Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
July 16, 2015

In attendance: Lynnette Camacho, Springfield Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS – Homeless Services, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Jennifer Wand, Springfield Public

FY16 budget news:

Great news for unaccompanied homeless youth! The Conference Committee allocated $2 million to support housing and support services for unaccompanied homeless youth. The budget also included $150,000 to support the Special Commission. And Franklin County’s LGBTQ Housing First program also received continued funding.

A huge thanks to our fabulous Western MA delegation for their terrific support!

Youth Count info

We noted that the youth count/survey data of January has not yet been released by DHCD. Lisa said she heard that it may be released soon.

The W. MA Opening Doors Plan Strategies Review

We reviewed the data and the strategies listed for this population (see p. 24). Jay noted a missing strategy:   develop additional housing options for youth (was it so obvious that we missed it?!). It shall be added.

We agreed to focus initial efforts on Coordinated Entry. We established that similar to what is happening in the veterans committee, we need a referral/intake form that allows for an “any door” quick determination of where the youth needs to be referred.

Lisa volunteered to be the point person on creating this tool, working together with Rani, Jean and Kim.

We agreed that ultimately our coordinated entry system will include this efficient referral flow for every sub-population – veteran, individual, family, youth, elder – and be available at every door for every population.

We will review the draft tool at our next meeting.

We also agreed to review the current youth tools available for prioritization of housing and support services. Pamela is in the process of tracking down a tool that came to her attention. We will review these tools at our next meeting.

We also discussed the need to better coordinate with DESE around their school data. Pamela will follow-up with Heidi of Simtech Solutions who ha discussed at our last meeting reaching out to DESE to learn more about possible linkages. Springfield school liaisons Lynnette and Jennifer noted that they are entering data into a DESE system on a regular basis, and that schools have a great need for the kind of referral tool we are creating.

Lisa offered a framing of our various strategies in 3 different categories:

  1. Coordinated entry
  2. Data collection
  3. Resources – housing, employment, support services

We may want to look at our strategies in that context as we move forward in the creation of a workplan.

We discussed that we will work on simultaneous tracks of building a work plan for the year over the next few months (including our “take-down targets” for reducing the numbers of homeless youth) while moving forward immediately on implementation.

Next meeting:

Wed., 8/19, 9:30-11:00, Northampton Senior Center

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