In attendance: Emily English, Gandara, Lisa Goldsmith, Community Action, Rosemary Fiedler, HCC, Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc. Jane Lindfors, DTA-DV unit, Rebecca Muller, Gandara, Lizzy Ortiz, Mercy Medical, Denise Rivera, FOH, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Elorie Stevens, DCF, Kelly Wessels, DIAL/SELF
Youth Count: April 12 – May 12It is underway! Go here for materials: http://mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/youth-count-2019.
Hampden County: Emily reported outreach underway with guidance counselors at schools; an event planned at The Impact Center in Springfield on 5/7 from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm; working with HCC and STCC to do an event; outreach to ROCA and Samaratin Inn and ongoing with FOH. Gerry reported packets will be available at her office as soon as the Spanish version is available (should be next week). For more info, contact Fina Full-Kay at email@example.com.
3 county: Lisa is doing outreach across the region; sending the link and materials to all. Kelly from DIAL/SELF is also doing outreach.
See below for contacts for gift cards for youth participants and for any other questions.
Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP): Both CoCs (Hampden for the 3rd time; 3 county for the first) are applying for this HUD-funded opportunity that will eventually provide at least $1 million in funding for youth services (and then renewal grants thereafter). The application is due May 15. 3 County is applying as a “rural” region for Franklin County only. Gerry hopes to have a draft ready by the end of next week for review if interested. Lisa discussed how this process will be very useful no matter the funding outcome, both in terms of mapping the system and in creating a Youth Advisory Board and gaining greater youth participation in helping to shape effective responses.
EOHHS Grant updates: Hampden: 29 intakes for youth have been taken since early December, with 4 of them receiving ongoing 12-month rapid re-housing. The Needs Assessment has completed many of the core tasks and the team was able to present some preliminary findings at the early April meeting. They have hired a part-time housing specialist, increasing their outreach and direct contact with youth and providing more referrals to needed services (e.g., mental health). CHD and Gandara are meeting weekly with the Impact Center; they had a meeting with Samaratin Inn; going to Friends of the Homeless regularly – lots of good contact and relationship building.
3 County: the program has interacted with a total of 59 young people (31 experiencing homelessness); 7 young people received flexible funds for rent or utilities. Lisa is pursuing greater clarity around the definition of “at risk”.” They are continuing to work on building linkages between shelter and youth providers. DIAL/SELF is meeting individual shelter staff and building relationships. They are also working on their Needs Assessment.
Collaboration: We discussed in general the evolving collaborations taking place as a result of the youth programs underway (funded by EOHHS). For example, in Hampden County, Gandara and CHD are working to develop an “outreach calendar” for the region that makes available to all a schedule for various outreach days at various locations (e.g., HCC, ROCA), independent of a particular agency’s “ownership.” The movement is towards a “youth response TEAM” that serves young people at risk in a coordinated way across all agencies. They hope to have the calendar ready for release by early May.
We also discussed coordinated entry developments. Hampden County was meeting monthly but elected to increase their meetings to weekly to allow for greater collaboration and more immediate problem-solving. Elorie at DCF requested that DCF participate in these meetings and Pamela will confirm the connection is made. Ann at Domus will discuss with her staff person getting trained to participate in coordinated entry. In 3 County, Kelly updated the group about Soldier On’s new “google form” being used to track housing vacancies (an interim step while the Green River database gets up and running). It was noted that the process of coordinated entry is still getting up and running overall (e.g., providers still seeking clarity about who to call/what to do when faced with a young person at risk of or experiencing homelessness).
Rebecca noted (and we all agreed) the immense progress happening in building our youth response system; how all the various components – from the OrgCode trainings on “thinking like a system” to “how to run an awesome shelter” to “diversion” with the EOHHS resources and strategies, needs assessments and YHDP opportunity – A LOT OF GROWTH! And a big salute to all the providers making it happen.
Youth services training for DCF – 5/23, HCC: The invitation from DCF is out to state agencies – DCF, DYS, Probation, Juvenile Court, Congregate Care, etc – limiting to 10 staff people per agency. Our working group – Lisa, Emily, Tyrese, Phil, Jean, Gerry and Pamela – have met by phone to plan the day (and are meeting again on Tuesday 4/23 at 3 pm – please let Pamela know if you would like to participate). Note: this training is being offered by DCF for state agency staff; the Network is providing the training (as opposed to this being a trainer for Network partners far and wide – no literal capacity for that!). Pamela will reach out to DHCD to see if they want to participate (especially in light of a change in regs that now has young parents between 21-23 referred to DTA, not DHCD, for young parent shelter – this age used to be 20 for that referral).
Youth Count Contacts (for gift cards for youth completing the surveys and other questions):
Berkshire County:Jacob Hogue, Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority 413-443-7138 or 1-800-248-9002 x226 firstname.lastname@example.org
Franklin and Hampshire County:Kelsey Wessels or Sam Pepe, DIAL/SELF Youth and Community Services413-774-7054 x 4 (general intake #) email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Hampden County: Mark Watkins at the Gandara Center 413-654-1554 email@example.com
Jean Rogers or Tyrese Tillman, CHD413-781-6556 firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com