Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
Meeting Minutes
November 6, 2013

In attendance:  Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA of Western Mass., Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools, Jay Levy, Eliot CHS- Homeless Services, Rebecca Muller, Grant Works, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Karen Tracana, DYS

Reviewed Homeless Youth Count Survey

Gerry provided summary of survey results so far (thank you, Gerry!):

Noticed gaps in Berkshire and Franklin.  Have sent out additional requests for info to groups in these areas.   Sarah will forward survey to N. Berkshire and other Berkshire contacts.

In outreach, we will stress importance of submitting survey.  Not a commitment to actually do the count to be a conduit for additional info.

Outreach at schools:  challenging due to confidentiality issues but Sarah and Shannon will explore whether it would be acceptable to simply advertise (to all) the opportunity to participate in a survey.  A question of disseminating information.  Will investigate and get back to us.

Special Commission update (Lisa Goldsmith):

All CoC’s will get  $4,700 to support youth count.  Parameters on how funds can be spent are still unclear but impression is very flexible, e.g., for stipends, youth ambassadors, possibly focus groups.

Discussed whether to pursue focus groups across the region:  Yes!  Agreed on the following:

  1.  Lisa will reach out to Exa of Mass. Coalition for the Homeless who is facilitating focus group planning in and around Boston.  Lisa knows there was interest in doing focus groups in greater geographical diversity.  She also reported that the person actually conducting them, Mark, has a set approach/content and would like to administer the groups himself for consistency purposes.   Lisa will help find out if he is able to come to Western Mass.
  2. We agreed that ideally we would have a focus group in each county:  Springfield, Northampton, Greenfield, Pittsfield.   We brainstormed point people each in each city:  Springfield: Gerry, Lizzy; Northampton: Jay (could connect with Brendan of Eliot Services who works with some youth in Northampton); Greenfield: Lisa; Pittsfield: Karen
  3. Agreed to find out from Mark “best times” for youth to gather by getting input from providers.  Assume 2 days of focus groups, one for Springfield/Northampton; the other for Greenfield/Pittsfield

Rebecca pointed out that these focus groups are not only good for building the count but for broader data collection and to help position us for future funding opportunities.

All agreed that stipends, gift cards, meals, transportation are important to success.

Next meeting:   Wed., 12/11, 10-11:30 am after Springfield school liaison meeting, Scibelli Center, Square One, Teleclassroom.

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