CHD’s Diversion, Shelter & Housing program includes a diverse combination of services aimed at addressing family homelessness and families at risk of homelessness.
As the largest shelter provider in Western Massachusetts, CHD maintains 78 temporary shelter sites for homeless families in Hampshire and Hampden counties. At these scattered sites, all individual apartments leased by CHD, clients receive individualized case management and other support that includes referrals to entitlement agencies, budget workshops, cooking training—whatever support services families need to stabilize their lives so they can both find and maintain permanent housing.
The state Dept. of Transitional Assistance (DTA) determines eligibility for these units and the state Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) makes the placement.
Through a five-year, $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, CHD also provides services, treatment, and case management for families in Hampshire and Hampden counties who have experienced long-term homelessness or housing instability, especially where the parent may have a mental health issue, substance abuse problem, or both. The goal is to get families into housing as soon as possible and help them stay there by working with them on issues that sometimes interfere with long-term stable housing.
Through funding from the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) a CHD caseworker provides street outreach to homeless individuals living in the town of Amherst. These services are provided to individuals through other programs for homeless individuals CHD provides in Amherst, including the Not Bread Alone community meals program and the town's temporary winter shelter.
Each fiscal year (July 1 to June 30), CHD sets a goal of placing 100 shelter families in permanent housing. CHD met its 2010 goal in January, having successfully secured permanent housing for 104 families.