Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes –

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
November 9, 2016

In attendance: Katrina Colon, STCC, Courtnee Godbolt, Friends of the Homeless, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Natalie Hill, Gandara Center, Natalie Kyles, Gandara Center, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., John Lewis, Shannon Grant, STCC, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Heather Murphy, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Kristin Peterson, YWCA, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Sarah Tanner, Friends of the Homeless, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools, Delphine Wray, Friends of the Homeless, Rhonda Young, CHD

Follow-up from last meeting with Shannon/SSYI partners:

  1. Sharing of vulnerability assessment tools: Pamela will launch an email conversation with John Lewis, Kim Majewski, Lisa Goldsmith, Jean Rogers and Rhonda Young and Sarah Tanner to clarify what would be most useful and who is providing.
  2. Youth engagement training: it was clarified that it would be useful to provide more information to both youth and non-youth providers about how to best engage with youth, how to ascertain homelessness, what is needed for documentation for services, etc. Pamela will launch an email conversation with Gandara, DIAL/SELF and CHD about how best to move forward with this item, including determining regional or sub-regional approach to trainings.

Annual Point in Time Count: Gerry raised the annual PIT count that will take place on 1/25/17. HUD is asking CoC’s to make a concerted effort to identify homeless youth. This requires a targeted effort to reach unsheltered youth. One strategy offered in a National Alliance to End Homelessness webinar is to identify youth prior to the count itself. They urge using “youth ambassadors” to reach out to other youth. Gerry will seek funding to engage these youth ambassadors. Gerry will call a sub-committee of Hampden County that includes Gandara, CHD, Shannon/SSYI providers and ROCA.amp H

Rebecca Muller noted that in her focus groups (convened to help inform the HUD grant application) she learned about youth “squatting” in apartments that often entailed neglectful/abusive situations. She also noted that feedback from young people included a sensitivity to being “paid to fill out a survey” and then receiving nothing more of what they actually needed. All affirmed taking concrete steps to prevent that experience

The Three County CoCis also convening a sub-group to plan for the Point in Time Count. Lisa will bring input from this committee to that conversation.

Youth Advisory Committee update:

In the contest of the focus groups Rebecca and others are conducting, youth are being asked to complete a short survey for feedback. This survey includes outreach around participating in a youth advisory committee. At least 3 or 4 people have expressed interest. Rebecca will follow-up and will look to convene the first group in December. For DIAL/SELF, youth participation is integrated across all programs, although specific outreach for this advisory committee may also occur to allow for maximum dialogue. We agreed the goal is to bring an active youth voice and input into this committee’s work.

Lisa noted that the Special Commission has youth leaders who are willing to train other committees such as ours on how best to engage and involve youth in leadership. Lisa will follow-up to explore having these leaders come to our meeting to train us.

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes of 9/14/16

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
September 14, 2016

In attendance: Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Natalie Hill, John Lewis, Springfield Police Department, Gandara Center, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, Hampden CoC/City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Maria Vogel, Gandara, Rhonda Young, CHD,

We welcomed John Lewis of the Springfield Police Dept who is working with the Shannon Grant, a program of the Executive Office of Public Safety that addresses community’s gang and youth violence. 

Three County CoC Program Update (Lisa Goldsmith reported):

  • 4 youth have subsidies, 3 housed
  • 14 youth are in process for subsidies
  • in hiring process for Franklin and Hampshire Counties for additional outreach/case management staff; will be subcontracting with Berkshire County Regional Housing for the Berkshire component
  • Observations include seeing more youth involved in DCF and DMH, 18 year olds who have been in foster case; seeing more young parents
  • In need of emergency sheltering options, having a hard time finding host homes

Hampden County CoC Program Update(Kim Majewski reported):

  • Introduced us to Natalie Hill, the new host home manager and case manager
  • Have utilized 3 host homes, one young person returned home, one entered SHINE transitional housing program, another returned to homelessness (complicated story, will continue to reach out)
  • 17 of 18 rapid rehousing beds are currently occupied
  • Observations: encountering more young people who are literally homeless (e.g., living behind a grocery store, in car, abandoned home). Causes include conflict with parents, family financial instability, longstanding family challenges, mental health issues
  • Continuing to meet at Friends of the Homeless twice/week and doing outreach with Out NOW (GBLT group) and other access points for young people, building great relationships across the community, seeing the climb in demand as a result of the outreach and the available resource
  • Concern expressed about ensuring continued funding to sustain this groundwork. Very hopeful to create more of a connection with high schools and community colleges, only just beginning.

Discussion of October meeting with EOHHS and their Safe and Successful Youth Initiative and Shannon Grant programs in the region:

We reviewed the invitation from Robyn Kennedy (Deputy Assistant Secretary at EOHHS) to bring together our committee with these other EOHHS programs. All are very enthusiastic about this opportunity.

We agreed we would propose an agenda as follows:

  • Network summary – who and what and why we are (Pamela)
  • CoC overview – who and what they are (Gerry)
  • Youth Program overviews (Lisa and Kim)

Gerry generously agreed to put together a framework for a powerpoint presentation. We agreed on maximum 20 minutes on this part of the meeting (assuming 20 minutes max for their program summaries, leaving 50 minutes for discussion and brainstorm on collaboration possibilities)

On meeting space, Pamela will inquire of HCC first and then possibly Holyoke Library if HCC is not available.

Youth NOFA grant opportunity by HUD:

We reviewed the terms of the proposal (click here for summary compiled by Rebecca Muller). We agreed that the Hampden CoC will apply (and we think it will be highly competitive!).
A big challenge is funding the 6 month planning process (and the question is whether HUD expects the hiring of a full-time coordinator for that process and beyond). The possibility was raised of allocating some Network earmark funds to support this process.
Focus groups were also discussed as a great way to incorporate the perspective of young people (and build a youth advisory committee in the process).
Gerry, Rebecca and Kim will keep meeting on this and will use the Committee as needed. Deadline is 11/30.

Youth Committee Work Plan review (click here)

We only had a very brief time to review this. We agreed on the following:

  • Everyone would review independently on their own time and email comments within the next 2 weeks
  • Kim will flesh out the “notes” sections where relevant to include more detail on outreach efforts
  • Rebecca and Kim will work together to broaden the scope of the workplan to go beyond the EOHHS youth grant and current partners
  • Gerry will adapt plan to reflect regional focus (as opposed to Hampden CoC only)
  • We will allocate substantial time on the November agenda to reviewing our work plan and taking stock of next steps

Next meeting:

Wed., October 12, 9:30 -11:00 am, Location TBD [NOTE: This meeting date will be rescheduled – conflict determined since our last meeting – stay tuned for calendar update]

Wed., November 9, 9:30-11:00 am, Gandara Center, Holyoke

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/8/16

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
June 8, 2016

 In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Allie Haber, Network, Natalie Kyles, Gandara Center, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Evelyn Rivera, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Jean Rogers, CHD, Maria Vogel, Gandara Center

FY2017 state budget update:
Conference Committee meeting this week to resolve Senate and House budgets. Now is the time to contact legislators to urge their adoption of Senate version of youth funding ($2 million as opposed to House $1 million). See Pamela’s previous email alert or blog post for more information.

EOHHS Youth Services Grant Update:
Three County Region (Community Action):
Lisa reported that there were significant delays with EOHHS on finalizing contract. DIAL/SELF was likely to sign a sub-contract with Community Action today. It’s unclear how start-up will be impacted by next fiscal year’s budget uncertainties. The Consortium funding is underway but questions have arisen around eligibility and sustainability, which are being sorted out now.

Hampden County CoC:
Gerry reported that programs are underway. For the Consortium, HAP and Catholic Charities are providing rapid rehousing and prevention resources. These resources are complementing an already established infrastructure within each program which has made start-up very smooth. Catholic Charities will also be receiving $350,000 from the CoC for rapid rehousing which will augment the efforts happening now (or replace them depending on continued funding).

Gandara Center Youth Program Update:
3 young adults will have been placed in apartments by the end of this week with rapid rehousing funds. Program staff (currently 2.5) are busy conducting outreach to both youth (schools, colleges, other programs) and landlords. Relationship building is underway with Friends of the Homeless to put a smooth intake/assessment and referral process in place for young adults.

Conducting TAY-VI-SPDAT to assess vulnerability. It was agreed that it is important to track the number of youth scoring high in vulnerability (8 and above) in order to assess whether our current program capacity matches the level of need. In terms of the challenge of assessment, many teens do not know they suffer from a mental health or substance use issue, a real reflection and function of their youth. Frequently the “need for help” only emerges after engagement and then it’s a question of whether the young person is in a place to receive it.

Gandara is creating a list of all youth assessed, their vulnerability scores and prioritization. They are working with Friends of the Homeless to track youth there as well. They are also tracking the precise use of the flex funds (e..g, purchase of steel toe boots in order to take a job that required them) – an extremely valuable resource.

Gerry and Kim will follow-up together about ensuring data input is aligned with HMIS. We agreed it would be useful to have a standing report to bring to the youth committee meetings.

The Host Home component is still in process – have not yet found hosts but in process.

More on evaluation of performance measures:
Pamela shared a draft template (click here) that Simtech (consulting firm Hampden County CoC is using) for quarterly committee review of performance measures. Gerry provided context regarding HUD’s movement from singular provider performance review to whole system review: how is the system doing in ending homelessness. Towards that end, HUD is asking each CoC to report on specific performance measures. Chief among them are returns to homelessness and length of homelessness (in addition to # of people homeless at a given time; increase in overall income and earned income, e.g.,) Pamela also expressed interest in town of origin (prior to homelessness) and demographics such as age, race, etc.

The Network is supporting the CoCs in adopting performance measures tools and methods for review. The goal is for each Network committee to integrate this evaluation tool into their regular meetings. We will continue this conversation at our next meeting, after Gerry and Kim have a chance to meet.

Youth Count review:
What we would do differently: consider timing so that the count does not happen immediately after the seasonal shelters are closed or right at college finals time when students have either dispersed or are likely to be less responsive to outreach due to the focus on exams. Also consider how to engage more deeply with schools (per the various confidentiality constraints).

Next meeting:
Due to summer vacation schedules, we agreed to meet at an odd time:
Friday, July 8
9:30 – 11 am
Center for Human Development
51 Capital Drive, West Springfield