having these networking meetings, the goal was always to develop a relationship with resource agencies, so we can help youth and families get connected to resources to help them get to better places. As we went on and continued to work with youth and families, we found that there were some youth and families that we're in really elevated risk situations and we wanted to do something about that. We did some research and a lot of planning and in April of this past year, we put together a two-day training and started the Holyoke Hub. I'll be the first to tell you, as we've been going on since April bringing situations to the table, I think we're up to 36 maybe 37 situations so far, it's been great. Even from the situations from Tuesday and seeing the different agencies communicate and lend support to these risks. These at-risk folks, whether youth or families, it's been exciting work. I think from the beginning that's what the work was all about, but we never had a venue like the Holyoke Hub to be able to have the agencies come. On Tuesday at the meeting, I think we had 32 or 33 agencies at the table and typically we have about 30 agencies at the table. As I look at this meeting today, I see about eight or nine agencies that are part of the table. So, I'm asking everyone that is already participating in the Holyoke Hub to put your ears on. I just get so busy with work that I don't take enough time to really look at the meeting notes. Periodically I’ll look at the meeting notes and look at what agencies really fit these risk factors that we've been seeing week after week. Even though we've reached out to some of your agencies, encouraging you guys to come to the table. Abby Germaine from Western Mass moms came to my mind, because our last few situations that have come to the table have been youth where I think the moms could really benefit from having additional services connected to them. Abby, I made a little note today to actually reach out to you and I guess I decided to do it right here at the meeting, and say that we would love to see the Western Mass Moms at that table, because I think that you guys could be part of some filter four teams.

To give a quick overview of how the Hub works. When an agency brings a situation to the table, it is brought in as filter one. As a group, we make some decisions whether or not that situation is actually at an acutely elevated risk and whether or not harm is going to continue, unless we get wrap around services on that situation. In filter one we ask about the situation crossing several service sectors, because if it was just a situation that just had housing needs, we would just get them connected to Way Finders and it would be done. If it was a situation that only had mental health, we would get them connected to a mental health agency and it would be done. What we're seeing with folks that are in an acutely elevated risk situation are crossing several service sectors because there are many risk factors, that's why it's important to have some good strong filter four. In filter three, after we identify that a situation is in acutely elevated risk, is assigned a number and we do name recognition to find out if any of the agencies are familiar with that situation that we're working with. That's the only time that we use the name with this greater group, then we identify a filter four team, we talk to all the agencies that are there and we find out what agencies have the resources or the services that can take that acutely elevated risk situation and get them to a better place. Then we start a filter four group that day.

That is what the Holyoke Hub is all about. It is very comprehensive and exciting, especially when you see that the agencies work together to help the family or individual get out of acutely elevated risk. Then when you see a situation that was bad not only be stabilized but progress and start doing well, there's nothing more exciting to me than that. I just wanted to throw that out there and if somebody needed to see what common risk factors we have, I think we got up to situation number 22 or 23 when we decided to analyze all the data in terms of what those risk factors look like. I could send that data to you. It's going to be about two or three months old because we're up to situation number 37 right now and I'm sure in another month or two we'll analyze all the data and be able to send out additional information.

What I'm saying to you is we know the common things like mental health and housing and substance youth and needing resources for mothers like Family First and the Western Mass Moms, but if you think that your agency might be able to meet some of these risk factors, I'm asking you to send me an email. I'll get you an MOU, so you guys can jump on board and be part of the Holyoke Hub. So, we'll have more agencies working together to really get both youths and families to better places.

In closing, I just wanted to say thank you for you guys coming out month after month. If you see that there's some resource agencies that are not at our table. I'm asking you to consider inviting people, because we want to know about all the resources out there that can help youths and families. If they're not on the networking table, we want to get them to the table. I send the notes out to you guys digitally every month in an email, but I also post them at the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative website. If you go to our resource tab on the website, you'll see the monthly notes posted there. As soon as we get these notes typed up, we'll get them out to you. I just want to say thank you so much for all you do individually to help people in Holyoke and the surrounding communities. Thank you for being part of the Holyoke Safe Neighbor Initiative and our monthly networking meeting. Have a great rest of the week. Hope to see you guys at our next meeting. Take care.

Chat Notes
Adair Medina
Adair Medina - Holyoke Pediatric Associates
Do you always require a notice to quit to help with rental arrears? Parents have mentioned concerns of having their credit affected and being on bad terms with their landlord, to get this letter.
I am also interested in the DV awareness stickers. Let me know how I can get them.

Ellen Broadhurst
Social Services Expert

Stephanie Hines
Stephanie Hines-HCS Head Start, Inc.
Stephanie Hines-HCS Head Start, Inc.413-417-7779
Stephanie Hines-ERSEA Generalist at HCS Head Start Inc, Email-
Swansons@headstart.orgEnrollment phone-413-417-7779My direct #-413-417-7778If you have any.
information on community events where we might be able to recruit children ages 4weeks-5years old please reach out to me!!!!! Nice to meet you all!
Thank you.

Emily Skoczylas - Alianza DV
Emily Skoczylas Outreach and Education Coordinator Pronouns: she/her/herseskoczylas@alianzadv.orgCellphone: (413)
Emily Skoczylas Outreach and Education Coordinator Pronouns: she/her/ Cellphone: (413)
Thank you both! Abbie and Adair - I will email you both.

Nolan Teixeira (he/him), Program Manager, Eagle Eye Institute
Nolan Teixeira, Eagle Eye Institute (Holyoke)
Nolan Teixeira, Program Manager at the Eagle Eye Institute (Holyoke),
Myself and a TerraCorps member from Kestrel are working at Dean Tech to revitalize their

Lydia pares
Lydia Pares-Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County
Lydia Pares-
Lydia Pares -Big Brothers Big Sisters- Senior Case Manager. 413-

Madeline Martinez
Madeline Martinez, Employment Supportive Services I am from Way finders we are located in Springfield Mass

Deshawn Brown
Trooper Deshawn Brown, Massachusetts State Police, Community Liaison Officer

Stephanie Moore
Stephanie Moore, Holyoke Rows

Jennezzy Martinez Way Finders
Way Finders Jennezzy Martinez- Manager Homeless Prevention Ruth Vasquez -Director Jodi Smith SVP
Adair yes a NTW is required for RAFY
I totally agree

Miguel Arce
Miguel Arce, Department of Social Work, Springfield College
Lots of great information. Will you send us the PowerPoint?
Sorry, incoming call excuse me.
Thank you Mr. Caisse! Thank you for your leadership in the resolution to so many serious problems.
Wow...the impact you are making is not measurable.

Kocayne Givner (She/Her) Ward 4 Councilor
Kocayne Givner A.K.A. Koco / Ward 4 Holyoke City Councilor
Kocayne Givner A.K.A Koco Holyoke Ward 4 City Councilor vice Chair, Public Safety / Ordinance
Committee Phone/Text: 413-650-2979

Domonica LaValley
Domonica (Nicky) LaValley- New England Farm Workers Director of Housing and Shelter 413-237-6285

Julia Zegarra
Julia Zegarra Alianza DV Services
Jessie Berliner (she/they)
Jessie Berliner, Care Coordinator MHA GRIT Yale, LGBTQ+ Co-occurring Recovery Residential,, 413-417-6295

Benjamin Ostiguy
Hi everyone. My name is Ben Ostiguy (he/him), and I am the new coordinator of the Thrive Center at
HCC. Phone: 413-552-2349; email:
I have a 2:00 meeting... nice connecting with folks--thank you all.

Emmanuel Reyes
Emmanuel Reyes, United Way of Pioneer Valley,, 413-302-3871
Hello Abbie!!!
Great to see you again!!

Robin Neipp
Robin Neipp Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense
Sorry I have small children I am watching I am listening.

Sarah Lynn/MSPCC Prevention
Sarah Lynn- MSPCC Prevention- Healthy Families and Parents as Teachers
typically 27and under

Karina Castro
Karina Castro, Outreach & Admissions Counselor, Westover Job Corps Center, Chicopee, MA -- Office: (413) 593-4084, Work Cell: (413) 883-5773, Email:
Karina Castro, Outreach & Admissions Counselor, Westover Job Corps Center, Chicopee, MA -- Office: (413) 593-4084, Work Cell: (413) 883-5773, Email:
Yvonne Lomax, Outreach & Admissions Manager, Westover Job Corps Center, Chicopee, MA –
Office: (413) 593-4071, Email:

Abbie~ Western Mass MOMS
Abbie Germain~ Western Mass MOMS -413-561-7413
Abbie Germain- Western Mass MOMS Partnership, 413-561-7413, I would love to speak with you individually to answer any questions you may have. Do not hesitate to reach out to
Me directly.
Click here to submit a request for more information from Western Mass MOMS:
I am interested in the DV awareness stickers. Emily, can you email me?
The TRIVE pantry is an amazing resource!
Hi Emmanuel, you too. Always great.
Is there an age limit for the Dad's program, Sarah?
Thank you.

Wanda Rodriguez
Wanda Rodriguez family coordinator HHS

Maria Chambers
Maria Chambers, Senior Program Manager at the Behavioral Health Network 413-654-7639
BHN's CBHC has two locations: 417 Liberty Street in Springfield and 77 Mill St. in Westfield
I have to head out to another meeting. Nice seeing everyone! See you next month!

Rosalyn Rodriguez - YWCA- Program Director Holyoke Teen Living Program 413-536-4080 -

Kashawn Sanders
Kashawn J. Sanders President of Follow My Steps Foundation INC Cell: 617-297-8031E: W:

Jennifer Santos
Jennifer Santos-System Navigator-Way Finders

Elizabeth Veillette
Elizabeth Veillette, Employment Specialist Navigator, CHD Diversion Shelter and Housing Division. I
work with job seekers in family shelters and emergency hotels.
Thanks, Jennezzy!
Forgot my contact info, sorry: Elizabeth Veillette, MEd. Employment Specialist/Navigator,
CHDeveillette@chd.org413 266 9840

Francheska Bermudez
Francheska Bermudez - 413Cares Program Coordinator (Public Health Institute of Western Mass),, 413-686-1617

Justine Sabbs, Holyoke Housing Authority
Justine Sabbs, Director of Resident Empowerment & Community Programming, Holyoke Housing Authority 413-539-2229 **Going to keep my camera off because it's a working lunch!

Lani Ortiz
Lani Ortiz she/her - DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps - Community Coordinator -

Diosdado Lopez-Martinez of The Support Network
Diosdado Lopez-Martinez

Barbara Droz
Barbie Droz, Wayfinders, Resident Services Coordinator for the Holyoke portfolio.
I as well am interested in the DV awareness stickers to post at our sites in Holyoke. My email is
Need to head out early. I have another meeting scheduled for 2pm. Thank you all. See you next month.

Ana Gerena
Ana Gerena (she/her) -- Special Projects and Volunteerism Manager-- Girls Inc. Valley headquartered in
Thank you everyone!

Rondey Allen- CrossPoint Clinical Services
Rondey Allen, Executive Director, CrossPoint Clinical Services
I have to take off. Have a great day everyone.

Edward Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff's Department
Ed Caisse: Hampden County Sheriff's Department, Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative,

Sheryl L Maldonado
Sheryl Maldonado an AmeriCorps VISTA member in Way Finders as Resident Engagement training Coordinator, Phone 413-386-6898 email we serve with resident in Holyoke's areas, to be lift up and be a voice in the community. Help them to be part of the community and do the change. Any questions please be open to contact me.
Thank you Ed for all you do for the youth and family in need.

Jason Comcowich
Jason Comcowhich- TerraCorps Community Engagement Coordinator for Nuestras Raices Inc. Interested in collaborating to provide educational programming
related to nutrition, urban food security, gardening, and cooking.
Thank you for sharing about the hub, Ed; it's a very powerful resource and a great model of a way to engage police and our communities in a preventative rather than punitive capacity. I really appreciate the work you do for this community.

Stephen Fay
Stephen Fay, Aide to Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia, 413-561-1600

Liandro Gonzalez
Liandro Gonzalez HCSD/HSNI Holyoke ward 1

Iris Sosa
Iris Sosa Scout BSA, Western Massachusetts Council, 413-594-9196 x 7030, cell 787-512-1375.
thank you!

Robin Siniaho
Robin Siniaho- Teen Librarian Holyoke Public Library
Is there a place someone who needs help with the forms can go to get in-person assistance?

Sandy Ward
Sandy Ward, Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western Massachusetts, a volunteer-run nonprofit with a website informing the public about rights and options for final arrangements. 413-376-4747 (voice mail) or or to me personally:
We wish funeral homes would post their General Price Lists on their websites. That would help consumers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now considering MANDATING such online posting. YOU could help lobby for this; Public Comments to FTC due Jan 17 (next Tuesday). For more information see our webpage about “Updating the Funeral Rule” at
Holyoke Public Library’s Mini Golf & Games fundraiser will return April 29, 2023 (Saturday). Save the
date! To sponsor one of the 18 Holes or volunteer to help, contact Nancy Kocsmiersky at the Library’s Development Office, 413-420-8109, (posted by Sandy Ward, a volunteer for HPL’s Mini Golf event)

Yadaris Rivera
Hello, everyone I am Yadaris Rivera Holyoke housing Authority, HCV/ FSS Program and Community engagement coordinator.

Keiry Dilone
Keiry Dilone
Yes, can I get the information for who I should reach out to for the thrive pantry?
Keiry Dilone Case Manager / YASL Program RFK community AllianceKdilone@rfkcommunity.org413-575-7260

Adlyn Colon
HCC Adult Education. HiSET/GED and ESOL classes., 413-552-2927.
Maria, Where is the Center?

Marilyn Nunez
Marilyn Nunez. NEFWC, Housing Specialist

Liz Plouffe
Liz Plouffe, LICSW, Easthampton Community Social Worker 413-529-1400 x106, mobile 413-278-1285,, If anyone is in need of clothing for a person/group at their
agency please feel free to reach out.

Yadaris Rivera
Good afternoon, sorry my audio is not working however as my supervisor Justine Sabbs mentioned I am Yadaris Rivera from the Holyoke housing Authority, I am the new HCV/ FSS Program and
Community engagement coordinator. I look forward to meeting with you all. If you should have any questions please feel free to reach out to me
Yadaris Rivera HCV FSS & Community Engagement Coordinator 413-539-2220 x275

Melany Mendoza
Thank you for doing this work.

Medgine Fleury
Good Afternoon- Sorry my audio is not working too well. My name is Medgine Fleury, but most people simply call me Gigi. I am a new Case Manager for the Wise Program. I am going to work with Peck.
middle school and Holyoke middle school to provide intervention and awareness on substance use.
My email for any referral thank you!

Yajaira Marquez
Yajaira Marquez, CFCE- email:

Old Business / New Business
Next Meeting is Thursday, February 9th, 2023 (Zoom).

Close Meeting 2:30pm
Contact Information:
Edward Caisse
Hampden County Sheriff’s Department
(413) 858-0225
Friend Request us on Facebook @ Shsni Holyoke

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