Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
February 11, 2015
In attendance: Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Jill Fijal, Chicopee Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Lizzy Ortiz, Springfield Office of Housing, Jean Rogers, CHD, Sarah Slautterback, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Hampden County update:
Due to the weather, the dates of the youth survey shift to Thursday, 1/29/15 to Thurs., 2/5/15
Surveys were in both English and Spanish. The survey was online this year (youth did paper/pencil). $10 gift cards for Dunkin’ Donuts were available for the youth that participated in the survey as an incentive. Soda and pizza were provided at the events that took place.
There were youth ambassadors to assist with the survey, 2 from ROCA and 1 from SHINE. They each received a $75 check for their assistance.
House of Colors, a group that works with LGBTQ youth 24 y.o. and under participated in the survey. They had an event at the Holyoke Public Library. 10 surveys came from this event
There were two other events, one at STCC, from which 10 surveys were returned, the other was at HCC and no one showed up.
Both Putnam and Commerce High Schools (Springfield) participated in the surveys.
The numbers of surveys returned are below:
- Eliot Community Services, participated but didn’t receive surveys
- Catholic Charities, participated but didn’t receive surveys
- SHINE, 12
- Phoenix Charter School, 5
- ROCA, 31
- HAP Housing, 37
- Annie’s House, 2
- YWCA, 6
- Friends of the Homeless, 22
- CHD, 11
- CHD-Motel , 25
- CHD, Shelter, 63
- Teen Clinic-Holyoke Public Schools, 2
- Samaritan Inn, 1
- Westfield High school, 17
- House of Colors, 11
- Dean Technical High, 2
- Chicopee High School, 8
- Westfield Vocational High school, 2
- NEFWC, 9
- Care Center Holyoke, 16
- Commerce High school, 9
- STCC, 6
- Putnam High School, 11
- Rescue Mission, 1
- NEFWC Shelters – Main Street, 15
Lizzy spoke about how she went to Putnam and set up a table to do the surveys. She ended up assisting a lot of students with apply for food stamps, MassHealth applications, etc. The group discussed the importance of this work. Sarah mentioned Danielle Ferrier’s work through YouthHarbors and the group discussed that it might be good to extend an invite for her to attend one of our meetings to discuss her work. Lisa offered to reach out to Danielle after checking in with Pamela to see if she agrees with this plan.
Sarah also mentioned The Mass Coalition’s work in elementary schools that helps parents with budgeting, etc. Discussion of inviting them to a meeting to discuss their work. Lisa has been in touch with the Mass. Coalition and received some articles that they based their work on, which are attached. Links to their programs are also attached.
And, links to the two Mass. Coalition programs: HomeLink Program and Highland Kids Initiative
The group discussed that there were some confusing questions on the survey.
- #7 the setup of the question was confusing, youth read it and skipped over it because they didn’t realize they had to answer the question in the box off to the right.
- #17 part of the answers were on one side of the survey and the other answer choices on the other side of the survey
The group also discussed having a Veterans services worker come to one of our meetings.
Franklin County update:
Dave asked for the surveys to be sent to Hilltown, so surveys are still coming in. At this point, Dave has 35 and six more are coming from Jay. There was an event at ServiceNet in Northampton, but only about 2 youth showed up.
The Center for New Americans was a new connection for the Youth Count and the program site in Turners Falls did a few surveys. It is challenging for this organization to do the survey because program participants use many different languages and the survey is only in English and Spanish.
Lisa stated that she reached out to a number of local schools, but only the Tech School responded and agreed to participate, but the approval was delayed, so they completed surveys late. Lisa reached out to GCC, but they still would not participate due to confidentiality.
Lisa stated that her agency knew a bunch of youth that were couch surfing, but staff didn’t see them during the time of the survey or they were hesitant to complete them. A discussion on the time of year the survey occurs in was also brought up and the challenge that the winter and weather presents. The youth are just not out during this time of year. Suggestions were made around the Fall or Spring being a better time of year. Sarah sits on the working group for the survey and said she would bring back the discussion to the group.
Lisa is not sure what happened in the Berkshires.
Next meeting: Wed., March 11 10 am – 11:15 am, Holyoke Public Library