In attendance: Kim Borden, Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, Emily English, Gandara Center, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Leslie Fisher-Katz, Children’s Study Home, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Kara Knott, UMass, Amanda Lesnick, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden CoC, Spencer Moser, MCLA, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical Center, Jordan O’Connell, CHD,Aisha Pizarro, YWCA, Phil Ringwood, DIAL/SELF, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jen Sutherland, Springfield Public Schools, Tyrese Tillman, CHD, Rhonda Young, CHD

Needs Assessments report-out:
We reviewed some central findings of both 3 County and Hampden County CoCs needs assessments on the youth population.  

For the 3 County report, please go here.
The Hampden County CoC has created a new youth homelessness website – go to http://undertheradarspringfield.org to get connected and to read its needs assessment go to: https://www.undertheradarspringfield.org/the-report


HUD awards Western MA $4.3 million for its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects (YHDP)! We celebrated this tremendous accomplishment for the region – out of 23 awards nationwide, Western MA got two of them!  Specifically, Hampden County received $2.4 million and Franklin County received $1.9 million. CONGRATULATIONS to all!

The first step:  each community must produce a broad, coordinated community PLAN to prevent and end youth homelessness that includes all systems (DCF, DYS, family shelter system, etc.). The draft must be presented to HUD by 12/29, then followed by a review and discussion and revisions with HUD before finalizing by the end of April. The plan will include a road map for allocating the funding to specific agencies to accomplish specific goals (e.g., rapid rehousing, PSH, transitional housing, support services).

The grants are for 2 years and the funding will be divided over that time.  Whatever goes into programming becomes part of the CoC’s renewable grants for each NOFA (forever impact!).  

A defining piece of this work is engaging youth who will lead it.  We are working WITH them, not for them. Each CoC has established a Youth Action Board (YAB) already which will provide the vehicle for youth leadership. 

The best use of this Committee to support this effort: After discussion, it was decided that the Committee meetings over the next 4 months would be utilized as a gathering point to begin or deepen important relationships and understanding around particular issues with relevant staff.  We agreed on this list of issues/agencies:

  • human trafficking (outreach at Baystate, Sheriff’s offices, YWCA?)
  • corrections (outreach at sheriff’s department, AISS, ROCA)
  • pregnant and parenting youth (will happen in Dec., after EA RFR is submitted; will reach out to: Square One, Care Center, Healthy Families, Teen Living Programs – YWCA)
  • high school/college – McKinney Vento and single point of contacts for college
  • DCF (since currently around our table, will go next round in January – will reach out further to Laurie Sullivan of DCF; will deepen discussion on how to reach out to youth who are leaving DCF and refuse continuing services)
  • workforce development – Pamela will enlist the Network’s Career Services committee to further this conversation around targeting employment paths for youth

Other issues that surfaced:

  • LGBTQ for Hampden County (Three County already has an infrastructure in place to address this)
  • Mentoring (Hampden County has a focus on this that is underway)
  • Gun violence
  • Food insecurity
  • Recovery services community 

We agreed our next committee meeting will focus on trafficking, specifically: increasing the understanding of this issue in Western MA, the challenges, the opportunities for intervention; learning from youth about what they are experiencing, how prevention can work; how to train agency staff to respond.  Pamela and Gerry will work on trainer invitations to the meeting. 

Next meeting dates: 
10/24, 9:30-11, Kittredge center  Room 303
11/20, 9:30-11, Kittredge Center, Room 303
12/18, 9:30-11 Frost 309