Category Archives: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

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Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes –

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
August 8, 2018
 
In attendance: Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fielder, HCC, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara Center, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rylee O’Brien, Baystate General Pediatrics, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Mena Regan, CHD, Denise Rivera, FOH/CSO, Jean Rogers, CHD, Martha Sandoval, Baystate General Pediatrics, Pamela Schwartz, Network , Julie Vital, Baystate General Pediatrics
State Youth RFR:
The FY19 State Budget includes $3.3 million in funding for youth homelessness services (triumphant!).  The RFR has already been issued to fund 10 regions across the state, including Hampden County and the Three County region. The aim is to build an infrastructure for youth homelessness services that will hopefully grow over the coming years.  The state is providing 2 year contracts (funding allocated for the first year only) and plans to make the contracts renewable for up to 8 years, clearly indicating the evolving nature of this project.
Certain core services must be provided, e.g.,outreach, prevention, rapid re-housing, stabilization, and winter shelter that is separate from the adult system.  Funding for each region will range from $250,000 to $320,000.
4 regions (not including Western MA) will be eligible for additional funding to support partnerships with local state colleges for available housing. There is potential for growth in this area as well.

Responses are due to the state on Sept. 10.  For the Three County region, Community Action will be the lead applicant, working with DIAL/SELF and Berkshire Regional Housing Authority.  For Hampden County, the Hampden County CoC will be the lead applicant.  Because this CoC is based in the City of Springfield, the CoC has issued an RFP for partners interested in participating in this project which is due on 8/29. For more information, go to: 19-025 Homeless Youth Services and 19-025 Addendum No. 1

MANY Call on coordinated entry:  This is part of a series of calls to share best practices and network among youth providers across the country.  This call focused on coordinated entry.  Hampden County has launched its coordinated entry process with youth, meeting monthly to review data on youth – assessment status, etc. – and housing options. The goal is to establish a clear process for determining highest priority and allocating resources on that basis.
The take-away message from this call is to focus on HOUSING; that every day a young person is homeless increases the chances of staying homeless for longer.
Coordinated entry training for youth committee and other providers:  We all recognized the need for a broader coordinated entry training and discussion in our region.  Gerry agreed to offer this to youth providers later in Sept. or early October.
Youth Data Update:  Please click here for Hampden County data on youth and here for both Hampden and Three county data .  This will be utilized in our upcoming grant applications.  We agreed we would meet as needed in late Aug/early Sept. to support the grant writing process.
FY19 Budget Update – Highlights include (in addition to $3.3m for youth!):
  • RAFT funded at $20m (including at least $3m for individuals)
  • HomeBASE benefit increased from $8,000 to $10,000
  • The Network received its earmark of $125,000.  The Steering Committee will be meeting at the end of August to discuss budget planning.
Next meeting date: Wednesday, 9/26, 9 am – 10:30 am, Kittredge Center, Room 303, HCC 

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 6/15/18
 
In attendance:  Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, Holyoke Community College, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc., Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
Homelessness Resource Fair Debrief:
Summary of comments and brainstorm: In the big picture, a success – such an amazing turn-out with great energy. In the smaller picture, it was too many people (a good problem!) to accomplish the most of what we want to accomplish (true resource sharing, a chance to dialogue and get to all the tables, a chance to get trained on sub-topics).
Our brainstorm landed us on the consensus recommendation that we should separate out the actual resource fair and tabling from the trainings.  Have the resource fair be JUST that – 2 hours of visiting tables and having conversation – and then have discrete trainings throughout the year on the range of topics offered at the fair.  This way, people are not being forced to choose among competing topics AND we can afford to give each topic the time it deserves based on the content and complexity (as opposed to based on fitting in the flow of other workshops).  Pamela will take this suggestion to the other committees and report back.
New youth housing units in Northampton:  
DIAL/SELF is managing these units.  For the pre-application form click here and for the brochure click here.

MANY learning collaborative:
MANY is the Mid-Atlantic Network for Youth – a national trade organization for runaway/homeless youth.  It is sponsoring a series of best practices phone/web meetings starting this Wed.  Our Committee members are able to participate (thanks to DIAL/SELF for leveraging their membership!).  The first call is this Wed.  We will stay posted.

Update on State Plan to End Homelessness: The report has been issued; the Commission is now focused on hiring an executive director.
FY19 State Budget update:  The budget is now in Conference Committee.  The Senate budget proposed funding at $3.3 million, the highest by far (House at $1m, Gov. at $2m).  We are calling our legislators and will keep everyone posted.
Evaluation of FY18 and Western MA youth homelessness: The group agreed that it would be useful to review this past year around both outcomes and the factors influencing those outcomes, e.g., the funding loss and the consequence to young adults’ engagement with services.  The groups will also review the basic indicators of:
# housed
# on wait list
length of stay
returns to homelessness
We will exchange reports and discuss at our next meeting.
Gander’s Youth Impact Center at 41 Taylor Street in Springfield:  Fantastic opening; fantastic resource for young people.  Everyone should visit!
 
Next meeting date:
August 8 9 am – 10:30 am, Frost Building, Room 309, HCC

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Present: Rosemary Fielder, HCC; Peter Cofoni, DCF; Kristine Rodriguez, Gandara Impact Center; Emily English, Gandara; Ann Lentini, Domus; Jean Rogers, CHD; Juan Rivera, DYS; Haley Woods, HCC student; Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, HCC student; Jenny Davila, CHD; Andrea Baker, STCC; Rebecca Guinard, STCC; Rebecca Muller, Grantswork; Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/Self; Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield

Youth Count
The Youth Count ended Sunday, May 13.  Surveys are still being collected and entered. Rosemary noted that the HCC event went very well because it was held in conjunction with a larger event–they collected a large number of surveys. In contrast, the turnout at STCC was low–possibly due to the two events being too close to finals. One idea was to try to coordinate timing with a larger event next year. Lisa reported that the 3-County count went well

The 2017 Youth Count Study has been released. The group noted that the results were not surprising. Both Jean and Lisa pointed to the comments as being very interesting and urged others to look at them.

Resource Fair
Youth agencies confirmed their workshop readiness and the plan to describe the process for young people to connect with services.  We are all going to bring agency handouts, youth help cards, a PYD handout, etc. and offer these resources at the workshop. The agencies will work together to produce a one pager summarizing all contact information. It was suggested to arrange the tables by population type (as was done last year).

Gandara Impact Center
Gandara’s Impact Center, at 41 Taylor St., Springfield, is a drop-in center for youth 16-21. The Center had a soft opening April 16, and is having a Grand Opening this Friday, May 18, 10 am – 2 pm. The center uses a peer model to link youth to resources in the community. The center has a kitchen, washer/dryer, computers, as well as flexible services and education/workshops.

HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) Application
The Springfield-Hampden County CoC submitted our application for this initiative in April. We won’t expect to find out until July or August.

MANY Learning Collaborative
The national organization MANY is offering a Learning Collaborative to CoCs on Coordinated Entry for youth. Both CoCs are interested in participating, possibly together. We are reaching out to MANY.

Wisconsin HopeLab
The results from the Wisconsin HopeLab survey of Massachusetts college students is out. This includes reporting at the state level, as well as for individual schools. Because it is so new, HCC and GCC reports are not yet available, but STCC indicated that they can share their report.

Point Source Conference
Lisa reported on the Point Source conference on youth homelessness, which she recently attended in New York. She said it was very good, lots of good information. Sessions were taped and will be posted online– click here for the link to the resources.

State Budget
Lisa reported on the state budget for youth homelessness. The Governor put this in his budget at $2 million, the Senate put it in at $3.3 million, and the House at $1 million. So, there’s optimism that there will be funding this year. Linn has mentioned wanting to get the RFP out before June so that they can move quickly to make awards, but it’s not out yet.

HCC Students
Haley Woods and Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, students at HCC, talked about the project they are working on to assist HCC students who are homeless. Rodrigo described his lived experience with housing instability, noting that he when he was coach-surfing, he didn’t think of himself as homeless, because he always had somewhere to stay. He is working on creation of tiny homes for community college students. At the same time, Haley is working on creation of a landlord network. Their common vision is that a student could live in a tiny home while they work through credit repair, benefits maximization, housing transition, etc. with the Thrive Center, and move on to an apartment found through the landlord network when they are ready. The students got feedback and ideas from the group about who else they should be talking to.

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:

  • Magnet events – Community colleges – approved for count at STCC, plan to have 2 events—one lunchtime, one dinner time, April 25 and May 2, staffed by Gandara; Gerry has submitted IRB request at HCC, if approved will have one event at HCC either April 25 or May 2, staffed by Safety Zone.
  • Gandara will hold events at Dunbar and South End Community Center
  • High schools – Lots of brainstorming – McKinney Vento liaisons will go back to their schools to see what they can do; Safety Zone and Gandara will cover as many schools as they can
  • Shelters and community agencies – Gerry will get surveys and instructions out to emergency shelters and to partner community agencies (Roca, Boys & Girls Club, etc.).  Gerry will also connect with DCF and DYS
  • Incentives – we will provide gift cards again to those who complete surveys. We have some Dunkin Donuts cards from last year, but people recommended that we purchase Pride cards with this year’s funding.
  • Resource Cards – Gerry will send around for final review and edits and then send to the printer. These will be provided to all involved agencies.

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

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:

  • Total homeless youth 118, 90% were parenting youth in the family shelter system, 28 were neither parenting or with parents – 26 in shelter, 2 unsheltered (a couple living in an abandoned building)
  • Of the 118, 81% are female, 70% latina, 17% black, 3% non-hispanic white
  • Of the 26 non parenting youth: 61% female, 71% latina, 11% black, 11% non-hispanic white
  • Since 2015, the youth count numbers have steadily decreased, both among parenting youth and unaccompanied youth.  Parenting youth since 2015 have decreased each year from 243 to 111 to 106 to 90.  Unaccompanied youth have decreased since 2015 from 45 to 44 to 35 to 28.  However, it was noted that outreach during the count this year was less extensive than the previous year so the decline in numbers may only be a reflection of that lessened outreach.

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 Referral Info; Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Minutes – 2/14/18

Next meeting date and important referral information:
Wednesday, March 14
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Frost Building, Barrett Room, Room 301A
Holyoke Community College
 
(Note: Our usual space in Donahue was not available; follow signs for the Frost Building and because it’s spring break parking in the visitor parking right outside of Frost should not be a problem. The Barrett Room is on the first floor as you enter the building.)
Important updates on referral information for youth housing/services:
Domus Inc Westfield youth housing – 10 units in a single site for unaccompanied youth up to age 25.  They must have independent living skills and be engaged in a job or schooling. Contact Connie at 413-568-4494 with referrals.
 
CHD Safety Zone – New funding for 5 transitional housing scattered site units for unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 22.  Must have independent living skills and in process of obtaining employment or education. Can have children; can self-refer. Contact Jean Rogers at 413-781-6556 or jrogers@chd.org with referrals.
Gandara Center SHINE program – New funding for additional rapid re-housing support (up to 12 months).  2-3 additional scattered site units will be available. Can self-refer. Call Mark Watkins at SHINE at 413-654-1554
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Meeting Minutes – 2/14/18
In attendance:  Peter Cofoni, DCF, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Ann Lentini, Domus, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Juan Rivera, DYS, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network

HUD Demonstration Project: HUD is requesting proposals for the next phase of its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project.  Only CoCs can apply. Hampden County is applying, Three Count is not. Hampden County applied in the previous funding cycle last year and scored just shy of the funding level.  We are in a good position to apply again and will address some of the identified gaps. If selected, HUD will provide TA to create a youth plan over a 4 month period which will then propose funding specific projects. Selected communities will be funded a minimum of $1 million over a 2 year period (with the potential for continued funding through renewal funds).  11 grants will be awarded across the country; 5 must be from rural areas.  Competition will be fierce.  Due date is April 17.
In support of the proposal (and consistent with planning regardless of funding), Gerry plans to facilitate a needs assessment over the next 2 months which will produce an analysis of available units in relation to youth housing needs, e.g., analysis of disabilities, ability to live independently in general, number of unaccompanied youth and pregnant and parenting youth.
In the last PIT count, tentative findings show there were 26 unaccompanied youth, 2 living unsheltered (in an abandoned building) and 81 young parents with 101 children.
Gerry will also be working with Rebeca Muller on the formation of a Youth Advisory Board.
Rosemary noted that she will be able to provide data on students at HCC facing homelessness.
Housing updates:
Domus Inc Westfield housing – 10 units in a single site for unaccompanied youth up to age 25.  They must have independent living skills and be engaged in a job or schooling. Contact Connie at 413-568-4494 with referrals.
 
CHD Safety Zone – New funding for 5 transitional housing scattered site units for unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 22.  Must have independent living skills and in process of obtaining employment or education. Can have children; can self-refer. Contact Jean Rogers at 413-781-6556 or jrogers@chd.org with referrals.
Gandara Center SHINE program – New funding for additional rapid re-housing support (up to 12 months).  2-3 additional scattered site units will be available. Can self-refer. Call Mark Watkins at SHINE at 413-654-1554.
Coordinated entry: Gerry reported that Hampden County’s expanded online data system is now collecting data from agencies beyond CoC funded (e.g., sheriff’s department, hospitals).  Gerry is also reaching out to agencies that serve youth to enter assessment information so young people’s housing needs can also be prioritized in relation to housing vacancies.
Discussion of DCF/DMH silo challenge: there are 2 young people who are homeless and struggling with developmental issues but cannot get DMH eligibility because DCF cannot release information on them (not currently in their custody but have previous records that are relevant to determining their eligibility). Gerry is working with the DCF regional director to try to resolve this.
Gerry is interested in obtaining any other information around system gaps so they can be addressed in this upcoming application.
Ann noted that in general there is a gap in mental health services resulting from agencies merging and cutting back services.  Clients are losing their mental health services with nothing to replace them.  We need to address this.
Next meeting date: Wed., March 14, 1:30-3:00 pm, Rosemary will check on space.

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Minutes – 1/9/16

Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
January 9, 2018

 

In attendance:  Peter Cofoni, DCF-Springfield; Rosemary Fiedler, Thrive HCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Sharon Hall-Smith, Gandara,  Charlie Knight, Rainville, Yeisie Mateo, DCF, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/CoC, Rebecca Muller, Gandara Center, Juan Rivera, DYS-Holyoke, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network
 

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.

State youth funding: The Governor released the $675K in FY18 youth funding but some of the funds have been earmarked for other youth orgs in and around Boston (unclear how that happened) and the understanding is that the remainder will be allocated via an RFP.  The committee acknowledge the consequences of this late timing in the fiscal year – this will be difficult to manage! And we will all stay tuned.
Point in Time Count: for Hampden County it will take place on 1/31; for 3 County 1/24.  Gerry confirmed how the HUD count does not count people who are doubled up or couch surfing, only those in shelter or unsheltered.  Gerry organized some outreach efforts with HCC, CHD and Gandara.
Continuing discussion of youth outreach: We welcomed Peter Cofoni, a DCF adolescent supervisor, to our committee.  He works with young adults in the Springfield area who are in residential support or who are in transition from foster care.  He is always looking for housing options and was pleased to connect with Gandara’s Shine program again.
Juan Rivera of DYS provided additional information on the numbers they serve in Western MA:  119 youth are still committed; 43 are youth engaged in services (YES, voluntary services).
Network Evaluation project: Pamela provided an update on the consultant working with the Network to help evaluate the best use of the Network going forward. She distributed the interview questions and encouraged everyone to provide their input.   She will send the information electronically as well.  She encouraged people to attend the Network meeting on 2/12, 1-4 pm, Kittredge Center, HCC, to further engage in this effort to help shape the Network going forward.
Next meeting date: Wed., 2/14, 2-3:30 pm; Rosemary will confirm space. [Note: Rosemary confirmed it is Donahue Buiding, Room 368, HCC]