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PLYMOUTH COUNTY

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					       “A Place to Call Home”


     PLYMOUTH COUNTY
10 YEAR PLAN TO END FAMILY
       HOMELESSNESS
Plan Submitted by the Advisory Council to End Family
        Homelessness in Plymouth County




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                        TABLE OF CONTENTS
Section                                                           Page Numbers

Executive Summary                                                 2-5

Critical Areas                                                    5-20

Critical Area I: Prevention, Assessment, Resource Initiative      6-8

Critical Area II: Conversion of Shelter System to Triage System   9-10

Critical Area III: Supportive Housing and Housing First           11-13

Critical Area IV: Self-Sufficiency Initiative                     14-15

Critical Area V: Data Collection and Cost Benefit Analysis        16-17

Critical Area VI: Implementation Team and Political Will          18-20




                                                                                 1
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
VISION STATEMENT

Within the next ten years, all homeless and at-risk families in Plymouth County will have a
permanent, safe, affordable place to call home.

WHO WE ARE

In April of 2007, members from the business sector, local and state government, education
system, health care system and human service agencies created a Advisory Council to develop an
effective response to the rising issue of family homelessness. The Advisory Council has created
a viable, goal-oriented 10-year plan to end family homelessness in Greater Plymouth County.
We submit this plan as a working document that will continue to evolve and be updated on an
annual basis.


Advisory Council
   Mr. Dennis Carman, Chair - United Way of Greater Plymouth County
      Mr. John Yazwinski, Lead Agency – Father Bills & MainSpring
      Ms. Georgia Antonopoulos – Stonehill College Center for Nonprofit Management
      Ms. Shaynah Barnes – Office of Congressman Lynch
      Mr. Ron Bethany – Campello Business Association
      Chief William Conlan – Brockton Police Department
      Mr. Christopher Cooney – Metro South Chamber of Commerce
      Mr. Tobias Cowans – American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay
      Mr. John Crowley – Brockton Police Department
      Ms. Dawn Devereaux – Department of Transitional Assistance
      Ms. Faith Frazier – BAMSI Helpline
      Ms. Linda Garburk – Neighborhood Health Center
      Ms. Martina Gomes – Cape Verdean Association of Brockton
      Mr. Steven Hutcheson – Rockland Trust
      Ms. Cicely Jordan – One Family, Inc.
      Mr. Lou Kafka – Massachusetts State Representative
      Mr. Thomas Kennedy – Massachusetts State Representative
      Ms. Carol Kowalski – Highpoint Treatment Center


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      Ms. Janet Long – Father Bills & MainSpring
      Mr. Stephen Lynch – United States Congressman
      Mr. Timothy McMullen – Plymouth County Commissioner
      Mr. Leo MacNeil – HarborOne Credit Union
      Mr. Moises Rodrigues – Brockton City Mayor’s Office
      Mr. Ted Philips – Representative Lou Kafka’s Office
      Mr. Steven Pike – North Easton Savings Bank
      Ms. Katie Shea – Brockton School System
      Mr. Matt Simmonds – Simtech Solutions
      Ms. Erin Spaulding – Old Colony YMCA
      Ms. Heather Thomson Arrighi – Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office
      Ms. Michele Wakin – Bridgewater State College
      Ms. Sandra Wixted – Catholic Charities South
      Mr. Nick Zaferakis, Jr. – Sr. District Representative

The Advisory Council believes that every man, woman, and child deserves the dignity, respect,
and safety that is inherent in having a place to call home. Our 10-year plan calls us to address
the barriers and issues causing homelessness, as well as those that prolong it. Plymouth County
can end family homelessness within 10 years by combining resources, increasing affordable
housing options, and preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place.


WHY FOCUS ON FAMILY HOMELESSNESS NOW

State
A statewide study published in 2007 by the Boston Foundation and the Center for Social Policy
produced the following data:

      Sheltering a family costs tax payers an average of $3,000 a month, far more than the
       monthly cost of subsidized, supportive housing ($1,200 - $2,000).

      Approximately 82% of families who received assistance through one of three state
       prevention programs remained housed at 12 month follow up.

      27% of Massachusetts’ families have insufficient income to cover housing costs and
       living expenses. *




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Local
A study conducted in Plymouth County presents a case for why this community should endeavor
to end family homelessness now:

      A point-in-time count taken on January 30, 2007, revealed 124 homeless families on a
       single night. On January 30, 2008, the number had grown to 153 families in need of a
       home.

      In the 2006-2007 school year, the Brockton Public School system reported $120,000 in
       transportation costs for homeless children to return to their town of origin.

The Advisory Council surveyed 61 homeless families in order to understand the causes, barriers,
and concerns that lead to and prolong family homelessness. The open-ended survey questions
sought information about causes, service availability, usefulness of services and barriers
experienced by respondents.

Of survey respondents:

          55% went to two or more places before they entered shelter

          19% went to three or more places before they entered shelter

          45% had been in shelter for one year or more

          Virtually all respondents wrote about the “stress of communal living,” general
           depression, lack of dignity and control in the shelter system, and diminishing feelings
           of self-worth and independence. **

Parents are clearly doing everything they can to avoid bringing their children to shelter. In order
to better serve homeless families in Plymouth County, the Advisory Council is advocating for
change to the current shelter system.




* Friedman, D., Raymond, J., Puhala, K., Meschede, T., Tripp, J., Kala, M., Preventing
Homelessness and Promoting Housing Stability: A Comparative Analysis. The Boston
Foundation and UMASS Boston’s Center for Social Policy, 2007

** Spaulding, Erin, Long, Janet., “Survey – Ending Family Homelessness, 2007” Advisory
Council for the 10 Year Plan to End Family Homelessness in Plymouth County.


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CRITICAL AREAS

The council has identified six critical areas that must be addressed in order to end family
homelessness. Each critical area identifies:

      Key goal or goals;
      Agency/owner, who will assume the lead for the goal;
      Action steps, that will be undertaken to accomplish the goal or goals;
      Outcomes, which are a direct result of the task;
      Benchmarks, which represent the work completed as of the year listed; and
      Timeframe, which is the estimated completion date for the goal.


Critical Areas:

       Critical Area I:     Prevention and Assessment

       Critical Area II:    Conversion of Shelter System to Triage System

       Critical Area III:   Supportive Housing and Housing First

       Critical Area IV: Self-Sufficiency Initiative

       Critical Area V:     Data Collection and Cost Benefit Analysis

       Critical Area VI: Implementation and Political Will




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     Critical Area I:
Prevention and Assessment




                            6
I.   PREVENTION and ASSESSMENT
     Prevention is the best way to end family homelessness. It is less costly, less disruptive,
     and more compassionate than shelter. In FY07, approximately 220 families in greater
     Plymouth County were at-risk or facing immediate eviction.


     PREVENTION

     GOAL I
     Increase the number of formerly homeless and at-risk families remaining in permanent
     housing in Plymouth County.
     Owner: Brockton Area Multi Service Initiative’s Housing Assistance Program (BAMSI’s
     HAP, Father Bills & MainSpring


     Action Steps
     1.     Identify all local and regional providers with prevention programs and hold
            regular meetings to coordinate a response.

     2.     Create a mobile assessment team focused on prevention.

     3.     Research and acquire additional sources of private and public funds for regional
            or local prevention programs.


     Benchmarks
           84% of formerly homeless families receiving stabilization services will remain
            housed. 70 families facing eviction will retain their housing.
            Target deadline: 2011

             88% of formerly homeless families receiving stabilization services will remain
              housed. 150 families facing eviction will retain their housing.
              Target deadline: 2013

             92% of formerly homeless families receiving stabilization services will remain
              housed. 200 families facing eviction will retain their housing.
              Target deadline: 2015


     ASSESSMENT
     To break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, we must keep families in their own
     communities where they have support systems (relatives or friends), stable school
     environments for the children, knowledge of the local area, and employment.



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In the current system, families that become homelessness can be moved more than 50
miles from their communities if no DTA unit is currently available. This creates
irreparable damage to a families’ ability to remain self-sufficient. In order to keep
children in their school systems, to allow parents to maintain employment, and to keep
families in their communities, we propose a new system.

GOAL II
Any family that becomes homeless in Plymouth County will remain in the region (when
domestic violence is not an issue).
Owner: YMCA’s Family Life Center, Father Bills & MainSpring and the Department of
Transitional Assistance (DTA)

Action Steps
1.     Create a mobile assessment team to determine thoughtful placement for each
       family. Invite members to join the “assessment and community-based review
       team”, which represents DTA, local service providers, and the school system.

2.     Provide community-based shelter for families from Plymouth County if there are
       no available DTA shelter units.


Benchmarks
      50% of DTA eligible families from Plymouth County will be sheltered within
       Plymouth County. Mobile assessment team will perform at least 50
       assessments. Begin a 2-year local campaign to raise funds for community-
       based shelter units.
       Target deadline: 2010

        75% of DTA eligible families from Plymouth County will be sheltered within
         Plymouth County. Mobile assessment team will perform at least 100
         assessments. Complete local campaign by reaching $200,000 for the
         community-based shelter fund.
         Target deadline: 2012

        100% of DTA eligible families from Plymouth County will be sheltered within
         Plymouth County. When a traditional shelter unit becomes available in the
         area, this family will be moved to that unit, or DTA will reimburse the local
         service provider the cost to keep the family in the community based unit.
         Mobile assessment team will perform at least 150 assessments.
         Target deadline: 2014




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      Critical Area II:
Conversion of Shelter System to
        Triage System




                                  9
II.   CONVERSION OF SHELTER SYSTEM TO TRIAGE SYSTEM
      Once a family becomes homeless they begin a never-ending cycle of utilizing emergency
      services and waiting long lengths of time for follow up, next step, or non-emergency
      services. This cycle creates even more barriers, including difficulty obtaining primary
      medical care, keeping children in existing schools and day care, and finding new
      employment. These setbacks disrupt progress and undermine the family’s ability to
      achieve stability.

      GOAL I
      Convert the current shelter system into a triage system that identifies the needs of
      homeless families and makes tools to end homelessness available and accessible.
      Owner: YMCA’s Family Life Center, Father Bills & MainSpring

      Action Steps
      1.     Train program staff to make quick, resourceful referrals to local, established
             organizations that address trauma and help families regain self-sufficiency.

      2.     Place families with few needs in community-based shelter units; families with
             greater needs in congregate shelter.

      3:     Obtain flexible funding to convert a portion of congregate shelter units to
             community-based units.


      Benchmarks
            100% of front-line staff working for local service providers will be able to
             conduct quick, resourceful assessments of families. Discussions with DTA
             regarding flexibility of funding will be completed.
             Target deadline: 2009

              100% of families will meet with outside providers, (mental health,
               employment agency, education program) within their first week of shelter.
               Target deadline: 2011

              60% of families will move into supportive housing in their community within
               three months of the initial date of shelter entry.
               Target deadline: 2013

              90% of families will move into supportive housing in their community within
               three months of the initial date of shelter entry.
               Target deadline: 2018




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          Critical Area III:
Supportive Housing and Housing First




                                       11
III.   SUPPORTIVE HOUSING AND HOUSING FIRST
       A point in time study conducted in 2007 revealed 130 families in need of a home in
       Plymouth County. In order to understand the housing needs of these families, the
       Advisory Council reviewed nationally recognized family homelessness research.
       In a report published by the Fannie Mae Foundation in 2007, “Testing a Typology of
       Family Homelessness,” researchers analyzed data from more than 13,000 homeless
       families over three years in four states, including Massachusetts; to determine whether
       family characteristics were associated with the length of shelter stay.

       The report found:
           72 to 74% of families fell into the category of short-term or transitional
              homelessness.
           20 to 21.5% of families were associated with long-term homelessness.
           5 to 8% of families were considered episodically homeless (multiple shelter
              stays). *

       It concluded that families who had experienced long-term homelessness were as likely as
       those experiencing short-term homelessness to have histories of intensive service
       treatment. The episodically homeless families were the most likely to require support
       services.

       The Advisory Council believes episodically and long-term homeless families are most in
       need of permanent, affordable housing. Episodically homeless families are generally
       experiencing multiple traumas, have a long history of health, mental health services and
       poor employment history. Families experiencing long-term homelessness are similar to
       short-term homeless but remain in the shelter system because of the lack of affordable
       housing.

       In Plymouth County, the number of families experiencing episodic or long-term
       homelessness roughly equates to 38 of the 130 families from the point-in-time count.
       Therefore we must create 38 new units of permanent affordable housing over the next ten
       years to end homelessness for these families.

       Instead of requiring treatment and programs to obtain housing, Housing First is a harm-
       reduction model that houses a family immediately and attends to treatment needs after the
       family struggling with homelessness has a stable living environment. Families that
       receive housing in their own communities will no longer have to disrupt children’s
       schooling, end parent’s employment, or move away from support networks.
       This model will create higher levels of stability, economic savings, and dignity for the
       individual members of each family.




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GOAL I
Commit to creating permanent, affordable housing for families experiencing long-term or
episodic homelessness.
Owner: Father Bills & MainSpring and Brockton Housing Authority

Action Steps
1.     Identify families in Plymouth County that fit the definition of episodically
       homeless or long-term homeless.

2.     Develop a pilot program using the Housing First model for families experiencing
       episodic or long-term homelessness.

3.     Convert a portion of existing state funding for shelter programs to support
       Housing First for families.


Benchmarks
      8 Housing First units for families experiencing episodic or long-term
       homelessness. These units will house 20% of the existing episodic or long-
       term population.
       Target deadline: 2011

        23 Housing First units for families experiencing episodic or long-term
         homelessness. These units will house 60% of the existing episodic or long-
         term population.
         Target deadline: 2015

        38 Housing First units for families experiencing episodic or long-term
         homelessness. These units will house 100% of the existing episodic or long-
         term population.
         Target deadline: 2018




* Culhane, D., Metraux, S., Min Park, J., Schretzman, M., Valente, J., Testing a Typology
of Family Homelessness Based on Patterns of Public Shelter Utilization in Four US
Jurisdictions: Implications for Policy and Program Planning, The Fannie Mae
Foundation, 2007.


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    Critical Area IV:
Self-Sufficiency Initiative




                              14
IV.   SELF-SUFFICIENCY INITIATIVE
      To break the cycle of poverty and homelessness, families who become homeless in
      Plymouth County need programs such as life skills, workforce development training,
      adult basic education classes, GED classes, and parenting classes. In particular, the
      Advisory Council believes workforce development programs and educational programs
      are important ingredients in helping families become self-sufficient. Due to the variety of
      levels of education and skills among those facing homelessness, it is essential that we
      create individualized service plans

      GOAL
      Provide the most appropriate educational and economic self-sufficiency services to each
      homeless family receiving services.
      Owner: Advisory Council

      Action Steps
      1.     Conduct meetings with the Department of Education, state agencies, and private
             funding sources to discuss funding for programs.

      2.     Coordinate with community agencies that provide educational or job training
             services to make these services available and accessible to all homeless families
             in our community. Connect with career centers, scholarship programs, local
             community colleges and universities.

      3.     Train each shelter provider to create truly individualized plans for each family
             including referrals to community-wide workforce development programs and
             adult education programs.


      Benchmarks
            25% of families will participate in a workforce development or adult education
             program.
             Target deadline: 2010

              50% of families will participate in a workforce development or adult education
               program.
               Target deadline: 2015

              75% of families will participate in a workforce development or adult education
               program.
               Target deadline: 2018




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             Critical Area V:
Data Collection and Cost Benefit Analysis




                                            16
V.   DATA COLLECTION and COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS
     To understand and assess the needs of the families served and effectively address those
     needs, the Advisory Council must collect empirical data about the characteristics and
     demographics of families experiencing homelessness in Southeastern Massachusetts.

     GOAL
     To collect and analyze data to find the most efficient, cost-effective and compassionate
     way to end homelessness and provide resources for families in Plymouth County.
     Owner: Advisory Council’s Data Collection and Analysis subcommittee

     Action Steps
     1.     Gather data from all service providers in the region to obtain a count of families
            experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Share this data through DTA’s state-wide
            data collection system.

     2.     Research the financial costs associated with homelessness by collecting
            information from public schools, DTA, hospitals and local service providers.

     3.     Research the costs of prevention in comparison to the costs of sheltering and
            subsequently finding housing for a family to determine the feasibility of
            earmarking funds for prevention rather than shelter.

     4.     Collect data from program participants through interviews, surveys and case
            studies to qualify research efforts.


     Benchmarks
           True, unduplicated count of homeless and at-risk families within Southeastern
            Massachusetts.
            Target deadline: 2009

             Data subcommittee will have an average financial cost of family homelessness
              for transitional, episodic and long term homeless families including the
              following; transportation, education, child care, healthcare and mental health
              costs.
              Target deadline: 2011

             Data subcommittee will have analyzed the impact on homelessness including
              general well-being, health status, and family status.
              Target deadline: 2012

             Report of findings and identifiable trends will be presented to the Plymouth
              County Advisory Council on the Plan to End Family Homelessness.
              Target deadline: 2013



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          Critical Area VI:
Implementation Team and Political Will




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VI.   IMPLEMENTATION TEAM and POLITICAL WILL
      The Plymouth County Advisory Council has collaborated with local government,
      businesses, and social service providers to develop a plan to end homelessness amongst
      families. Great care has been taken to ensure that the planning process aligns with state
      and local plans to end family homelessness, as well as to ensure that the local ten year
      plan reflects the state’s goals and processes. In addition, efforts are coordinated with
      other continuums in the State to prevent duplicate efforts.

      GOAL
      To successfully end homelessness for families, the plan must be implemented in a way
      that creates ownership and monitoring of success.
      Owner: Plymouth County Advisory Council and Plymouth County Homelessness Task
      Force

      Action Steps
      1.     Communicate with political leaders through advocacy and a yearly legislative
             meeting.

      2.     Create an implementation team that oversees the action plan for each critical area
             and reports back effectiveness of plan and need for modifications to the Mayor,
             Advisory Committee and Plymouth and Brockton Continuum of Care.

      3      Educate local businesses, Chamber of Commerce, and residents by providing data
             on families who are homeless, Housing First model and prevention strategies.


      Benchmarks:
               Implementation team members and chair person selected and begin meeting
                at least quarterly.
                Target deadline: 2009

                  Real estate agents and municipal leaders help implementation team identify
                   potential properties for the developing supportive housing.
                   Target deadline: 2010

                  Campaign to educate the public on the benefits of Housing First models for
                   homeless families will be completed.
                   Target deadline: 2015

                  Creation of more housing vouchers, shallow subsidies and Housing First
                   units for families in Plymouth County because of successful advocacy
                   efforts with local and state government, federal legislators and state agency
                   commissioners from DTA, DSS and DMH.
                   Target deadline: 2018



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