Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 4/2/18
In attendance: Ellen Broadhurst, West Springfield Schools, Rebecca Chavierri, Holyoke Public Schools, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Vicky Maleno, West Springfield Schools, Jose Lopez-Figueroa, STCC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Juan Rivera, DYS – Holyoke District Office, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jennifer Wand, Springfield Public Schools
State Point in Time Count
The Hampden County group planned for the youth count. Updates:
The Three County CoC is also doing its outreach across its region with Lisa as the primary liaison.
Homelessness Resource Fair Youth Services Workshop Planning:
Pamela and Lisa reported out on the initial small group planning call. It was agreed there that the workshop should include the components of, and specific tips for, working with youth/young adults in a housing crisis, youth/young adult resources in the region, and how youth/young adults fit into the coordinated entry process.
Some topics to be considered for inclusion: housing, mentoring, services, helping stabilize the life they have and make it better, Positive Youth Development, Trauma Informed Care, Harm Reduction, and encouraging them not to treat them like kids.
We agreed today that a small group would work on the coordination around content, hand-outs and facilitation. Pamela will facilitate another small group meeting for this planning that will include Lisa, Sharon, Rebecca, Ann, Jean and Rhonda (DIAL/SELF, Gandara and CHD).
It was discussed whether the hand-out should include information on school liaisons. Unclear if that is doable (for the entire region) but the small group will discuss more.
HUD Youth Grant Update:
Gerry reported that the work on this grant for a youth demonstration project continues (applied last year, very close but didn’t get it, in a better position to get it this year). Due on April 12.
Next meeting date: Wed., 5/16, 1:30-3:00 pm – Frost Building, Room 309, HCC (scheduled for after the youth count; note Pamela will be out of town but it was agreed that others can facilitate)
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 3/14/18
In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Rebecca Guimond, STCC, Jayson LaBombard-Morse, HCC student, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Gandara, Juan Rivera, DCF, Jean Rogers, DYS, Pamela Schwartz, Network
Hampden County Point in Time Count Findings for Youth:
Gerry reported on the findings for youth – ages 18-24 – from the annual HUD Point in Time count conducted on Jan 31:
A brief discussion of these numbers: the high percentage of latino/a homeless youth was noted – this is significantly higher than the percentage in the community (as opposed to African American percentage which is more consistent). Also striking is the gap between the number of women and men (women so much higher). We will further discuss.
The full PIT count is complete but for the final accounting of those who are living in FEMA sponsored motels as a result of the Puerto Rico natural disaster. The total number in Hampden County is 1,047 or 393 households.
Youth by-name list and case conferencing: Gerry is convening the first youth-only by-name list meeting next Tuesday. Youth providers will be meeting at Friends of the Homeless (since FOH is where the greatest number of unaccompanied homeless youth reside). 29 youth have been in and out of FOH over recent months. They are in the process of being assessed with the youth VI-SPDAT. After the key providers and systems get established, they will invite other agency providers, eg., DMH, DCF, DYS to broaden the web of housing assistance and support. This is an exciting development!
HUD Youth Grant: Gerry reported that the youth grant is due in one month. The engagement of a Youth Advisory Board is an important component. Rebecca reported that the new DMH funded Access Center Grant – an on-site drop-in center on Taylor Street – is a resource for engaging and meeting with youth. Jean also reported that she has young people who would like to get involved. Rebecca, Jean and Emily will continue to discuss this Board development.
Network 2nd Annual Resource fair: Pamela reported on the planning thus far with the planning team. It is taking place on Thursday, June 14, 9:30 am – 12:30 am at HCC. We brainstormed the workshops and the desire to have longer than 30 minutes this year for each topic (Pamela will bring that back to the planning group). The group agreed it would do a youth services workshop. Pamela will reach out to Lisa, Jean, Emily, Ann and Rebecca to schedule a workshop planning all.
State Youth Count: coming up end of April/early May. We agreed we needed to bring in the public school liaisons to help plan for outreach. Pamela will do outreach to get them to our next meeting where we will feature planning for the count.
Network Evaluation Check-In: Pamela updated the group on the Network evaluation findings and the various committee mergers that are happening across Veterans and Individual Committee meetings (merging with CoC meetings). There was general agreement that this youth meeting continues to serve an important function as is; that if anything our focus should be on additional outreach or targeted outreach depending on our agenda items. Pamela will start with the school liaisons.
Next meeting date: Monday, April 2, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, HCC Frost Building Room 309
Youth Special Commission Update: The Report on Youth Homelessness is in draft form. Gerry will provide feedback on a specific matter regarding the coordination gap between DCF and DMH that precludes youth aging out of foster care to become eligible for DMH services. The committee agreed that this kind of feedback – concrete proposals for changes in state agency policy and coordination – would be the place to focus our energies.
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 12/11/17
In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fielder, Thrive HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Rebecca Guimand, STCC, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Charlie Knight, Rainville, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks and Gandara, Juan Rivera, DYS, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jennifer Wands, Springfield Public Schools
This meeting focused on learning more about DCF and DYS and how each agency intersected with unaccompanied homeless youth. Towards that end, we learned from Yeisie Mateo, DCF housing specialist, and Juan Rivera, DYS Holyoke District Office. Below are some highlights of the conversation:
Yeisie Mateo, DCF:
Yeisie is the housing specialist for all of Western MA. She focuses primarily on families with small children and consults with youth ages 18-24. There are very few resources to refer to and she is eager to learn of additional resources.
Young adults can sign on with the department for services (DCF can serve youth ages 18-24 years old). There are roughly 75-90 consultations with young people each month, all in Western MA. Case management generally translates into establishing goals and providing assistance in finding employment or going to school. Many young people who have been part of the foster system want nothing to do with it once they turn 18. A young person can choose to stay in the foster home after reaching 18 if the foster parent will allow it. Young people who find an apartment (very difficult to find and afford) can receive a small stipend.
If a young person leaves home at 16 or 17, they generally are not effectively in the custody of DCF in which case they are not eligible for services.
The group discussed the prospect of promoting greater engagement with DCF through building collaborations with community based partners and greater acesss to housing.
Juan Rivera, DYS:
Juan outlined the various treatment programs and capacities of each. Young people are committed up to age 18 or 21 if involved with juvenile court. The young person is assessed and the judge determines length of stay at various centers, generally 3-5 month stays.
• Springfield Residential Treatment program – secure setting – run by CHD – 16 beds
• Girls secure treatment detention setting – Tinkham Road – CHD – also a revocation unit for young women who are not compliant – 12 beds
• Community adolescent treatment program – Worthington St – step-down, short-term stay 3-5 months – track 2 – more access, technically in the community – 12-14 beds
• Our House – residential treatment in Greenfield – Key Program – track 2 program – more access to community, going to school, etc. 12-14 beds
• Westfield Youth Service Center – for boys – revocation unit, bail unit, stabilization unit, higher offenders, higher risk individuals 27/30 – reassessed
• Tom Gruccialternative options – 14 – Gandara
• Independent Living Program – West Springfield CHD – contract with CHD – 12
DYS operates on positive youth development model with a strong clinical component. 90 days before returning to the community, discussion begins around re-entry, appropriate support services, etc. Services are in place 30 days prior to discharge.
At 18, youth can leave or can sign on to Youth Engagement Services (YES) up to 90 days after discharge. Entirely voluntary. Western MA has the most young people YES (75-100). If they don’t sign on they are given resource packets and referrals.
Bridging Opportunity Gap (BOG) is a partnership with community orgs, e.g, NEFWC, Community Action.
DYS District Manager is Lorrie Bobe (already on committee email list). Juan is here on her behalf and will check back in with her following this meeting.
· Gerry will invite Catholic Charities to next meeting to gain better clarity about how to access their resources
· Yeisie will invite DCF Adolescent Supervisor Peter Meade
· Gerry will follow up with Yeisie (how many homeless youth are seen) and Lorrie (#s committed, in YES, in Track 2) to gain better sense of numbers; in general our goal is to get as clear a picture as possible on the numbers of homeless youth because the more we can quantify the need, the better position we are in to bring resources to the table.
· We want to identify the points of entry in and out of homelessness within the various systems and the points of connection and resources among community agencies to get youth on the path to stable housing and financial self-sufficiency.
Budget advocacy: Gerry will follow-up with EOHHS to gain a better understanding of how FY18 youth program funds are being allocated.
Next meeting: Tuesday Jan. 9, 2:30-4:00 pm, HCC, Donahue Building, 368
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
September 13, 2017
In attendance: Rosemary Fiedler, Thrive HCC, Sohanda Failla, CHD, Lisa Goldsmith (by phone), DIAL/SELF, Natalie Hill, Gandara SHINE, Sarah Hills, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Natalie Kyles, Gandara SHINE, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc. , Cindy Maddison, HCC, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Emily Nolan (by phone), HUD TA, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Marie Thoppe, HCC Transition to College
A framework for our efforts right now:
Gerry McCafferty, as liaison of the Hampden County CoC, provided a backdrop for our planning effort. The initial impetus for this planning was a HUD youth services grant – a first application was submitted last year and while the CoC scored well, it was just shy of getting selected; and now the promise of a second round of HUD funding for which the CoC will apply (the RFP is not out yet).
The goal, however, is larger than the submission of any one application. It is to take an in-depth look at our current youth services homelessness system, determine what is working and what isn’t, what, where and how we need to invest to close the gaps and what it would cost and how best to allocate any funds.
We can learn from other efforts in other cities and states. Gerry provided us a copy of Washington, DC’s 5 year plan to end youth homelessness. It offers an explicit breakdown of the contrast in outcomes from the “same old approach” to “after Year One” (see p. 3).
We need to answer the questions: What do we know? What are we missing? How do we do the necessary outreach to ensure complete information? How do we determine what is needed?
Gerry will map out the various “buckets” of information needed to help us determine next steps. The buckets will include:
The group welcomed two HCC students to the committee. Cindy offered the perspective that one of the biggest challenges for young people is time! The time it takes to access services, transportation, public benefits. The barriers are daunting.
The group agreed that we needed to hear more from youth and Cindy helped us frame a gathering in terms of “what could have made it easier for you” when faced with housing instability, a request for information as opposed to personal experiences (that they may not be inclined to share).
We agreed on the following:
Thursday, October 26
include pizza, gift cards (if available) and child care
Your Housing Needs
Rosemary will see if HCC has space and whether offering child care is permissible.
Pamela will send out draft text and Natalie will do a draft flyer.
Gerry will reach out to MHSA to learn more about their youth led training (for adult providers and youth) and see if they can do a training here.
Gerry will produce an initial document around the “buckets” of work to be done for discussion at our next meeting.
Next meeting date:
Wed., October 11
4:00 – 5:30 pm
HCC – Frost Building Bartlett Room (across from Frost Building 309, Board Room)