Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Work Group
July 15, 2013

In attendance:   Shannon Barry, Springfield Public Schools, Shelley Brodes, CHP-South Berkshire Community Coalition, Rose Egan, MSW, Lisa Goldsmith, Sarah Kline, North Adams Public Schools, DialSELF,  Ann Lentini, Domus, Inc.,  Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Rebecca Muller, Grantworks, Jordana O’Connell, Holyoke Public Schools, Lizzy Ortiz, Springfield Public Schools, Jean Rogers, Center for Human Development, Pamela Schwartz, Network coordinator, Karen Tracanna, Dept. of Youth Services

Grant debrief:   We followed-up on the effort to apply for a federal grant for unaccompanied homeless youth emerging from foster care system  (this RFP was for the  2 year planning phase).  Huge thanks to Rebecca Muller, Lisa Goldmsith and Rose Egan for their work on this.  They had reached out to LUK in Worcester (who would have been lead agency) and JRI in Boston and conversations were underway for a potential collaboration.  However, the grant required a state agency collaboration with DCF and unfortunately, due to DCF’s current retooling of its system – massive transition and redesign across the agency – the timing was not good for them to commit to this particular effort right now.  They were unable to commit the staff and resources to this project .   It was agreed by all – Network, LUK and JRI – that given the state’s position and the very short timeline (deadline was 7/22 and application was huge), it was impossible to move forward.

Reflections:  This process raised the issue of if and when to “go it alone” as a Network.  In view of our well-developed collaborative and multiple relationships with state agencies on a regional level, it was conceivable we could have streamlined state partnership and made a solid application on our own.  However, in light of the national competition (18 grants to be awarded across the country) and the desire to minimize competition within the state, it made sense to reach out to potential partners across the state and approach the application in a coordinated fashion.

We agreed we would use the start of this process as our own jumping-off point for developing a plan around the issues raised in this RFP so that we are ready for the next opportunity.  We agreed we would read the overview of the grant (Rebecca will provide), and use that as a launch for our discussion at the next meeting.

Special Youth Commission update:  Lisa reminded us that the Commission will be releasing its next report at the end of December which will focus in part on the method of counting unaccompanied homeless youth.  We agreed that we need to start our own process, parallel to the Commission’s, to prepare for the Point in Time Count that occurs in January so we can refine our own method for counting homeless youth, e.g., look at “respondent driven sampling,” which includes surveying youth and asking them if they know of others.

State budget update:  The FY14 state budget included  $150,000 for staff support of Special Commission and to support the count of homeless youth.  Home and Healthy for Good program – MHSA – alco received funds to provide housing for LGBTQ youth using a Housing First model.  The next Special Commission meeting is end of September.

Hearing on 7/16 on bill for unaccompanied homeless youth bill.  SHINE program participants are attending.

Next meeting:

9/17, 11 am, immediately following Holyoke school liaison meeting.  Jordana will inform us of location as soon as it is known.

2 agenda items:

  1.  Follow-up on grant development (everyone read overview between now and then!)
  2. PIT count development – how to reach population and how to access more information, e.g., how they earn money, employed vs. friends/family; how to connect to schools, etc.

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