Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 1/15/15

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
January 15, 2015

In attendance: Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Public Schools, Dave Christopolis, Hilltown CDC, Pamela Cook, Karen Cree, graduate student, WSPS, Gandara Center (SHINE program), Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Jean Rogers, CHD, Teri Rutherford, Hilltown CDC, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Legislative update:

Congratulations to all for the passage of the unaccompanied homeless youth bill! Now our work will begin on the funding legislation, and Pamela is in touch with Mass. Coalition for the Homeless around that advocacy, so please stay tuned. The Network’s Leadership Council is meeting next week and will presumably approve our continuing advocacy on this issue.

The new youth bill also included permanent authorization for the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (again, funding still needed), but this is a good development in terms of acknowledging the policy importance of this issue.

Review of Three County CoC Youth Count 2014 Analysis

Please click here to review. In sum: 59 youth surveyed. 39% staying Hampshire, 31% from Franklin, 31% from Berkshire.   42 unaccompanied adults, 12 parents with children, 3 under the age of 18. 70% non-Hispanic white; 20% identified as LGBTQ. 10 veterans.

Youth Survey/Point in Time Count Preparations

Online survey link now available: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/massyouth

Hampden County update:

Extensive outreach under way. Event at STCC on 2/2, 11:30-1:30, Building 13, Room 128, will provide pizza and drinks and service providers will be on hand as well to provide referrals, etc.

Also possible additional event at HCC, tentative date of 1/28, 11:30-1:30.

ROCA and Out Now are also holding events for their group members and participants. Will enlist “youth ambassadors” from these organizations to assist at events.

LGBT program 1/29, 4-6 pm, at Holyoke Public Library will also be a good outreach opportunity.

Using $10 Dunkin’ Donut gift cards as incentive for completing survey.

ROCA will be holding an event; Out Now will also be holding an event; transformation project – organization that works with first generations – 5 homeless youth – will provide survey and gift cards to them

Three County CoC: Franklin County: Lisa Goldsmith has reached out to everybody on the list from last year. Community Action and Dial/SELF will be biggest sources; also reached out to Recover Project and Center for New Americans.

Surveys will also be provided to homeless families in Greenfield (under age of 24). Right now the there is a total of 75 families in the hotels there.

Berkshire County – Dave is working with BCAC, the Reconnect Center, Family Life Support Center and the North Berkshire Community Coalition in North County and in South County, Construct, Railroad Street Youth Project.

Hampshire County: Eliot Services will (Brendon Eliot) will reach out to unsheltered youth. Rebecca Muller is reaching out to ServiceNet.

Jay Levy will be supervising street youth count across all counties through Eliot CHS-Homeless Services.

All agreed also useful to reach out to adult learning centers.

We discussed the challenge of sufficient resources to coordinate this survey/count, particularly for the Three County CoC where staff does not exist to assign to this project.   Use of volunteers (e.g., AmeriCorps) is helpful but there is the learning curve and relationship building that require time to maximize effectiveness. Resources for smaller organizations – e.g, those in more rural areas – is a constant challenge. Provide card with resources

Next meeting: Wed., Feb. 11, 10 am – 11:15 am, BHN, 417 Liberty Street, Springfield (immediately following Springfield school liaison meeting)

Announcement: Youth Legislative Forum, 2/13, 3:30-5:00, Palo Friere Charter School, Holyoke, 160 Lower Westfield Road, Holyoke. Opportunity for youth to get involved in legislative process. Spread word!

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Minutes – 12/10/14

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
December 10, 2012

In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Pamela Cook, Gandara SHINE program, Pam Fijial, Chicopee Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Sarah Kline, North Adams School Public Schools, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public School Liaison, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network

Youth Count Discussion:

Reminder on school policy: we can connect with schools – with superintendent approval – and use them as a conduit to outside events for homeless youth, i.e., distribution of flyers and information.

Confirmed that the count applies to all unaccompanied homeless youth, ages 18-24. “Homeless” is defined to include doubling-up and couch-surfing (distinct from HUD rules on Point In Time Count). The count/surveys will take place from Wed., 1/28 through the following Tuesday, 2/3.

Hampden County update:

Lizzy Ortiz is organizing 2 magnet events, STCC and HCC. They will offer food and gift cards and have outreach workers present to provide follow-up support available (e.g., via CHD, SHINE) for any interested youth. Lizzy is scheduling a meeting before the holidays with service providers to train and organize around outreach.

We discussed outreach to Chicopee youth, acknowledging the transportation barriers to get to Holyoke or Springfield magnet events. But limited resources preclude Lizzy from organizing a 3rd event. Possible solutions: promote use of the online survey (Liz Rogers of DHCD is working on creating this capacity) and advertise the Chicopee Public Library as a location to complete the survey. We also brainstormed a Chicopee contact that could be placed on the event flyers, e.g,. “if you can’t make it to Holyoke or Springfield, contact xxx.” Lizzy will reach out to the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club to see if they would be willing to provide that local resource.

Lizzy will send their provider outreach letter to Three County folks for use as possible template. Click here for Hampden County letter.

Pamela shared Gerry’s compilation of last year’s data on Hampden County’s unaccompanied youth.  Click here to review. Pamela will distribute it electronically as well. Interesting findings: 234 youth surveyed; 193 youth homeless, 29 doubled up; 53 youth at risk of becoming homeless; 95% between ages of 18-24 (5% under 18).

Three County Update:

Dave Christopolis was unable to attend this meeting but relayed via email that he is meeting with three county point people – Rebecca, Terri, Lisa – over the next few days to organize outreach. Lisa reported that she assumes an outreach letter to providers will be going out shortly.

Jay Levy requested that the surveys and gift cards get distributed to outreach workers at least a week prior to the count so that where more individual outreach occurs – in Hampshire County, e.g. – outreach workers are prepared to go when it’s time.

Legislative priorities discussion:

We agreed we would continue to prioritize the passage of the unaccompanied homeless youth bill (formerly known as House Bill 135) and , assuming that passes by the end of Governor Patrick’s term (the hope), we will then follow the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless’ lead on the advocacy for the funding necessary to enact the bill.

We also agreed we would connect with MHSA around its youth piece of Home and Healthy for Good.

We raised the recently launched Social Impact Bond initiative launched by MA (“pay for success” model) and discussed whether there are tie-ins for chronically homeless youth.   Pamela will follow up with MHSA and MHA (Jerry Ray) to learn more.

Next meeting dates:

Thursday, 1/15, 10 am, Northampton Senior Center

Wednesday, 2/11, 10 am, Springfield, BHN (following Springfield liaison meeting)

Help us prepare for the 2015 Youth Count

We need your input as we prepare for the 2015 Homeless/At-Risk Youth Count, which will take place the last week of January 2015. We know that homeless youth often try NOT to be found, which makes it difficult to get an accurate count and understanding of this population’s needs.

Help us out by completing our survey, and sharing the survey broadly, so that we hear from many people who connect with youth. Click below to take the short survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Z7MR3ZX

Seeking your input: Massachusetts Youth Count 2015

Massachusetts is conducting its second annual count of youth who are homeless or unstably housed.  The CoCs are coordinating the count, which will take place January 28–February 3, 2015.

It takes lots of contacts to reach youth throughout our region, especially since many youth do not access homeless service providers. To get to as many youth as possible, we need lots of partners.

Can you help us?

As a first step, please tell us what you know and what you might be willing to do. Start by filling out this survey, and then forward the survey to everyone you know who works with youth.

Also, if you are in Hampden County, connect with us for regular updates.  Visit our website HampdenYouthCount.wordpress.com and follow us on Twitter @HampdenYouth.