Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
October 9, 2013

In attendance:  Shannon Barry, Springfield Public  Schools, Cara Davis Construct, Rose Egan, Community volunteer, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA of Western Massachusetts, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Rebecca Muller, GrantWorks, Lizzy Ortiz, City of  Springfield, Cindy Rodalakis, Chicopee Public Schools, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Sarah Slautterback, DESE

Discussion of gaps analysis/youth count:

All agreed that a critical starting point is understanding homeless youth’s first point of access, i.e., where they go to get information and referrals and begin to get engaged.

Statewide Homeless Youth Commission Count Sub-Group preparing to train all CoCs to include survey of unaccompanied homeless youth in Point in Time counts.  3 CoC’s will be selected to conduct focus groups and get an extra level of technical assistance and support in the count.  Both Sarah and Lisa have promoted Western Mass. as a good candidate for the pilot and we all expressed our cautious optimism about being selected.  We will hear about this within the month.

In the meanwhile,  we agreed it would be useful no matter what to prepare for the youth PIT.  This includes connecting with the organizations in the larger communities around which youth cluster, determine access points, and starting to put the word out for “youth ambassadors” (those who will recruit youth to survey).  It also includes connecting with the schools in these areas, although we acknowledged the confidentiality limitations around school data and outreach (the most we can get is aggregate data – living arrangement, age and gender).

Also brainstormed the utility of tracking the housing status of DCF and DYS “aging-out” youth once 18.  Acknowledged a lot of outreach happens in adult settings, e.g., ServiceNet.  Need to reach out to the “adult service” spots as well.

Agreed we would develop a list of organizations and contact people by geographic sub-region.

Point people:

Hampden County – Lizzy
Hampshire – Rebecca
Franklin – Lisa
Berkshire – Cara

Rebecca and Lizzy will create form for PIT count structure, distribute to all.

Sara S will tell Commission that we’re already working on this.

Will continue to brainstorm outreach to the GLBTQ youth communities.

Next meeting:  Nov 6, 1 pm, Northampton Senior Center (note change from regular schedule of 2nd Tuesday due to conflict with Housing Forum on 11/13).

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