- Program leaders (Kelly, Jean, Sharon) will reach out to their youth programs and young people involved to ask for their feedback
- Gerry and Pamela will reach out again to DCF and DYS to recruit their involvement in this effort
- Gerry will explore the possibility of Davis Foundation funding to support youth training and leadership development
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
September 13, 2017
In attendance: Rosemary Fiedler, Thrive HCC, Sohanda Failla, CHD, Lisa Goldsmith (by phone), DIAL/SELF, Natalie Hill, Gandara SHINE, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Natalie Kyles, Gandara SHINE, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc. , Cindy Maddison, HCC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Emily Nolan (by phone), HUD TA, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Marie Thoppe, HCC Transition to College
A framework for our efforts right now:
Gerry McCafferty, as liaison of the Hampden County CoC, provided a backdrop for our planning effort. The initial impetus for this planning was a HUD youth services grant – a first application was submitted last year and while the CoC scored well, it was just shy of getting selected; and now the promise of a second round of HUD funding for which the CoC will apply (the RFP is not out yet).
The goal, however, is larger than the submission of any one application. It is to take an in-depth look at our current youth services homelessness system, determine what is working and what isn’t, what, where and how we need to invest to close the gaps and what it would cost and how best to allocate any funds.
We can learn from other efforts in other cities and states. Gerry provided us a copy of Washington, DC’s 5 year plan to end youth homelessness. It offers an explicit breakdown of the contrast in outcomes from the “same old approach” to “after Year One” (see p. 3).
We need to answer the questions: What do we know? What are we missing? How do we do the necessary outreach to ensure complete information? How do we determine what is needed?
Gerry will map out the various “buckets” of information needed to help us determine next steps. The buckets will include:
- Data – what do you know?
- Environmental scan – who is out there intersecting with this population?
- Coordinated entry system: what is the current system of assessment/service; how do we integrate it into the overall coordinated entry system?
- Promising models – what do we want to learn from?
- Strategies and outcomes
The group welcomed two HCC students to the committee. Cindy offered the perspective that one of the biggest challenges for young people is time! The time it takes to access services, transportation, public benefits. The barriers are daunting.
The group agreed that we needed to hear more from youth and Cindy helped us frame a gathering in terms of “what could have made it easier for you” when faced with housing instability, a request for information as opposed to personal experiences (that they may not be inclined to share).
We agreed on the following:
Thursday, October 26
include pizza, gift cards (if available) and child care
Your Housing Needs
Rosemary will see if HCC has space and whether offering child care is permissible.
Pamela will send out draft text and Natalie will do a draft flyer.
Gerry will reach out to MHSA to learn more about their youth led training (for adult providers and youth) and see if they can do a training here.
Gerry will produce an initial document around the “buckets” of work to be done for discussion at our next meeting.
Next meeting date:
Wed., October 11
4:00 – 5:30 pm
HCC – Frost Building Bartlett Room (across from Frost Building 309, Board Room)
In attendance: Yoshi Bird, YWCA, Anna Cruz, TiLP program (CHD), Serena Daye, Rapid re-housing, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC (Thrive), Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Natalie Hill, Gandara Center, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS Homeless Services, Natalie Kyles, Gandara Center, Jacqueline Lozada, RVCC/Holyoke SSYI, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Kathie Robies, RVCC/HSSYI, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
- ease of transportation
- active engagement and recruitment – what is this, why become involved
- use of an anonymous survey to collect background info and feedback around this meeting
- Family instability
- System involvement
- Residential instability
- Extreme disconnection from education, employment and support networks
- LGBTQ youth
- Justice System Involved Youth
- Child Welfare System involved youth
- Sex Trafficked Youth
- Immigrant and Refugee Youth
- Anna will work with Serena to develop a survey for youth that would be utilized as part of an engagement strategy for this committee; she will relay to Jean at CHD and then Jean to Pamela for continued discussion within the committee in advance of the next meeting
- Gerry will reach out to DCF and DYS to recruit representative attendance at their next meeting (Lisa suggested searching out the adolescent outreach staff at DCF)
- Youth engagement: how is the CoC empowering youth to be involved in the decision making; how are their voices being heard in what they think will help them be most successful
- Innovative ideas: what does that mean for our community; what will make a meaningful difference
- Coordinated approach: how is the effort tied to the over-arching goal of building a coordinated entry system; who are we engaging and bringing to the table in this effort, e.g., child welfare, juvenile justice, schools, new community members, low-barrier transitional housing resources
- Data development: how well do we know our data, understand the gap within our system; what are the true numbers and how are they informing a right-fit intervention
- Learning from other communities: how are we gaining from best practices across the country, e.g., Austin, LA, Cleveland and their significant progress on youth engagement
- how are we acquiring and analyzing data across systems, e.g., child welfare and juvenile justice systems – who is aging out, at risk of coming into the system; how are we creating capacity for a predictive analysis in order to create front-end interventions
- how are we closing data collection gaps for non-HMIS providers, ensuring all relevant data gets into HMIS regardless of program’s funding source
- how are we connecting with the school population above and beyond McKinney-Vento liaisons
- how is our data stored and maintained and how is it being utilized on an ongoing basis
- how are our by-name lists – youth, veterans, chronically homeless – being integrated and managed so that the information is streamlined and available across populations
- Further outreach with DCF and DYS, Safe and Successful Youth Initiatives (SSYI) in Holyoke and Springfield
- Further outreach with DEES (Sarah Slautterback) re: training school staff on data input
- Further outreach to mental health and substance use providers (e.g., Gandara’s new Cornerstone program)
- Outreach to Westfield State College staff person Jennifer Propp who is working on homeless youth data collection
- Further outreach to LGBTQ programs
- Further review of the non-homeless providers – who is missing
- Engaging with youth at the very start of the process
- Keeping youth at the table all the time (experience with separate “youth advisory councils” have proven less effective at full engagement)
- Ensuring youth are an active and critical part of the decision making process
- Scheduling meetings at a time and place that are conducive to youth involvement
- Treating youth participation as a paying job
- Training both youth and adults in what it means to do business differently so that youth engagement is a top priority