Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 9/28/18

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes
September 28, 2018

In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, Hampden County CoC, Rebecca Muller, GrantWorks, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Mena Regan, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Martha Sandoval, Baystate Pediatrics, Julie Vital, Baystate Pediatrics

Coordinated Entry goals review and discussion:

Our two CoC’s are participating in a year-long technical assistance learning collaborative offered by MANY (Mid-Atlantic Network for Youth) with web-based phone calls every 6 weeks.  There have been 3 calls so far. The focus now is on integrating Coordinated Entry into the youth homelessness system; that is, developing a single by-name list of homeless youth across each CoC, with each person assessed for their vulnerabilities and needs by a single assessment tool, with all providers using this same tool and this same by-name list.  The ultimate goal is to be able to best prioritize the available resources for the youth in need of them and to gain a thorough understanding of needs, gaps and how best to fill them.  Current participants in these calls across the two regions include Emily English, Gandara Center, Jean Rogers, CHD, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF.

Hampden County began its youth by-name list last Spring. They include people who are doubled-up or couch surfing (even though HUD doesn’t “count” them) as well as people in shelter or on the street; they are also collecting data on LGBTQ. They have begun to collect data and are identifying their gaps and determining how to collect in the future.  They are now on two national dashboards:

The MANY dashboard (includes only communities participating in this learning collaborative):

https://public.tableau.com/profile/margaret.woley#!/vizhome/CELCDashboard/CoordinatedEntryLearningCollaborativeDashboard

A Way Home America – includes all data on youth from across the country

http://www.awayhomeamerica.org/community-dashboard/

Hampden County’s goal over this period is to bring 5 new providers into the coordinated entry system, e.g., ROCA, YWCA, HCC, Baystate, Impact Center.  Gerry will schedule a training to orient providers on how to refer a youth into the system.

Three County CoC: It is also starting on collecting similar data with a goal to get on the national dashboards.  Additional goals include conducting an analysis of their current by-name list, integrating it into the weekly coordinated entry meetings occurring across the region, determining which agencies are doing assessments and conducting outreach to increase the number of providers participating.  DIAL/SELF, ServiceNet and Eliot CHS-Homeless services are leading partners in this effort with DIAL/SELF at the helm.

Youth Action Board: The Hampden County CoC has applied twice for HUD’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) but scored just out of range to get funded. Another round of funding will be made available this year and the CoC will try again. The biggest gap in the application is the lack of a Youth Action Board, a youth led group that is driving policies and procedures around addressing this challenge.

The group discussed the Impact Center (SAMHSA and DMH funded) which has a youth led advisory board called Youth Voice.  Click here for the flyer. Rebecca will reach out to initiate a meeting with them (with Gerry) to discuss if/how they would like to get more involved in state and federal youth homelessness work (e.g., the state funding coming soon as well as HUD funding). The data shows that the Impact Center has seen 130 “unique” youth in the first 5 months, about 20% of whom were considered housing unstable.  All agreed it would be great to support development of this group in order to gain their active participation in identifying gaps and challenges to meeting needs of at-risk youth, as well as developing their own leadership skills in the process.

Racial disparity analysis:  We began a discussion of the findings from the racial disparity analysis required by HUD but agreed we did not have enough time so will instead devote a substantial part of our next meeting to this issue.  Pamela will send out materials in advance.

Network FY19 Earmark: Pamela reported that the Network Steering Committee has made a proposal to DHCD for allocating its $125,000 earmark, which will include: (1) flexible funds for prevention and rapid re-housing (distributed 60-40% between Hampden and Three County CoC based on population), which will also include the opportunity to explore pilot funding strategies to engage more landlords with incentives or mitigation; and (2) training funds to support the professional development and system building across the region, relying on nationally recognized experts in the field.

Network Legislative Event:  The Steering Committee decided to host a legislative gathering on Friday, November 16, 1 pm – 3 pm, at Greenfield Community College (the Dining Commons) to meet the 5 new presumed legislators from the Upper Pioneer Valley (candidate Jo Comerford for State Senate, and for State Representative: Natalie Blais, Dan Carey, Mindy Domb and Lindsay Sabadosa).  It will also include other current Western MA legislators, the region’s mayors and other locally elected officials. All are welcome!  If you are interested in attending, register here.

Rapid re-housing training: Lisa and Emily shared an update on the MHSA training they helped lead on rapid re-housing for youth.  It was informative and supportive.  One take-away: stabilization needs for youth require more time than for the typical adult population, from 1.5-2 years as opposed to the standard 1 year. It was very useful to be together with other youth providers from across the state.

Next meeting dates/times:

Wed., 10/17 – 9 am – 10:30 am, Donahue Building, Room 340, HCC

Wed., 11/14, 9 am – 10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC

Wed., 12/12, 9 am – 10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 301A, HCC