Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
October 14, 2015

In attendance: Tom Baker, LUK, Pamela Cook, Gandara Center, Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/SELF, Rani Gould, YWCA, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Rebecca Muller, GrantWorks, Lizzy Ortiz, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Mark Watkins, Gandara Center

Youth Resource and Referral Hand-out: we reviewed the draft document (see attached) and provided a range of feedback, e.g., how to better phrase the inquiry around homelessness, age, geographic location. We also discussed the questions leading into the referrals and did some tweaking around the domestic violence question, mental health follow-up. Pamela will connect Jay and Jean on the mental health question framing. We agreed that we will break down the information with Hampden County on one side of the sheet and Three County on the other. Thanks to Jean Rogers for collating the information.

We agreed it would be useful to provide a more youth-oriented user-friendly hand-out that summarized resources (1/4 page, card-stock). Franklin County offers this now and will send it around. Lizzy noted that Worcester provided something similar at a conference. Gerry would like to produce this for Hampden County. Rebecca will follow-up around Berkshire County.

We agreed we would review our next draft of the referral resource by 10/28.

Youth specific coordinated assessment: We discussed the TAY-VI-SPDAT and the need to collect feedback around the most appropriate youth assessment tool and how it may vary from the standard adult assessment VI-SPDAT (e.g., the youth score lower on the VI-SPDAT because the mortality questions are less likely to apply). Our goal is to identify the highest priority youth to serve.

Gerry will search out tools to compare and send them along for review. We agreed that we would look primarily to the feedback from our committee members who directly serve youth – Kim, Jean, Lisa and Rani. We are looking to their opinions around the tool’s effectiveness for prioritizing youth housing needs (PSH, transitional, rapid rehousing).

We will aim for exchanging that feedback via email by 10/28.

Special guest Tom Baker of LUK: Tom shared that they are currently working on creating a new youth network in N. Worcester County as well as providing technical assistance around Runaway Homeless Youth issues.   While our region is primarily out of their service area, there is some overlap in the North Quabbin Area (which Dial/SELF serves). All agreed that right now there are basically no services at all for youth in this sub-region. Dial/SELF and LUK will follow-up on possibilities for pooling resources and building connections.

CoC Application Questions:

Gerry led a conversation to help respond to the questions posed in HUD’s CoC application, including: how we are responding to human trafficking among homeless youth, LGBT youth homelessness, strategies for exits from foster care into homelessness, prioritization for youth housing and services and more.

Kim Majewski provided an update on the efforts through DCF to educate and prepare for intervention around the issue of human trafficking and Hampden County’s Coalition to Identify and Prevent Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Click here to learn more.

Next meeting: November 4, 10 am – 11:30 am, Gandara Center, 1236 Main Street, Route 5N, Holyoke

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