We are busy gearing up for Visioning Day 2017 this Thursday August 10th! We are excited for this yearly event when we, in collaboration with key partners, bring together families experiencing homelessness, family shelter service providers, and policymakers to share resources, reflect, and articulate our collective vision for the coming year. In anticipation of the big day, here are descriptions of each breakout group. We ask attendees to select one break out group that they will participate in.
Visioning Day 2017 Breakout Group Descriptions
# 1 Self Care through Poetry and Storytelling
Presenter: Alex Charalambides-Founder, Managing Director, Mass LEAP
Summary: This workshop will allow participants to explore the idea of sharing in a way that heals as they speak their truth. Storytelling is an effective way to share and work through experiences and trauma. While written testimony and unified messaging are powerful tools we can use to raise awareness and change policies and practices, this approach doesn’t emphasize the self care component. Homes for Families recognizes that raising awareness can mean reliving the triggers and challenges of surviving homelessness and displacement, and we wanted to offer a space for healing in your own words.
#2 Child Wellness
Presenters: Dr. Megan Sandel, Boston Medical Center; Sarah Slautterback, MA Department of Education; Ileen Henderson, Bright Spaces/Bright Horizons
Translation will be provided in this breakout.
Summary: The primary concern of any parent is the well being of their children. Housing instability and homelessness can have impact on a child’s health, as well as their educational performance and behavioral and emotional well being. We also know that with the right supports, access to services, and strong relationships, children who have experienced homelessness and instability are able to thrive and succeed on par or beyond that of their peers. This group will discuss systems and initiatives that already exist to support and respond to the needs of children facing homelessness and work together to identify how the various systems and community can do more to support parents and children to minimize the impacts of homelessness.
Presenters: Jessica Chicco, DOVE Inc.; Ellen VanScoyoc, Central West Justice Center; and Collin Mickle, Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands, Inc.
Translation will be provided in this breakout.
Summary: The group will include attorneys who each offer a different lens on addressing immigration challenges as they relate to homelessness and intersection issues. On the panel are presenters from a range of agencies including legal aid, community action, and domestic violence. We recognize the unique challenges that families with undocumented immigrants or members of different immigration statuses face. Through this breakout we aim to increase our collective knowledge of resources and supports for families and providers to address these challenges. The break out will include brief presentations by our panel, followed by discussion. We will share best practices and practical tools and tips around accessing housing and important related supports for families with members of varied immigration statuses, especially those who are undocumented.
Presenters: Danielle Lariviere, Central MA Housing Alliance; Tom Plihcik, New Lease for Homeless Families; Luis Arzola and Jose Cruz, Center for Human Development
Summary: Landlords are a key stakeholder in our collective ability to manage and end homelessness. We need good landlords for scattered site shelter units; for HomeBASE tenancies, for subsidies and for market rent, and to work with tenants and programs instead of evicting. As rents increase and the rental stock declines, landlord relationships are that much more critical. Short term subsidies, like HomeBASE, and state rental assistance policies can be hard for both tenants and landlords to manage. This group will talk about tenants’ rights, increasing access and partnerships with big property management companies, engaging community based landlords, and ways to support families and landlords to build positive trusting relationships.
#4: Workforce Development and Cliff Effect
Facilitators: Molly Richard and Julia Tripp, Center for Social Innovation; Marija Bingulac, Center for Social Policy & the On Solid Ground Coalition; Anne Bureau, Community Connections in Worcester; and Meagan Pedemonti , Way Finders
Summary: Each year at Visioning Day, participants raise their voices for education, employment and training, and better jobs. Homes for Families’ recent survey showed that 65% of families in shelter have work experience but primarily in jobs with lower wages and no benefits. As parents increase incomes, there are policies that cut or lessen benefits, so that even though incomes increase, families end up further behind – we call this the cliff effect. This group will talk about advocacy efforts and practices to lessen the cliff effect and support families to become economically stable as well as about trends in workforce development and training programs.
Liz and Team HFF