CITY OF WORCESTER

Public Health and Human Services Committee Meeting

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Levi Lincoln (North) Chamber

Convened: 5:05 P.M.

Adjourned: 6:29 P.M.


Mayor
Joseph M. Petty

 

www.worcesterma.gov

 

Clerk of the City Council
Nikolin Vangjeli

Committee Members

Chairperson Sarai Rivera
Vice Chairperson Morris A Bergman
Councilor Etel Haxhiaj
 

City Hall - 455 Main Street Worcester, Massachusetts


Present Were:Chairperson Councilor Sarai Rivera Councilor Morris A. Bergman Councilor Etel Haxhiaj
 
Also:Commissioner of Health and Human Services Matilde Castiel Homeless Projects Manager Evis Terpollari Homeless Outreach Strategist Eniya Lufumpa Director of Neighborhood Development Gregory Baker Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes James Brooks Assistant City Clerk Clare M. Robbins, clerk
 
1.

Virtual Attendee Call-In Information

1a.

Pursuant to Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021 and in order to ensure active, public engagement, the City of Worcester currently allows for both in-person and remote participation at all City Council and Standing Committee meetings. To partake in the meeting, you may attend the meeting in-person within the meeting location, follow the below link to join via Zoom or dial the direct line as indicated.

Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/92440181651
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Phone Number: (929) 205 6099
Public Health and Human Services Committee Zoom Access Code: 924 4018 1651

Attachments
2.

Approval of the Minutes

2a.

Order- That the City Council Standing Committee of Public Health and Human Services hereby approves the minutes of the Public Health and Human Services Committee meeting on May 23, 2022.

View Agenda

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved for a roll call vote to adopt the item. Order adopted on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

3.

Community Development Block Grant Item

3a.

Communication of the City Manager transmitting informational communication relative to CDBG Year 48 recommendations. # 8.4B CM May 24, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and recognized the Director of Neighborhood Development, who provided an overview of the CDBG funding and allocations and the process relative to CDBG program.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Director of Housing Development and Healthy Homes, who provided an overview of the ESG and HOPWA funds and recommendation for allocation of said funds.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who discussed the qualification of CDBG neighborhood with the Director of Neighborhood Development and the funding for infrastructure safety and improvement.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the list of blight properties that CDBG funding could potentially address, as well a list of properties that can be acquired for affordable housing.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed where the CDBG funding comes from, whether there is a mission statement or directive relative to the best-use of the funds, whether the CDBG funding can address issues relative to the disparity in homeownership.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the following speakers:
1. Pamela Stolz, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
2. Lorie Marriska, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item

Chairperson Councilor Rivera moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager provide City Council with a report concerning the list of blight properties that CDBG funding could potentially address, as well a list of properties that can be acquired for affordable housing.

4.

Communications of the City Manager

4a.

Transmitting informational communication relative to an update regarding the Community Crisis Response Model. # 9.18A CM April 26, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and recognized the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, who provided an overview of the funding and details concerning the 911 response program, training program for dispatchers, and whether the program is an expansion of emergency behavioral health program by Community Healthlink.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the following speakers:
1. Jack Murray, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
2. Brian Beckford, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
3. Erik Garcia, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
4. John Lito, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item

Chairperson Councilor Rivera moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

4b.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the homeless population on upper Lincoln Street. # 9.11A CM March 1, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved to take the item up collectively with Item #4c.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the Homeless Projects Manager, who discussed the homeless population on upper Lincoln St., crisis aversion plans to address issues relative to addiction among the homeless population, and details concerning housing available for the homeless population with the Commissioner of Health and Human Services.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed the number of homeless individuals and the percentage of the homeless population in the Worcester county and upper Lincoln St. with the Homeless Projects Manager and the Homeless Outreach Strategist.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Commissioner of Health and Human Services provide City Council with a report concerning the neighborhoods where homelessness is most prevalent and the reasons for said prevalence.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized the following speaker:
1. Brian Beckford, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
2. Hugh Silk, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
3. Erik Garcia, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
4. Shauna Kutzko, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
5. Pamela Stolz, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item
6. Jack Murray, Worcester resident, spoke concerning the item

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Bergman, who discussed the data for Worcester city concerning the number of homeless individuals, homeless individuals who came from other communities, comparison to data from the previous year, the percentage of the unsheltered population with the Homeless Outreach Strategist.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Commissioner of Health and Human Services provide City Council with a report concerning data specific to how many individuals are in each homeless shelter.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera then discussed the causation of the increased homeless population, including people who came from other communities for services and the lack of discharge planning by the hospitals with the Homeless Outreach Strategist.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services work with hospitals, jails, and rehabilitation centers to discuss discharge plans to avoid individuals entering into homelessness.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera recognized Councilor Haxhiaj, who discussed state guidelines on the discharge process for the hospitals and plans concerning discharge planning with the Homeless Outreach Strategist.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera brought forth the following Chairmanís Order: Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services provide City Council with an update concerning homelessness issues at its next meeting.

Chairperson Councilor Rivera moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be filed.

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays

Chairman's Orders

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Health and Human Services provide City Council with a report concerning the neighborhoods where homelessness is most prevalent and the reasons for said prevalence.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Health and Human Services provide City Council with a report concerning data specific to how many individuals are in each homeless shelter.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services work with hospitals, jails, and rehabilitation centers to discuss discharge plans to avoid individuals entering into homelessness.

Request City Manager request Commissioner of Public Health and Human Services provide City Council with an update concerning homelessness issues at its next meeting.

4c.

Transmitting informational communication relative the number of homeless individuals in the City of Worcester in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. # 8.18A CM February 8, 2022

Attachments

Recommend File on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays (See Item #4b)

4d.

Transmitting informational communication relative to the numbers of opioid fatalities in Worcester between 2020 and 2021. # 8.19A CM February 8, 2022

Attachments

Chairperson Councilor Rivera read the item and moved for a roll call vote to recommend the item be held.

Recommend Hold on a roll call vote of 3 Yeas and 0 Nays