CoC News: Chronic Homelessness, VI-SPDAT and SPDAT


The CoC had a great month in June, coordinating placement of 10 individuals from our by-name list into permanent housing. Congratulations!

Over the last year, we have reduced the number of active people on the list by 42%. The number is now 73. We set a goal of getting the number to 48 by the end of August 2017, so we will need to continue the great work that providers accomplished in June.


As I have mentioned in a few recent meetings, we have been trying to arrange for OrgCode to come to Springfield for training on the VI-SPDAT and the SPDAT. We have finally connected and are working toward a date in September or October–stay tuned!


CoC Providers: Check Your Data!

HUD is expected to release the NOFA for the FY17 funding competition very soon. The CoC relies on HMIS data to review performance of all CoC projects to guide decisions about what to fund and where to rank projects.

The CoC will use data for the period 7/1/2016 to 6/30/2017 to evaluate projects for the competition.

Please take time now to review your data for errors. Note the following schedule:

7/15    All data should be complete

7/17    Draft APRs for reporting period distributed to providers

7/28    Deadline to make corrections to data

7/31    Final APRs for FY17 competition produced

Data in the final APRs will be used for scoring and ranking. Thank you in advance for helping us get high-quality data!

VI-SPDAT tips from OrgCode

Iain De Jong of OrgCode–the creators of the VI-SPDAT–has written a terrific blog post about the VI-SPDAT. I highly recommend that you click through to read the post: VI-SPDAT: 14 Things That Irk Me.

Here are a few excerpts which address some issues relevant to our CoC:

Don’t have an inconsistent introductory script. 

If you want reliability in using the VI-SPDAT, make sure that every person that administers the tool in your community introduces it and explains it in EXACTLY the same way. No variation.

Based on this comment, I am working on a draft introductory script for CoC review. Once we decide on language, it will be made part of our paper form and on-line VI-SPDAT entry.


Don’t use it too far up stream.

Diversion first at shelter entry. When that does not work, give people a chance to self resolve. Only when that does not work should a community dig into the VI-SPDAT. If you do the VI-SPDAT right away, you may inadvertently give up on people that may otherwise self resolve.



Understand how the questions were actually created.

Most of the questions within the tool were actually created by people experiencing homelessness. We would take the research to them in shelters, drop-ins, hygiene facilities, in the woods, etc. and we would say, “We need to ask a question about x, y or z. How would you ask yourself that question?” Then we tested it and refined it. Over and over and over and over again.


Don’t think it is a perfect tool.

The tool provides data. It does not make decisions, it informs decisions. The tool is not perfect. It will continue to evolve and improve. It is the best available tool based upon the best available evidence and testing. Continue to have an active voice in making it better.

But really, you should read the whole thing: VI-SPDAT: 14 Things That Irk Me.




Webinar on Chronic Homeless Definition and Verification

Many of us are still struggling with all parts of the chronic homelessness definition and what is required to verify chronic status.

HUD is hosting a webinar next Wednesday, June 21, 11 am to noon, to help clear up issues and answer questions. The webinar will be followed by a question and answer/discussion period. Please make time for this really important training!

To join the webinar, pre-register at the link below and you will get a confirmation email with log-in information:



Family Homelessness Resource Fair: A Great Success!

Pamela Schwartz has provided a report on yesterday’s fabulous Family Homelessness Resource Fair:

What an amazing morning!  45 providers from every sector and every county of Western Massachusetts came together today – housing and shelter providers, domestic violence service providers, mental health and substance use treatment providers, child care, health care and youth providers, veterans services, employment services, secondary and higher education providers and state agencies all under one roof at CHD.  Roughly 200 people attended!  You can get a sense of the crowd in the room from the pictures below. The room teemed with the excitement of people connecting, learning, and building relationships, all in service of our shared goal to support families in their efforts at greater housing stability.

The feedback has already been overwhelmingly positive: “This was amazing!” “What a great event!” “I learned so much.”  “Great information.”  And so much more of the same.

Special thanks to CHD (and Jane Banks) for their fiscal sponsorship of the event and provision of space and related supplies.  We could not have done it without them!

Thanks also to our additional planning partners at Way Finders (Janette Vigo) and Community Action of Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin (Janna Tetreault).  And finally thanks to every single Network partner who showed up to share or to learn or (mostly) do both.  It was a fine moment reflecting what this Network is all about: collaboration and coordination towards preventing and ending homelessness.

Congratulations to all!

Check out the coverage on Channel 22 here.


Reminder CoC Meeting this FRIDAY

This is a reminder that the Springfield-Hampden County CoC is meeting this FRIDAY morning. We are meeting:

Friday, June 9, 9 – 11 am

                Springfield Municipal Operations Building conference room, 70 Tapley St

The agenda—

  • Final 2017 PIT count
  • Youth News – Count and HUD Technical Assistance
  • Update on Coordinated Entry
  • Built for Zero campaign – Report from CoC team that traveled to DC, next trip September to Chicago
  • Vacancies on the CoC Board of Directors

DATE CHANGE! CoC Board of Directors meeting

The meeting scheduled for May 25 has been RESCHEDULED.

The Springfield-Hampden County CoC Board of Directors is meeting:

                Friday, June 9, 9 – 11 am

                Springfield Municipal Operations Building conference room, 70 Tapley St.

This is an open meeting, meaning that anyone from the CoC is welcome (whether or not on the Board).


  • Final 2017 point-in-time count report & news from the Youth Count
  • Status of Coordinated Entry & next steps
  • Built for Zero campaign—info from our team’s DC Learning Session trip
  • Filling Board vacancies