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Three County Continuum of Care May 2024 Newsletter (8th ed.)

1. Have You Heard?

The CoC is so excited to announce that we have a new team member! Wendi Warger is our Business Manager, and she brings with her almost 20 years of fiscal experience, including 15 years at UMass Amherst as the Business Manager for Facilities and Campus Service where she was responsible for project and operating budgets totaling over 550 million dollars.

Although she is new to the homelessness response world, Wendi is passionate about working within her community to support the most vulnerable. We are so grateful that she has joined the CoC.

2. Legislative & Advocacy Updates

The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness does a great job updating the community on key legislation and highlight advocacy opportunities. Check out their most recent blog post about the FY25 MA Budget!

3. Community Updates

In 2023, Craig's Doors launched their Fare Access Program, which provided all shelter guests with PVTA passes (an April 2023 Daily Hampshire Gazette article on this initiative was shared in a previous newsletter). This program was an incredible success! You can check out the complete report here, but the key outcomes are as follows:

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will be free from June 1 - August 31, in celebration of 50 years in operation. Hopefully, this increased accessibility of public transit will allow many more community members to access employment, visited with loved ones, and attend medical appointments.

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4. PIT Count

On January 31, 2024 at least 961 people were experiencing homelessness (per HUD's definition) in Berkshire, Franklin, and Hampshire County. This is an increase of 54% from 2023. A detailed report is currently being assembled, and will be shared when completed.

5. Things To Read 

  • Homeowners, Renters, and Households of All Incomes Back Housing Reforms ​​by the National Low Income Housing Coalition

    • A 2023 national survey found that there is "majority support—usually greater than 60%, and oftentimes much higher—among households with low, moderate, and high incomes, and among homeowners and renters, for most policies that would enable more building of diverse types of homes. These policies also are broadly popular among suburban, rural, and urban residents."

  • Biden Urges Federal Role to Lower Housing Costs by the New York Times

    • The 2024 Economic Report of the President (available in full here, the housing section begins on p.148 of the PDF) "includes a suite of moves meant to reduce the cost of renting or buying a home while encouraging local governments to change zoning laws to allow development of more affordable housing."​

  • Do Homelessness Prevention Programs Work?

    • A study of a Santa Clara County cash assistance program "found that people offered the emergency financial assistance were 81 percent less likely to become homeless within six months of enrollment and 73 percent less likely within 12 months. This means that providing financial assistance to those at imminent risk of homelessness decreases the chance of a recipient needing to enter a shelter and decreases homelessness over time rather than just delaying it."

  • Across Massachusetts, shrouded corporations are scooping up single-family homes

    • "In sheer numbers, no Massachusetts city has seen a bigger proliferation of investor owners in single-family homes over the last several years than Springfield, where business entities purchased more than 1,200 properties between 2016 and 2021, the Warren Group data shows. The true figures are even higher since the data provided to GBH News doesn’t include investor purchases of foreclosed properties."​

6. Upcoming Events & Trainings

As always, there is a lot going on at the CoC! 

2024 Lunch and Learn Series: A series of short training sessions, from 12:00-1:00 over Zoom, designed for homeless service providers and offered virtually to provide information about community benefits and programs. Registration is required for each training.

June 5: Employment Assistance and Training

June 12: Accessing Resources for DV Survivors 

June 19: SNAP Benefits

June 26: Harm Reduction

June 11th: The Reimagining Interim Housing project is hosting a webinar from 3:00 – 4:30 pm that is centered around Transforming Approaches to Sheltering People at the Community and Organizational Level. Transformative efforts that are underway in San Jose / Santa Clara County in California and Western Massachusetts will be used to highlight the

  • strategies and approaches being used;

  • progress and successes to date;

  • lessons learned and challenges identified; and

  • next steps being taken to improve efforts and to build momentum.

Participants will hear from people directly engaged in these transformation efforts and will have a chance to ask questions. Participants are encouraged to review materials before the webinar. Register here!

June 12 and 13: Sponsored by the Hampden County CoC, this Housing First Training is designed to support programs currently or planning to operate housing programs that will serve people exiting homelessness and will operate using a Housing First low-threshold model. The training will take place over two days, June 12 and 13 from 9:00-4:00, with coffee and snacks in the morning, and lunch mid-day.  

Training participants will gain a foundational understanding of housing first concepts; strategies to build relationships with tenants and property managers; an outline to guide development of a project-specific tenant guide to give to your program participants; a Learner Guide for trainees to take away that reinforces the information shared and provides additional resources; and connection to a peer network for support after the training ends. 


Topics will include differentiating between the roles of property management and case management, what Housing First looks like in practice, development of emergency procedures and incident reporting, how to address common challenges (using case studies), and eviction prevention.  


The training is appropriate for directors, managers, and program staff. There is no limit to the number of participants from a single agency. Register here!


June 17th: Join us at Greenfield Community College on June 17 from 9:30-11:30 for a morning of community, a panel on racial equity in the three county region, and opportunities to network and connect! Register here by June 3!

June 20th: Community Legal Aid info session on Zoom from 2:00-3:00. Register here!

June 27th: Fair Housing 101 Workshop on Zoom from 1:00-2:30. Register here!

August 8th: Equal Access Rule training. Register here!

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