Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Work Group Meeting Minutes
November 14, 2012

In attendance:  Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Sarah Kline, North Adams Public School, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, network coordinator, Rhonda Young, CHD


Jordana (Holyoke schools):  unaccompanied youth continues to fluctuate.  Right now it is relatively quiet.  Feeling loss of CHD Safety Zone program as placement option. (see below).

Rhonda (CHD):  Independent Living program ending (scattered site apartments for up to 14 in a given year – 18 month program, up to 21 years old).  Federal funding ending in February, 2013 – currently phasing out program (downsizing now, down to 3).  Not taking any in or only under short time span.

Emergency shelter:  can serve 200 over year period. (usually 5 at any given time).  Maximum stay of 21 days.  Under 18 only.   Ranges from 0-7 youth since they changed the criteria to be maximum 18 years old.  Age limit used to be up to 21 (around 6 years ago) and when age limit was higher, capacity was always full (up to 5 or 7 every time).

Kim (Gandara, Shine program): residence opened.  Has first 2 residents.  4 more intakes this week.  Capacity for 8.  Serves ages 18-24.  A house with 3 apartments.  Supported housing.  Staff person on site (not 24/7); will develop peer model.  Residency limit of 2 years.  Funded by Springfield CoC. Geographical affiliation with City of Springfield.  Have to evidence motivation for employment/education.  Have to have some level of independence. Getting referrals from DCF, schools, CHD.

Jay suggested that Kim (Gandara) connect with REACH meeting to educate providers about resource:  next meeting is 11/20 at 2 pm at Friends of the Homeless, 755 Worthington Street.

Sarah (North Adams schools):  adult homeless shelter will serve 18 and up but not under 18.  No resources for under 18 homeless.  Couch surfing or living with another relative but not at their own home.  Interested in foster home model (CHD’s independent living program)

Springfield Schools (Shannon):  now quiet (big push at the start of the year).

Brainstorm around work group’s next steps/focus:

Jay (Eliot CHS Homeless Services): A lot of buzz nationally around youth homelessness.  Wouldn’t be surprised if saw some additional funding for youth homelessness.  Do we want to prepare for that opportunity – start with the creation of a resource list.  Make priority list of where and how we would use additional funding.

Start with guide produced by Mass. Housing and Shelter Alliance – see what they have and add/edit as needed.  Agreed each organization would review and report back by email and Pamela will collate for next meeting.

Also discussed retaining an intern to do an in-depth look at the homeless youth population in Western region.  Need to create “job description,” i.e., what to study and why?  How to complement current data available?

Places to look:  CHD (Rhonda will investigate), Gandara (Kim will investigate), Square One (Pamela will contact)

Next meeting:  will follow Springfield school liaison meeting (which is 8:30-9:30 am at Square One, STCC).  Our meeting will take place:

Wed., 12/12
9:30-10:45 am
Square One

Agenda will include:
1. report back on resource guide collation
2.  report back on intern inquiry and development of job description

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