Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
January 9, 2018
In attendance: Peter Cofoni, DCF-Springfield; Rosemary Fiedler, Thrive HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/CoC, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Juan Rivera, DYS-Holyoke, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
Youth Special Commission Update: Please click here for the draft report . Comments are due by Jan. 14. The drafters apologized for the short turn-around time (to accommodate their next steering committee meeting on 1/16). The committee agreed that the process for this report is questionable and may undermine desired outcomes. Gerry will provide feedback on a specific matter regarding the coordination gap between DCF and DMH that precludes youth aging out of foster care to become eligible for DMH services. The committee agreed that this kind of feedback – concrete proposals for changes in state agency policy and coordination – would be the place to focus our energies.
State youth funding: The Governor released the $675K in FY18 youth funding but some of the funds have been earmarked for other youth orgs in and around Boston (unclear how that happened) and the understanding is that the remainder will be allocated via an RFP. The committee acknowledge the consequences of this late timing in the fiscal year – this will be difficult to manage! And we will all stay tuned.
Point in Time Count: for Hampden County it will take place on 1/31; for 3 County 1/24. Gerry confirmed how the HUD count does not count people who are doubled up or couch surfing, only those in shelter or unsheltered. Gerry organized some outreach efforts with HCC, CHD and Gandara.
Continuing discussion of youth outreach: We welcomed Peter Cofoni, a DCF adolescent supervisor, to our committee. He works with young adults in the Springfield area who are in residential support or who are in transition from foster care. He is always looking for housing options and was pleased to connect with Gandara’s Shine program again.
Juan Rivera of DYS provided additional information on the numbers they serve in Western MA: 119 youth are still committed; 43 are youth engaged in services (YES, voluntary services).
Network Evaluation project: Pamela provided an update on the consultant working with the Network to help evaluate the best use of the Network going forward. She distributed the interview questions and encouraged everyone to provide their input. She will send the information electronically as well. She encouraged people to attend the Network meeting on 2/12, 1-4 pm, Kittredge Center, HCC, to further engage in this effort to help shape the Network going forward.
Next meeting date: Wed., 2/14, 2-3:30 pm; Rosemary will confirm space. [Note: Rosemary confirmed it is Donahue Buiding, Room 368, HCC]