Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Special Homeless Youth Meeting to Discuss Statewide Funding Allocation – 11/18/15

At the Network’s Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee meeting last week, we learned that the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth has created a “Demonstration Project” Work Group.  This Work Group is charged with making recommendations for the allocation of the FY16 state budget’s first-time allocation of $2 million for unaccompanied homeless youth housing and support services.

We agreed to come together for a special meeting to brainstorm our own committee’s recommendations for their consideration.  This conversation will have a broad statewide policy lens, not specific to the Western region per se while of course integrating our regional needs. And we welcome your input and participation.

We will meet on:

Wednesday, November 18
9:30 – 10:30 am
Northampton Senior Center
67 Conz Street, Northampton

Please RSVP to Pamela Schwartz at if you plan to attend so we can ensure we have the necessary meeting space.

Thanks and looking forward to this exciting conversation.



Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 10/14/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
October 14, 2015

In attendance: Tom Baker, LUK, Pamela Cook, Gandara Center, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, GrantWorks, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center

Youth Resource and Referral Hand-out: we reviewed the draft document (see attached) and provided a range of feedback, e.g., how to better phrase the inquiry around homelessness, age, geographic location. We also discussed the questions leading into the referrals and did some tweaking around the domestic violence question, mental health follow-up. Pamela will connect Jay and Jean on the mental health question framing. We agreed that we will break down the information with Hampden County on one side of the sheet and Three County on the other. Thanks to Jean Rogers for collating the information.

We agreed it would be useful to provide a more youth-oriented user-friendly hand-out that summarized resources (1/4 page, card-stock). Franklin County offers this now and will send it around. Lizzy noted that Worcester provided something similar at a conference. Gerry would like to produce this for Hampden County. Rebecca will follow-up around Berkshire County.

We agreed we would review our next draft of the referral resource by 10/28.

Youth specific coordinated assessment: We discussed the TAY-VI-SPDAT and the need to collect feedback around the most appropriate youth assessment tool and how it may vary from the standard adult assessment VI-SPDAT (e.g., the youth score lower on the VI-SPDAT because the mortality questions are less likely to apply). Our goal is to identify the highest priority youth to serve.

Gerry will search out tools to compare and send them along for review. We agreed that we would look primarily to the feedback from our committee members who directly serve youth – Kim, Jean, Lisa and Rani. We are looking to their opinions around the tool’s effectiveness for prioritizing youth housing needs (PSH, transitional, rapid rehousing).

We will aim for exchanging that feedback via email by 10/28.

Special guest Tom Baker of LUK: Tom shared that they are currently working on creating a new youth network in N. Worcester County as well as providing technical assistance around Runaway Homeless Youth issues.   While our region is primarily out of their service area, there is some overlap in the North Quabbin Area (which Dial/SELF serves). All agreed that right now there are basically no services at all for youth in this sub-region. Dial/SELF and LUK will follow-up on possibilities for pooling resources and building connections.

CoC Application Questions:

Gerry led a conversation to help respond to the questions posed in HUD’s CoC application, including: how we are responding to human trafficking among homeless youth, LGBT youth homelessness, strategies for exits from foster care into homelessness, prioritization for youth housing and services and more.

Kim Majewski provided an update on the efforts through DCF to educate and prepare for intervention around the issue of human trafficking and Hampden County’s Coalition to Identify and Prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Click here to learn more.

Next meeting: November 4, 10 am – 11:30 am, Gandara Center, 1236 Main Street, Route 5N, Holyoke

MA Homeless Students Regional Forum – 10/28, Greenfield Community College

The first MA Homeless Students Regional Forum for Advocates and Educators will be held on October 28 from 8:30am to 1pm, at Greenfield Community College. This is a one-of-a-kind forum, bringing together public school homeless liaisons and guidance staff, post-secondary education professionals, community service providers, and state agency representatives from the region. The goal is to continue building a strong network and best-practices framework, to facilitate seamless transitions to higher education, for students who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness and aging out of foster care.

This event is brought to you by The MA Homeless Post-Secondary Students Network, a grass-roots organization supporting homeless youth in access to public education, through advocacy and policy change. Additional logistical support is also provided by GCC, UMass Boston, and the College Access Challenge Grant.

Please go to to register if you are interested in attending. Registration is free!

We welcome your assistance in spreading the word about this event to anyone you think may be interested in this topic and this work. Please forward this email!

If you  have any questions, please feel free to email Amy Proietti at, or Sarah Slautterback at, or Shirley Fan-Chan at


We look forward to having you with us for this milestone event.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 9/9/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
Meeting Minutes – September 9, 2015

In attendance: Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, Center for Human Development, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Karen Trancana, DYS

Review of Youth Count Survey Notes:

Sarah Slautterbach – DESE – reported that the Special Commission’s Identifications and Connections Working Group is meeting with CoCs across the state to get feedback on the youth count and survey. Will be meeting with Western MA CoCs soon. Andrea (and our committee’s) information will be useful in this process. The working group will consider a broad range of questions, including whether to do a survey at all, whether to do both the survey and count combined, whether it do at the same time of year as the PIT.

Regarding our Network’s feedback to Andrea’s document (click here), Lisa raised the issue of needing to clarify on the survey whether a youth is homeless living with their family or homeless living on their own.

Sarah pointed out that the challenge is that the Committee keeps getting asked to add more questions to the survey but it must fit on 2 pages (some of the vague responses are a result of needing to consolidate too many questions).   The real aim is to reduce the number of questions or consolidate in a way that gives meaningful results.

Sarah would be happy to talk with Andrea in more detail. Pamela will connect them via email.

Review of Youth Housing Screening Tool

Thanks to Lisa for drafting an initial framework for thinking this through (click here). Reviewed and discussed next steps around spelling out what is necessary in each county. Jean Rogers will turn our ideas into a draft flow chart.

We agreed we need to clarify the question around establishing homelessness. Sarah also pointed out that we should include the post secondary homeless network that can offer campus housing.

[Note: GCC is hosting a regional discussion on 10/28 with high schools and related institutions around how to transition young people who are homeless into secondary education. Event in October is a trial run – still drafting what services are needed and where to go for help.]

It was noted that making this information available on social media may be most useful for this population.

We divided up the referral areas for each person to complete with the appropriate referrals and contact and send to Jean:

Domestic violence- Lizzy – Hampden County
veterans services – Lizzy
pregnant/parenting – Jean
DTA, DHCD – Lizzy
DYS – Karen
Education – Sarah
Substance Use/Abuse Services – 800 number – Jean

We agreed on this timeline for completion:

By 9/15 blurbs to Jean;
By 9/25 Jean will send out draft email
By 10/2 – everybody has exchanged feedback

Youth presentation at family services meeting:

Sarah and Lisa will talk and divide up the presentation (they will talk and plan). It will include presentation on the population, the Statewide Commission, how schools use a much broader definition of homelessness than everyone else and how we can tackle this issue from a prevention perspective.

Wed., 10/14, 10-11:30 am
Northampton Senior Center