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.
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.