Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 12/14/16

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
December 14, 2016

In attendance: Katrina Colon, STCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Rebecca Guimond, STCC, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden County CoC, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Teatreault, Community Action, Jennnifer Wallace-Johnson, STCC, Jen Wands, Springfield Public Schools, Kathy West, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Rhonda Young, CHD 

Youth Program Reports:
Hampden County:  Rapid Rehousing program (EOHHS funds) has leased 15 apartments housing 18 young adults (2 2 BR apts). Referrals have increased since last quarter, now working with close to 50 young people. Host homes are not currently being utilized but there is capacity for 4 young people. Additional state funds are anticipated which will allow for 2 more housing units.

Three County: Berkshire Regional Housing Authority has now hired a full-time staff person to serve homeless youth, starting in January. In most recent month, the program provided subsidies for 9 youth – 4 in Hampshire, 3 in Franklin, 2 in Berkshires – and engaged with 27 other young people.

Data Collection and Analysis Discussion:
The group looked first at the EOHHS quarterly report form (see attached) as a starting point for discussing what would be useful for our region to review and obtain to best assess programmatic impact and impacts. The group determined that while the data requested by EOHHS will continue to be provided to the best of each program’s ability, it does not meet our needs. The group agreed that:

  • Data needs to be reported both by quarter and cumulatively to be able to track a youth’s progress across quarters and ultimately annually
  • Definitions need to be clarified, e.g., outreach (by program to youth on street or once contacted?), youth who are parenting (including those not living with their child or just those with their child), etc.
  • It would be important to collect the outcome numbers of the number of youth who secured stable housing and the number of youth who maintained that housing and the type of assistance provided in each case (not currently asked)
  • We should rely on HUD’s current indicators such as length of homelessness, return to homelessness, increase in income and employment, etc. Gerry noted that all of this information is in HUD’s Annual Performance Report so that we should not need to reinvent this wheel. Gandara’s program is in HMIS, but DIAL/SELF is not yet, which makes this integration with HUD data more challenging at the moment.
  • Lisa will bring back this discussion to the Special Commission’s Demonstration Project Work Group (includes all EOHHS grantees) which should be meeting sometime in January.

The group agreed at its next meeting it would review the APR to further determine its application to this Committee’s data needs. Kim will provide.

Hampden County CoC Youth Homelessness Project Application:
Gerry reported that the Hampden County CoC submitted its application to HUD to be selected as one of 10 sites nationwide for a youth homelessness pilot project. As part of the application, it committed to creating a youth advisory board, which it will create regardless of application outcome. As part of the application process, with Rebecca Muller’s’ help, the CoC convened 6 focus groups with youth, engaging over 30 young people. More than 10 of them are interested in being part of the advisory committee and will be trained by youth leaders from the Special Commission. Special thanks to Rebecca Muller for her voluntary assistance with this effort.

State Commission update:
Lisa reported on the Demonstration project work group, which will be convening in January. And reported that the LGBTQ Commission is also working with its population around youth homelessness and is seeking provider input about how best to inform its policy work. Please contact Lisa to provide your feedback.

Point in Time Count: It is Wed., January 25. HUD has requested special emphasis on identifying homeless youth, so additional efforts will be made this January (alongside the annual state led count in May). Gerry raised the question of whether it is possible to do outreach in January through community colleges and whether it’s possible to retain youth ambassadors with a stipend. STCC volunteered to do an event. Gerry will schedule a meeting with all youth partners; please contact her if you can participate. Gandara will reach out to the youth it is currently serving to help them reach others for the count. Three County will continue to work outreach on their service-provider model as well as reach out to police and selectboards. We discussed using the Network to reach out to GCC to better understand how we can gain their participation. Pamela will follow-up with Lisa on this.

STCC update: The group welcomed STCC to the committee. Their office, Center for Access Services, is explicitly available as a resource center to connect students to community resources and meet non-academic barriers. Their mission includes serving students experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We look forward to growing this partnership!

January meeting. Wed., 1/18, 9:30-11, Gandara Center, subject to confirmation.

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