3 County CoC Logo 2019.png

Three County Continuum of Care Quarterly Newsletter

Committed to The Goal of Ending Homelessness in Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties

This Newsletter will go out every three months. To make suggestions/share content email HERE.

Racial Equity.jpg

Racial Equity Plan

Beginning in February 2020, the Three County Continuum of Care made an explicit commitment to center racial equity in our homelessness response. Recognizing that Black and Latino/Hispanic people are dramatically over-represented among those experiencing homelessness in our

region, we undertook a series of efforts to analyze our data through a racial equity lens, provide anti-racism training for providers working in the homelessness system, engage community partners to develop strategies to address racial inequities in our homelessness response, and develop a Racial Equity Action Plan to guide our work. This plan is the result of our efforts. Through the course of our work together, that has continued, it has become clear that centering racial equity in our homelessness response is more urgent than ever. The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others shone a light on the continuing racial violence against Black people in our nation. The racial uprising in the wake of those murders revealed a broad-based commitment to change. And the racially disparate impact of the coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout has devastated Black and Brown communities. There is so much work to be done. Now is the time. Our hope is that the plan serves as a guide as we work to operationalize our racial equity commitment. The plan includes specific action steps and timelines, as well as measurable outcomes to assess our progress. We invite partners from across the community to join us as we move forward in our efforts to achieve a more just and equitable community in which all people--regardless of the color of their skin--have access to safe, stable housing.

HAve you heard.jpg

Have You Heard

In January 2022, the CoC was proud to announce the rollout of our new Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and a New Coordinated Entry Assessment. What exactly does this mean, you may ask...let me explain! This means, that we will no longer be using DHCD's HMIS ETO and are moving to our own system, called Clarity by Bitfocus. For Coordinated Entry, this means that all CE Assessments and Data Elements will need to be entered into our new HMIS system.  Our Data and Evaluations Manager, Michele LaFleur has been conducting trainings over the last couple of weeks to ensure that all assessors are educated on entering assessments into this new system. Coinciding with this change in HMIS, is the rollout of our new Coordinated Entry Assessment Tool (This tool is used ONLY by trained assessors.) This is an updated version of the current tool and is the product of hard work from the Coordinated Entry Workgroup last year and assistance from Racial Equity Partners and our technical assistance firm to finalize. This tool will be used alongside our Release of Information and has a corresponding Companion Guide. Trainings were also provided to our assessors in how to use both the assessment and the guide to better understand the use of the tool. Are you asking yourself, what is Coordinated Entry? Coordinated Entry (CE) is a system designed to connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness with housing options, supportive services, and mainstream benefits. To find out more visit the CoC website.


Local Emergency Shelter Spotlight - Craigs Doors

"Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, it is an act of Justice" - Nelson Mandela

Craig's Doors kicked off 2022 in the same fashion it ended 2021 – busy but committed to keeping people safe. With COVID-19 persisting, temperatures dropping and the housing market practically inaccessible, there has been a steady increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, Craig's Doors remains true to its mission as our dedicated staff, continue to do whatever it takes to help meet the needs of our guests.

Caroline DeCoste, who co-directed Craig’s Place our congregate shelter at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst (UUSA) when we operated there last year, now ably directs operations at the University Motor Lodge (UML) which currently houses 34 guests.

Former Director Rachel Weiss returned to lead Craig’s Place, our 23 bed congregate shelter which, this year, is hosted by Immanuel Lutheran Church (ILC). Initially running from 5PM-7:30AM, Pastor Jeffery Schulz and the ILC congregation, who have welcomed us with open arms, allowed us to extend operations to 24-7.

Jeremiah Blankenbaker opened and continues to manage our newest site, The Warming Place (TWP) and Resource Center (RC) at the former VFW Post 754 on Main St. TWP offers anyone from the community a Warm Place to get out of the cold, enjoy a cup of coffee, have a snack, access the internet or just hang out.

Thanks to Sen. Jo Comerford and the W Mass Legislative Delegation, we’ve been able to keep people who are unable or traditionally unwilling to access congregate shelter, safe places to survive this life threatening cold.

Craig’s Doors offers breakfast and supper each day. And with the help of the Amherst Survival Center (ASC), the weekly Community Breakfast program at the UUSA and Not Bread Alone (NBA) additional meals are available.

Case management is being offered and housing options are being diligently pursued under the watchful direction of Tim McCarthy, Deputy Director of Operations.

As we continue to expand in an effort to meet the growing need, it remains an honor to serve the Hampshire County Community.

Craigs Doors operates in the Amherst area. For more information about Craig's Doors visit their website: craigsdoors.org or call: (413) 256-0704


Legislative Action

This is a big time for legislative action: the deadline to report bills out of legislative committees is Tuesday, Feb. 2 (unless extensions are granted). A "favorable report" is necessary in order for the bill to have a chance to be voted upon by the Legislature before the end of the session on July 31.  So this is the time to push on our key priorities: the COVID-19 Housing Equity Bill, Right to Counsel in Evictionsthe Real Estate Transfer Fee for Affordable Housing and more (see all of the Western MA Network to End Homelessness' legislative priorities here). 

Find your legislators HERE and call or email to urge them to support these housing justice priorities!

Also, our most vulnerable tenants are facing a crisis right now due to the reductions in the emergency rental assistance programs.  Get details here and add this to your list when you contact your legislators: please act NOW to restore the emergency rental assistance programs to prevent more evictions and homelessness.

Finally, please SAVE THE DATE for the Network's Annual Event on Friday, May 6, 10 am. Come together with our state legislators, mayors, community leaders and our critical frontline workers to reflect on the extraordinary year and push for the change we need to adequately meet this continuing crisis. Please go here to register.


For Local resources, please visit the Look4help website.


Informative Articles

Here are a list of Informative and Recent Articles addressing the homelessness challenges Nationally and Locally:



Every Newsletter the CoC will "Spotlight" a major person, or an Agency that is doing something big in the community.


My Name is Olivia Gilbert-Lilly! I am a 23 year old young mom of 3 kids. I'm a peer Ambassador for the Brickhouse and also work with Community Action as a YAB Member and a Youth Council Member. I'm very passionate about fighting youth homelessness and stigma against addiction. I'm an avid participant in a local LGBTQIA group and attend many workshops learning about different topics such as Racial Justice, community resources, and enjoy attending the family groups at the family center!


Emergency Housing Vouchers

The Three County CoC has been working to prioritize local people experiencing homelessness for a new housing resource!

The Emergency Housing Vouchers are federal housing vouchers available for individuals and families experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Three County CoC received 68 vouchers in total: 15 vouchers with Franklin County Regional Housing and Redevelopment Authority, 17 vouchers with Northampton Housing, and 36 vouchers with The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD). The CoC prioritized serving individuals and families experiencing homelessness and fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking. Referrals for the EHVs were required to go through the CoC’s Coordinated Entry (CE) System. Vouchers were issued through the CE System based on assessment score, vulnerability, and whether or not a household had one or more members who belong to a population overrepresented in our homeless data. As of December 2021, the CoC has made referrals for all 68 EHVs. At this time, many of the EHV referrals are beginning or in the midst of their housing search. The CoC encourages area landlords and property owners to partner with the efforts to house individuals and families who hold these vouchers. If you are a landlord and interested in renting to someone with an EHV voucher, please contact Shaundell Diaz @ sdiaz@communityaction.us.



The Three County CoC is currently in the midst of planning for the 2022 Point in Time (PIT) Count which is scheduled for February 23rd this year. The Point in Time Count is an attempt to try and determine how many people are experiencing homelessness on a single night during winter across the country. For the PIT Count, the Three County CoC tries to count how many people in Hampshire, Berkshire, and Franklin counties are currently experiencing homelessness both in shelters and in unsheltered situations such as vehicles or encampments and this year we are also going to try to count those who are in other unhoused situations like couch surfing. For the unsheltered count, volunteers, street outreach workers, and social service providers meet people out in the community, offer need items and resource guides, explain the count and ask if they're open to taking a survey. This count is incredibly important because the results are used by many local organizations, municipalities, legislators, and the federal government to plan services and allocate resources for those experiencing homelessness.  If you are interested in becoming part of the planning efforts, please contact Michele LaFleur mlafleur@communityaction.us.

upcoming events.jpg

Upcoming CoC Sponsored Events

  1. Housing Problem Solving Training

  • The purpose of this training to introduce the core features of effective Housing Problem Solving strategies to local partners. The training will cover the core features Housing Problem Solving and how those techniques relate to our efforts to end homelessness in Western MA. The training will also discuss how problem solving effects homelessness prevention, diversion and rapid exit strategies for individuals and families at-risk of or experiencing literal homelessness.

this training will be Facilitated by Douglas Tetrault, Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC)

  • This spring the Three County CoC will partner with the Hampden County CoC and the western Mass Network to End Homelessness to offer a series of trainings in Racial Equity. visit our news and events page to learn about upcoming trainings and other relevant information.

CAPV RGB logoGraphic FINAL.png

Open Positions at the Three County CoC

Homeless Services Coordinator

The Three County CoC is seeking a dynamic leader to coordinate the Homeless Services partnerships and Coordinated Entry system. Coordinated Entry (CE) is a system designed to connect individuals and families experiencing homelessness with housing options, supportive services, and mainstream benefits. The Three County CoC at Community Action, along with many partner agencies, operates the CE system in Berkshire, Hampshire, and Franklin Counties, which aims to provide immediate and equitable access to assistance, housing options, and appropriate supports. ​The Coordinator will work with the CoC team and Continuum of Care (CoC) partners to ensure that the Coordinated Entry (CE) system provides equitable access for people experiencing homelessness. 

The ideal candidate would have excellent communication and facilitation skills; an interest in addressing systemic issues impacting vulnerable populations; is results driven, organized, and detail oriented; and have good problem solving, supervision, and project coordination skills. This is a full-time position, at 37.5 hrs/week. Pay range: $23.50-$24.93 /hr. 

Intake and Referral Specialist

This role will support the Three County Continuum of Care’s Coordinated Entry (CE) and homelessness response systems by coordinating the referral process for individuals and families seeking housing and shelter assistance through Coordinated Entry managing referrals to partner agencies and other resources, training partner agencies, and supporting the management of system of access for vulnerable populations. This position will also help individuals and families successfully utilize housing resources, aid in housing search and landlord engagement and will lead communication with the administering agency for housing assistance payments & financial assistance including initiatives like Emergency Housing Vouchers. This is a full time position at 37.5 hrs/wk, Pay range: $19.33-$20.50 /hr.