Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 9/10/14

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
September 10, 2014

In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Pamela Cook, Gandara Center Shine Program, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools, Diana McClean, City of Westfield, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Slautterback, ESE, Alexis Warth, YWCA of Western Mass, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center Shine program

Report on Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (Lisa Goldsmith):

Youth Count report (based on count conducted last January) – due to be released shortly, now in EOHHS for final edits. Initial indicators show that Western Mass. did a great job in collecting data. The legislature allocated $150,000 in FY15 to conduct its second youth count. The hope is to go farther into data analysis and evaluation and to release both funds and guidance with more time to do outreach and prepare.

The Commission’s “End of Year” report is in process now. It will highlight the gaps in services and make recommendations. The Commission is doing some exciting work with Simmons College, using their forecasting model to ascertain the cost of youth services across the state.

Advocacy Update:

We discussed the ongoing advocacy for House Bill 135 (to provide additional services for unaccompanied homeless youth). Pamela shared the latest email from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless regarding their advocacy action (photo sharing) and all agreed to participate if possible and to contact their representatives in support of the bill. Youth programs will explore the possibility of enlisting youth participants in the advocacy as a learning tool as well.

Pamela will forward the Coalition email and info on how to contact your legislator.

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 5/28

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Minutes
May 28, 2014

In attendance:  Danielle DeBerry, ServiceNet, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Karen Tracana, DYS

Advocacy Update:

Senate budget did not include provisions for unaccompanied homeless youth.  But now onto Conference Committee where we can advocate for House provisions to be included (funding for Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth; to fund programs for unaccompanied youth pursuant to House Bill 135, and for LGBTQ pilot project).  Both Senator Rosenberg and Vice-Chair Kulik are supportive of these programs.  We should contact them and our own legislators to urge support for these provisions in Conference Committee.

Program Updates:

Gandara Center (Shine, Kim Majewski):  one female resident just graduated from STCC – first resident to graduate from college – moving out of homelessness (to NJ for a job).  Good progress.

YWCA – Youth Build (Rani Gould): a GED (now HISET)/vocational program for 27 youth, ages 17-24 years old.  Housing not provided but case management provides overall support.  Program full now but new start every fall.  Rani will send materials to Pamela who will forward to the group.

Springfield Office of Housing (Lizzy Ortiz):  waiting list at Springfield Housing Authority for chronically homeless housing is very low.  If youth qualify as chronically homeless, they should get on this list!  Spread the word on this. Continue reading

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Minutes – 4/12/14; next meeting 4/16

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting
March  12, 2014

In attendance:  Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA of Western Mass., Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Diana McLean, Westfield CDGB, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator

Discussion of survey data:

Each CoC spoke with Liz Rogers of ICHH.  Shared feedback on experience (challenges of timing, surveying youth in winter, limits on involvement of the schools, lengthening time to give it).  Waiting for excel aggregations from Boston to do more with data in the region.

Hampden County:  Jean Rogers collated surveys (thank you, Jean!).  See attached.  A total of 195 surveys accounted for.  161 surveys not counted (failure to “qualify” based on answers, e.g., stayed in parent’s apartment last night).  Lizzy will forward excel sheet.

Three County:  Agreed that Pamela will connect Rebecca Muller with Diana re: survey compilation for Three County.  Diana is prepared to enlist an intern to assist.

Additional debrief on youth survey/count:

Sarah Kline of North Adams shared her concern around the under-representation of N. Berkshire County in survey.  Very last minute outreach, very few organizations involved.

All recognized that this is a function of insufficient resources allocated to the prep and outreach.  This is something that has to be addressed next time.

Jay Levy of Eliot:  a lot of the material was dropped off last minute.  Need at least a week’s lead-time to distribute materials.  Again, speaks to the same staff resource issue.

We discussed the issues preventing school involvement, e.g., confidentiality, liability concerns.  Agreed we should find a way to address these concerns without eliminating outreach to the entire school population (e.g., use a different identifier on the survey than initials plus birth date).

There is a Special Commission meeting on 3/27, Lisa will be attending and will raise the school issue.

Program updates:

Safety Zone Street Outreach (Jean Rogers, CHD):   new federal  grant that reaches out to unaccompanied youth to cover Springfield and Holyoke.  Walking streets, connecting with agencies, schools.  Targeting 18-24.  Will connect with Jay Levy’s street outreach person in Holyoke

Network legislative priorities:  Pamela updated that the Leadership Council voted on legislative priorities that include youth issues, specifically House Bill 135 and the related FY15 budget request for the Commission.   Click here to review.

Next meeting:

Wed., 4/16
10 am – 11:30 am
Parent and Community Engagement Center, Conference Room
91 School Street, Springfield


Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 1/8/14

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
January 8, 2014

 In attendance:  Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Schools, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Viviana DeJesus, independent contractor consultant, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Candace Griffith, CHD, Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Edwin Lugo, CHD, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Grantswork, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Keith Rhone, ROCA, Tyler Rousseau, Square One/Springfield College,

Unaccompanied Youth PIT/Survey Outreach and Preparation

Hampden County CoC update

Decided to use ICHH budget as follows:
gift cards for youth completing surveys
sponsor some events to bring youth together
youth ambassadors to help identify and reach out to other youth

They have identified at least 4 youth ambassadors thus far; have commitments from ARISE and Out Now to assist in Springfield.  Need to work on youth assistance outside of Springfield.

Holyoke Department of Community Development suggested Mayor may be involved with this effort – he may host a pizza party.

Still working on reaching out to Chicopee.

Westfield:  discussing use of community room in Meadows Apartments in Westfield for an event.

West Springfield:  Ellen conducted a lot of outreach but no takers for event or organizing.  CHD will help with West Springfield – they obtained a new grant for street outreach and will enlist these resources to get people to reach out to youth.

This Friday she will send a letter to all contacts asking for them to participate, will follow-up with calls, send packet of surveys week before, etc.

Three County CoC update

2 meetings thus far in Northampton, a team of people ready to go.  Still need to set up a parallel effort Amherst. (including outreach to Amherst Police officer assigned to work with at-risk youth).

Sub-group of Berkshire CoC – people poised in all 3 sub-regions for letter and directive.    Need to get out instructions. Still discussion about whether it would be worthwhile to do focus groups.

Franklin County:  in general looking for youth through standing networks and associations (as opposed to organizing events, etc.). Will also do outreach at GCC job fair.

There was group discussion of whether the state would be providing a standardized letter of introduction to groups.  Agreed that we should move forward on the assumption that we are to produce this.  Gerry volunteered to draft the cover letter.  All agreed on this general timeline:

  • Cover letter drafted by the end of this week, out early next week
  • Next 2 weeks: follow-up calls/emails to ensure receipt and commitment to participate
  • Week in advance of count on 1/29, mail packet surveys and instructionsStandardized letter? Will state provide?

We still need to figure out how surveys are returned.  Lisa will follow-up with ICHH to obtain clarification around Scantron for data entry or any other state coordinated plans.
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