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Three County Continuum of Care February 2023 Newsletter (4th ed.) 

1. Have You Heard?

The Reimagining Housing Initiative—a organization that advises communities on how to best use federal funding to increase housing stability and prevent increases in homelessness—released two new documents in December 2022 that are part of their Reimagining Interim Housing project. This project (which Coordinated Entry Coordinator Shaundell Diaz served as a consultant for) aims to build on “the guidance and recommendation of people with lived experience”, as well as “the lessons learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic”. “Reimagining Interim Housing: Stages and Action Areas for Transforming Approaches to Sheltering People Experiencing Homelessness” provides recommendations that center equity, racial justice, and the suggestions of people with lived experiences as well as those working in direct service roles. “Tools for Strengthening Current Interim Housing Programs and Services (Supplement)” offers guidance and tools that organizations can employ immediately. 

2. Legislation and Advocacy

2023 kicked off with the swearing in of a new MA Governor and Lt. Governor - Governor  Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Sharon Driscoll - along with new legislators in our western region and the start of the new 2023-2024 Legislative Session. Specifically, we congratulate Senator Paul Mark (formerly State Representative), who is now representing all of Berkshire County and parts of Franklin County. We also congratulate Representative Natalie Blais and Representative Susannah Whipps for their continuing representation of Franklin County. 


With the start of the new Legislative Session, the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness will continue to offer a coordinating vehicle for the western region's advocacy for housing and homelessness priorities. The Network's priorities will continue to focus on: Access to Legal Counsel in evictions, Eviction Record Sealing, Transfer Fee for Affordable Housing, Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act, and more. The Network sits on statewide advisory committees for these campaigns, ensuring Western Massachusetts' voice is brought to the table. Please sign up for the Network Blog to stay in the loop on the legislative process and be part of the region-wide action. It's happening now!


Also: Please join the first Winter Walk on Sunday, February 5, from 9:00-11:00am, in Springfield. It's a less than 2-mile walk (kicks off at 9:30 am) with hot chocolate, food and fun for family, friends (and pets!) and our whole community from across all four counties.


While this is a fundraiser, a donation is NOT required to participate (to waive any fee, when checking out you can put in the code NETWORK23). Your presence is the most important thing!  Please register here and please share. Hope to see you there!

3. Shelter Updates

Local nonprofit community behavioral health agency Clinical & Support Options (CSO) and its Friends of the Homeless (FOH) program are honored to be leading their local emergency shelter and housing programs into their next chapter.   

The Massachusetts’ Dept. of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) Individual Homelessness System contracts were awarded to CSO for Hampshire and Franklin Counties. Starting in April, CSO will continue the successful, life-altering work already underway at the Greenfield and Northampton shelters.  


CSO is working closely with their friends and partners at ServiceNet to transition responsibilities as smoothly as possible over to CSO. The goal is to work collaboratively to continue the meaningful support services provided every day.  

CSO’s Friends of the Homeless program has been providing low-threshold, trauma-informed shelter and housing services for more than 30 years. Today, FOH represents the largest emergency shelter in Western Mass.   


FOH’s ‘Housing-First’ model of individualized care includes integrated case management, behavioral health supports, SUD treatment, and onsite nursing.  This multilayered service model reflects CSO’s commitment to fostering a culture of trauma-informed care, employing evidence-based practices, and providing a system of wraparound care for each client and guest.  


CSO’s FOH services in Northampton and Greenfield will continue the work of the ServiceNet team — and will broaden care further by leveraging FOH’s crew of supportive providers as well as CSO’s nearby Certified Behavioral Health Centers (CBHCs).

Craig’s Doors continues its tradition of offering emergency, interim housing in a congregate setting while continuously improving its non-congregate program and expanding services to guests. They are excited to announce that they are now able to offer case management services to community members in need of assistance at our Resource Center.


In the past year they have substantially invested in their case management department, expanding case management services, introducing a Housing Navigator, and doubling their rate of permanent housing placement over the past 6 months. In addition to their success in housing placement, they’ve worked hard to improve the guest experience, the sense of community, and overall service delivery. Craig's Doors has broadened their services and the populations served, allowing them to offer housing navigation services not only to guests, but also to unsheltered community members.


Current services:

University Motor Lodge (UML) Program - 345 N. Pleasant St., Amherst MA 01002, (413) 256-0704, ext.3

Non-congregate, interim housing program for the most vulnerable adults in our community, of any gender. Operated year-round, 24 hrs/day, with a capacity for 40 guests. Two meals are served per day, along with snacks, beverages, and prepackaged meals. All guests have access to weekly case management services. There is a waiting list and guests are prioritized based on vulnerability. To make a referral, call the Resource Center or fill out an Assistance Request form on our website


Immanuel Lutheran Church (ILC) Program - 867 N Pleasant St., Amherst MA 01002, (413) 256-0704, ext.2

Congregate, interim housing program at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Amherst MA. Opened November 1st, 2023, it has a 23 bed capacity for adults of any gender. First-come, first-serve admittance policy. Once a guest has been given a bed, they may keep the bed for the duration of the program as long as they adhere to site rules, including complying with our 9pm curfew. There are two meals served per day, along with snacks, beverages, and prepackaged meals. Case management services are available to all guests. To make a referral, call the Resource Center or fill out an Assistance Request form on our website.


Resource Center - 434 N Pleasant St., Amherst MA 01002, (413) 256-0704, ext.8 (green trailer in parking lot behind First Baptist Church)

Open M-F, 8AM to 4PM. Community members can access showers, wifi, charging stations, mail delivery, survival gear, clothing donations, snacks and beverages, case management services, and a warm, dry place to get relief from the weather during weekday hours.


For more information about any of their programs and services, please call the Resource Center at (413) 256-0704, ext.8, or visit their website at The Assistance Request form is in the ‘Contact’ section.

4. Project Updates

Independent Housing Solutions (IHS) is excited to announce that its renovation of 5 Franklin Street in Northampton is 90% complete!


This project consisted of converting an office building into 16 affordable housing units, multiple common spaces, a medical office, and a case-working space. The units are all ADA compliant and designed to accommodate complex medical needs. Energy efficient doors and windows were installed, as well as a smart home system.


A full report, complete with pictures, is available here

Louison House offers transitional and permanent housing, as well as supportive services, to families experiencing homelessness in the Northern Berkshires. As an organization that has assisted over 8,000 individuals in its three decade existence, Louison House understands the importance of relationships: with both clients and landlords. They are happy to report that they have new landlords for two of their units, and were able to move a previously unhoused family in right before Christmas.

They are also in the process of converting a property on Bracewell Ave in North Adams into 6 apartments for youth. What is currently 2 units is being remodeled to become 5 studio apartments, and 1 two-bedroom apartment. 

5. PIT Count

The 2023 Point in Time (PIT) Count occurred on the night of January 25th. This yearly event is undertaken in an attempt to count all the people experiencing homelessness (sheltered and unsheltered) on a single night in winter. The results of the PIT count help us get a better understanding of the unmet needs in our community; the data also helps to inform where and how federal funding around housing assistance is spent. 11 of the 12 Continuum's of Care in Massachusetts conducted their PIT count on the 25th. A detailed report will be available by the summer. We thank all the providers and volunteers who helped make the count possible, as well as all the individuals who agreed to be surveyed. 

6. Informative Articles

  • Massachusetts Cliff Effect pilot program developed for families above income limit for public assistance

    • “The “cliff effect” occurs when a household earned income increases just enough for families to lose eligibility for public assistance supports like food, childcare, and housing services, which results in lower income overall to achieve economic stability. The ‘cliff effect’ discourages people from advancing in their careers for a higher wage because of the sudden loss of critical services that leads to a decline in the standard of living and keeps individuals and families stuck in a cycle of poverty.

    • The three-year program will use monetary support to provide 100 households throughout the Commonwealth with benefits to help fill the gap created by the cliff effect as they work towards economic independence from benefits programs.”

  • Town of Amherst purchases VFW building for sheltering, housing services

    • “McCarthy [Executive Director of Craig’s Doors] told Western Mass News that they are grateful for the town’s commitment to this project. ‘By having a permanent location, we’ll have a sense of stability and not be in a condition where we need to find a place to operate from every year’…He added that they also hope to provide mental health, physical health, and documentation services.”

  • Pelham’s first rental housing development advances; construction on $12M, 34-unit complex to begin next spring

    • “When complete, Amethyst Brook Apartments…will have homes affordable to households earning less than 60% of the area median income, with 11 units further restricted for households earning less than 30% of area median income, some of whom may be for people transitioning from homelessness.”

  • Preventing homelessness is a key focus of new Biden plan

    • “The Biden administration’s latest plan to fight the homelessness crisis, released Monday morning [December 19], calls for more action to keep people from losing their housing in the first place.”​

    • “Among many other things, the Biden administration’s plan on homelessness includes ongoing efforts to make it easier to use federal tax credits to build low income housing, and encourages communities to rezone for denser development.”

  • In Greenfield, old Wilson’s Department Store will be 65 apartments, expanded co-op grocery

    • “The 65 mixed-income rental homes for families will be one-, two- and three-bedroom units with a blend of workforce and income-adjusted units. Residents will be close not only to the co-op’s grocery store but to healthcare, a pharmacy, the YMCA, the public library and open green space.”

  • 'Gentrification' Is Not the Real Problem — Shelterforce

    • “Gentrification, or wealthier people moving into and driving up costs in particular urban neighborhoods, is a symptom of the array of problems related to urban inequality. Not the problem that people using the term want to name.”

7. Upcoming Events & Trainings

Join COSA (Council of Social Agencies) on February 14 from 10:00-11:00am for a special presentation by Amanda Lapierre Jewell, Outreach Coordinator from Safe Passage. The Domestic Violence 101 workshop will include an overview of Safe Passage, an introduction to their mission and services, and an overview of domestic violence. Participants will gain skills to support survivors experiencing domestic violence, respond to disclosures, and learn what action you can take to prevent violence in our community.

Join Zoom Meeting HERE

Meeting ID: 884 5130 7565

Passcode: Hampshire


The CoC's next Coordinated Entry training will be on February 23rd from 1:00-2:30. This training covers how to conduct the CoC's vulnerability assessment. If interested, please email 

Additionally, the CoC is very excited to announce that it will be hosting a series of trainings with Racial Equity Partners! This multi-part series will be aimed at both people with lived experiences and providers. Topics that will be covered include how to define lived experience, understanding and overcoming trauma, the history of white supremacy and how to be an anti-racist, capitalism, financial racism, and individualism. Click here for the flyer, which includes the registration link (required). 

8. Hiring

CSO IS HIRING! Apply online to be considered as a part of their team. Current Northampton and Greenfield openings (and direct application links) include:  



Interviewing has begun and will continue until positions are filled. Additional positions may be added as we continue to evaluate our staffing pattern and plan. If you have questions, send an email to  

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