Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 11/14/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 11/14/18
In attendance: Peter Cofoni, DCF, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Gerry McCafferty, Hampden CoC/Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Gandara/Grant Works, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Mena Regan, CHD, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network (apologies if I forgot anyone else or added someone who wasn’t there – I lost the sign-in sheet!)

Statewide Youth Count Check-inWe collected feedback for Lisa as she is talking with statewide youth count coordinators shortly.  The feedback included: preference to do count every other year instead of every year; focus on more qualitative data, i.e., what is driving homelessness, since a pure “count” is difficult to obtain, factor in more “upstream” variables, increase capacity to ascertain patterns


EOHHS grant updates:  Hampden CoC received its grant for $316,000.  The City will issue an RFP to allocate the funds.  Working with CHD, Safety Zone and Gandara will for outreach, rapid rehousing and a shelter component (planning underway).  Funds will also be allocated to conduct a needs assessment.  Community Action – for 3 county region – is waiting on contract.

Data Update: Gerry shared that work continues on the youth “by name list.” Roughly 40 youth on the list but it is challenging because youth are seen briefly, then not seen again for a while, then re-emerge.  The by-name list at least affords a sense of the patterns and makes clear the challenge of being best positioned to serve when the “brief touch” occurs at different intersection points.

Discussion of racial equity reports: See attached Hampden County report here; 3 County all populations report here and 3 county youth report here. We discussed the racial equity reports for Hampden and Three County CoCs.  One shared general finding (see reports for details): young African Americans are over-represented in the homeless population relative to their percentage of the general population in Hampden County; latinx are over-represented in the Three County region. In Hampden County, for young people of color who are not parenting, they are more likely to more quickly get re-housed than white youth.  This may be related to the fact that the people doing the re-housing work are also people of color and are able to better connect. 

It is also relevant to note that 71% of young people in Hampden County are young people. This is especially pertinent to the upcoming family re-procurement process: we need to focus on reaching populations most at risk, including people of color, extremely low-come, LGBTQ, and those without a GED or high school diploma.

This conversation segued into a discussion of young people at greatest risk of homelessness: those leaving foster care or juvenile justice system (nationally, over 1/3 of youth who are homeless were in the foster care system; close to half who are in the juvenile justice system or jail experience homelessness).  And the correlation between these populations and teen pregnancy is extremely high.

We agreed we need to focus our efforts on coordinated entry with DCF and DYS, building a two-way communication system that maximizes the potential for successful intervention. As a start, Peter Cofoni of DCF will reach out to DCF regional supervisor to see if she can attend our next meeting.

Next meeting date: Friday, December 14, 9:15 am – 10:30 am, Kittredge Center, Room 301, HCC 

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 10/17/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
Meeting Minutes – 10/17/18

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Peter Cofoni, DCF, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, Hampden CoC, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Rylee O’Brien, Mena Regan, CHD, Jean Rogers, CHD, Martha Sandoval, Baystate General Pediatrics, Pamela Schwartz,Network, Julie Vital, Baystate General Pediatrics

State youth funding:  Gerry and Lisa shared that they both received notice that youth grants will be announced on a call on Thursday morning (tomorrow) for Hampden and 3 County regions.  Both sub-regions applied for funds as part of the state funding allocated for youth housing and homelessness services provided in the FY19 project (grant applications in the $300,000 range).  The state envisions this funding to be renewed and hopefully increased over a 10 year period.  The money will be utilized for outreach, prevention, rapid rehousing and a winter shelter for youth and will pay for a range of staff, services and appropriate cash assistance for youth.

Building youth input: Gerry, Emily and Rebecca recently met with young leaders of Youth Voice, the leadership group at Gandara’s Impact Center, to introduce themselves and begin a dialogue with them about how best to structure a winter shelter.  It was a very productive conversation that included touching on points around how to support both privacy and safety (no doors but curtains or some kind of separation); ensuring it’s LGBTQ welcoming, making it low barrier (e.g., perhaps “damp” as opposed to a dry or wet shelter – behavior based).

On LGBTQ accessibility and awareness, Gerry hosted a training on working with transgender individuals for Hampden County providers. The trainer was Rev. Louis Mitchell, a transgender man with a history in the field of homelessness and recovery, including involvement in creating the nation’s first emergency shelter.  His bio is here: http://www.transfaithonline.org/engage/leadership/louis/  The training was a follow-up to a HUD webinar on the Equal Access Rule, which requires HUD-funded programs to provide equal access to all regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.  An additional resource on this issue is  the Stonewall Center at UMass,which offers workshops (DIAL/SELF has used them with success).

Coordinated Entry update: MANY (Mid-Atlantic Network for Youth) hosted its 4th call yesterday where the focus was on how to use data.  The calls include leaders on youth homelessness from 5-7 communities.  It’s a great opportunity to exchange best practices and goals.

Discussion of ACO’s and connecting around homelessness.  We had a very lengthy and productive conversation around how Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are structured in relationship to intersecting with patients facing homelessness.  Julie, Martha and Rylee of Baystate General Pediatrics helped us all understand better what hospitals/health care centers are now incentivized to do around asking about housing stability (reimbursement for each finding), how many patients are reporting their housing instability and the current gap in having a clear protocol in response to those reports.  We discussed the tremendous opportunity this poses for our Network as a whole for building into the system capacity to reach and serve these people. This will be a process!  And we spent some time laying the groundwork for the work that lies ahead.

Gerry will provide the cards produced that summarize youth services in Hampden County.  Pamela will add Julie, Martha and Rylee to the family services email list.  Pamela will reach out to Julie to connect with HNE director around the 12/17 training on “thinking like a system” to see if she can attend.  We will also reach out to other ACO’s to see how we can bring them into these conversations as well.

Network trainings:

Pamela reported on upcoming Network sponsored trainings – how to run an awesome shelter – 12/18; progressive engagement and diversion (1/2 day 1/31) and trauma informed care (1/2 day, 1/31).  All offered by OrgCode, a highly reputed consulting firm that works on system change within homelessness systems.  Email registration forms went out this morning.

We didn’t have the time to discuss the racial disparity analysis but will put that on the agenda for next meeting.

Next meeting dates:
Wed., Nov. 14, 9-10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309

 

 

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 9/28/18

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

 

 

 

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes –

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
August 8, 2018
 
In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fielder, HCC, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rylee O’Brien, Baystate General Pediatrics, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Mena Regan, CHD, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, Jean Rogers, CHD, Martha Sandoval, Baystate General Pediatrics, Pamela Schwartz, Network , Julie Vital, Baystate General Pediatrics
State Youth RFR:
The FY19 State Budget includes $3.3 million in funding for youth homelessness services (triumphant!).  The RFR has already been issued to fund 10 regions across the state, including Hampden County and the Three County region. The aim is to build an infrastructure for youth homelessness services that will hopefully grow over the coming years.  The state is providing 2 year contracts (funding allocated for the first year only) and plans to make the contracts renewable for up to 8 years, clearly indicating the evolving nature of this project.
Certain core services must be provided, e.g.,outreach, prevention, rapid re-housing, stabilization, and winter shelter that is separate from the adult system.  Funding for each region will range from $250,000 to $320,000.
4 regions (not including Western MA) will be eligible for additional funding to support partnerships with local state colleges for available housing. There is potential for growth in this area as well.

Responses are due to the state on Sept. 10.  For the Three County region, Community Action will be the lead applicant, working with DIAL/SELF and Berkshire Regional Housing Authority.  For Hampden County, the Hampden County CoC will be the lead applicant.  Because this CoC is based in the City of Springfield, the CoC has issued an RFP for partners interested in participating in this project which is due on 8/29. For more information, go to: 19-025 Homeless Youth Services and 19-025 Addendum No. 1

MANY Call on coordinated entry:  This is part of a series of calls to share best practices and network among youth providers across the country.  This call focused on coordinated entry.  Hampden County has launched its coordinated entry process with youth, meeting monthly to review data on youth – assessment status, etc. – and housing options. The goal is to establish a clear process for determining highest priority and allocating resources on that basis.
The take-away message from this call is to focus on HOUSING; that every day a young person is homeless increases the chances of staying homeless for longer.
Coordinated entry training for youth committee and other providers:  We all recognized the need for a broader coordinated entry training and discussion in our region.  Gerry agreed to offer this to youth providers later in Sept. or early October.
Youth Data Update:  Please click here for Hampden County data on youth and here for both Hampden and Three county data .  This will be utilized in our upcoming grant applications.  We agreed we would meet as needed in late Aug/early Sept. to support the grant writing process.
FY19 Budget Update – Highlights include (in addition to $3.3m for youth!):
  • RAFT funded at $20m (including at least $3m for individuals)
  • HomeBASE benefit increased from $8,000 to $10,000
  • The Network received its earmark of $125,000.  The Steering Committee will be meeting at the end of August to discuss budget planning.
Next meeting date: Wednesday, 9/26, 9 am – 10:30 am, Kittredge Center, Room 303, HCC 

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18
 
In attendance:  Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, Holyoke Community College, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
Homelessness Resource Fair Debrief:
Summary of comments and brainstorm: In the big picture, a success – such an amazing turn-out with great energy. In the smaller picture, it was too many people (a good problem!) to accomplish the most of what we want to accomplish (true resource sharing, a chance to dialogue and get to all the tables, a chance to get trained on sub-topics).
Our brainstorm landed us on the consensus recommendation that we should separate out the actual resource fair and tabling from the trainings.  Have the resource fair be JUST that – 2 hours of visiting tables and having conversation – and then have discrete trainings throughout the year on the range of topics offered at the fair.  This way, people are not being forced to choose among competing topics AND we can afford to give each topic the time it deserves based on the content and complexity (as opposed to based on fitting in the flow of other workshops).  Pamela will take this suggestion to the other committees and report back.
New youth housing units in Northampton:  
DIAL/SELF is managing these units.  For the pre-application form click here and for the brochure click here.

MANY learning collaborative:
MANY is the Mid-Atlantic Network for Youth – a national trade organization for runaway/homeless youth.  It is sponsoring a series of best practices phone/web meetings starting this Wed.  Our Committee members are able to participate (thanks to DIAL/SELF for leveraging their membership!).  The first call is this Wed.  We will stay posted.

Update on State Plan to End Homelessness: The report has been issued; the Commission is now focused on hiring an executive director.
FY19 State Budget update:  The budget is now in Conference Committee.  The Senate budget proposed funding at $3.3 million, the highest by far (House at $1m, Gov. at $2m).  We are calling our legislators and will keep everyone posted.
Evaluation of FY18 and Western MA youth homelessness: The group agreed that it would be useful to review this past year around both outcomes and the factors influencing those outcomes, e.g., the funding loss and the consequence to young adults’ engagement with services.  The groups will also review the basic indicators of:
# housed
# on wait list
length of stay
returns to homelessness
We will exchange reports and discuss at our next meeting.
Gander’s Youth Impact Center at 41 Taylor Street in Springfield:  Fantastic opening; fantastic resource for young people.  Everyone should visit!
 
Next meeting date:
August 8 9 am – 10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Present: Rosemary Fielder, HCC; Peter Cofoni, DCF; Kristine Rodriguez, Gandara Impact Center; Emily English, Gandara; Ann Lentini, Domus; Jean Rogers, CHD; Juan Rivera, DYS; Haley Woods, HCC student; Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, HCC student; Jenny Davila, CHD; Andrea Baker, STCC; Rebecca Guinard, STCC; Rebecca Muller, Grantswork; Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/Self; Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield

Youth Count
The Youth Count ended Sunday, May 13.  Surveys are still being collected and entered. Rosemary noted that the HCC event went very well because it was held in conjunction with a larger event–they collected a large number of surveys. In contrast, the turnout at STCC was low–possibly due to the two events being too close to finals. One idea was to try to coordinate timing with a larger event next year. Lisa reported that the 3-County count went well

The 2017 Youth Count Study has been released. The group noted that the results were not surprising. Both Jean and Lisa pointed to the comments as being very interesting and urged others to look at them.

Resource Fair
Youth agencies confirmed their workshop readiness and the plan to describe the process for young people to connect with services.  We are all going to bring agency handouts, youth help cards, a PYD handout, etc. and offer these resources at the workshop. The agencies will work together to produce a one pager summarizing all contact information. It was suggested to arrange the tables by population type (as was done last year).

Gandara Impact Center
Gandara’s Impact Center, at 41 Taylor St., Springfield, is a drop-in center for youth 16-21. The Center had a soft opening April 16, and is having a Grand Opening this Friday, May 18, 10 am – 2 pm. The center uses a peer model to link youth to resources in the community. The center has a kitchen, washer/dryer, computers, as well as flexible services and education/workshops.

HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) Application
The Springfield-Hampden County CoC submitted our application for this initiative in April. We won’t expect to find out until July or August.

MANY Learning Collaborative
The national organization MANY is offering a Learning Collaborative to CoCs on Coordinated Entry for youth. Both CoCs are interested in participating, possibly together. We are reaching out to MANY.

Wisconsin HopeLab
The results from the Wisconsin HopeLab survey of Massachusetts college students is out. This includes reporting at the state level, as well as for individual schools. Because it is so new, HCC and GCC reports are not yet available, but STCC indicated that they can share their report.

Point Source Conference
Lisa reported on the Point Source conference on youth homelessness, which she recently attended in New York. She said it was very good, lots of good information. Sessions were taped and will be posted online– click here for the link to the resources.

State Budget
Lisa reported on the state budget for youth homelessness. The Governor put this in his budget at $2 million, the Senate put it in at $3.3 million, and the House at $1 million. So, there’s optimism that there will be funding this year. Linn has mentioned wanting to get the RFP out before June so that they can move quickly to make awards, but it’s not out yet.

HCC Students
Haley Woods and Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, students at HCC, talked about the project they are working on to assist HCC students who are homeless. Rodrigo described his lived experience with housing instability, noting that he when he was coach-surfing, he didn’t think of himself as homeless, because he always had somewhere to stay. He is working on creation of tiny homes for community college students. At the same time, Haley is working on creation of a landlord network. Their common vision is that a student could live in a tiny home while they work through credit repair, benefits maximization, housing transition, etc. with the Thrive Center, and move on to an apartment found through the landlord network when they are ready. The students got feedback and ideas from the group about who else they should be talking to.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 4/2/18

In attendance: Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Schools, Rebecca Chavierri, Holyoke Public Schools, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Vicky Maleno, West Springfield Schools, Jose Lopez-Figueroa, STCC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Juan Rivera, DYS – Holyoke District Office, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jennifer Wand, Springfield Public Schools

State Point in Time Count

The Hampden County group planned for the youth count. Updates:

  • Magnet events – Community colleges – approved for count at STCC, plan to have 2 events—one lunchtime, one dinner time, April 25 and May 2, staffed by Gandara; Gerry has submitted IRB request at HCC, if approved will have one event at HCC either April 25 or May 2, staffed by Safety Zone.
  • Gandara will hold events at Dunbar and South End Community Center
  • High schools – Lots of brainstorming – McKinney Vento liaisons will go back to their schools to see what they can do; Safety Zone and Gandara will cover as many schools as they can
  • Shelters and community agencies – Gerry will get surveys and instructions out to emergency shelters and to partner community agencies (Roca, Boys & Girls Club, etc.).  Gerry will also connect with DCF and DYS
  • Incentives – we will provide gift cards again to those who complete surveys. We have some Dunkin Donuts cards from last year, but people recommended that we purchase Pride cards with this year’s funding.
  • Resource Cards – Gerry will send around for final review and edits and then send to the printer. These will be provided to all involved agencies.

The Three County CoC is also doing its outreach across its region with Lisa as the primary liaison.

Homelessness Resource Fair Youth Services Workshop Planning:

Pamela and Lisa reported out on the initial small group planning call.  It was agreed there that the workshop should include the components of, and specific tips for, working with youth/young adults in a housing crisis, youth/young adult resources in the region, and how youth/young adults fit into the coordinated entry process.

Some topics to be considered for inclusion: housing, mentoring, services, helping stabilize the life they have and make it better, Positive Youth Development, Trauma Informed Care, Harm Reduction, and encouraging them not to treat them like kids.

We agreed today that a small group would work on the coordination around content, hand-outs and facilitation.  Pamela will facilitate another small group meeting for this planning that will include Lisa, Sharon, Rebecca, Ann, Jean and Rhonda (DIAL/SELF, Gandara and CHD).

It was discussed whether the hand-out should include information on school liaisons.  Unclear if that is doable (for the entire region) but the small group will discuss more.

HUD Youth Grant Update:

Gerry reported that the work on this grant for a youth demonstration project continues (applied last year, very close but didn’t get it, in a better position to get it this year).  Due on April 12.

Next meeting date: Wed., 5/16, 1:30-3:00 pm – Frost Building, Room 309, HCC (scheduled for after the youth count; note Pamela will be out of town but it was agreed that others can facilitate)