Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
December 14, 2016

In attendance: Katrina Colon, STCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Charlie Knight, former consumer, Rebecca Guimond, STCC, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield/Hampden County CoC, Peter Miller, City of Westfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Janna Teatreault, Community Action, Jennnifer Wallace-Johnson, STCC, Jen Wands, Springfield Public Schools, Kathy West, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Rhonda Young, CHD 

Youth Program Reports:
Hampden County:  Rapid Rehousing program (EOHHS funds) has leased 15 apartments housing 18 young adults (2 2 BR apts). Referrals have increased since last quarter, now working with close to 50 young people. Host homes are not currently being utilized but there is capacity for 4 young people. Additional state funds are anticipated which will allow for 2 more housing units.

Three County: Berkshire Regional Housing Authority has now hired a full-time staff person to serve homeless youth, starting in January. In most recent month, the program provided subsidies for 9 youth – 4 in Hampshire, 3 in Franklin, 2 in Berkshires – and engaged with 27 other young people.

Data Collection and Analysis Discussion:
The group looked first at the EOHHS quarterly report form (see attached) as a starting point for discussing what would be useful for our region to review and obtain to best assess programmatic impact and impacts. The group determined that while the data requested by EOHHS will continue to be provided to the best of each program’s ability, it does not meet our needs. The group agreed that:

  • Data needs to be reported both by quarter and cumulatively to be able to track a youth’s progress across quarters and ultimately annually
  • Definitions need to be clarified, e.g., outreach (by program to youth on street or once contacted?), youth who are parenting (including those not living with their child or just those with their child), etc.
  • It would be important to collect the outcome numbers of the number of youth who secured stable housing and the number of youth who maintained that housing and the type of assistance provided in each case (not currently asked)
  • We should rely on HUD’s current indicators such as length of homelessness, return to homelessness, increase in income and employment, etc. Gerry noted that all of this information is in HUD’s Annual Performance Report so that we should not need to reinvent this wheel. Gandara’s program is in HMIS, but DIAL/SELF is not yet, which makes this integration with HUD data more challenging at the moment.
  • Lisa will bring back this discussion to the Special Commission’s Demonstration Project Work Group (includes all EOHHS grantees) which should be meeting sometime in January.

The group agreed at its next meeting it would review the APR to further determine its application to this Committee’s data needs. Kim will provide.

Hampden County CoC Youth Homelessness Project Application:
Gerry reported that the Hampden County CoC submitted its application to HUD to be selected as one of 10 sites nationwide for a youth homelessness pilot project. As part of the application, it committed to creating a youth advisory board, which it will create regardless of application outcome. As part of the application process, with Rebecca Muller’s’ help, the CoC convened 6 focus groups with youth, engaging over 30 young people. More than 10 of them are interested in being part of the advisory committee and will be trained by youth leaders from the Special Commission. Special thanks to Rebecca Muller for her voluntary assistance with this effort.

State Commission update:
Lisa reported on the Demonstration project work group, which will be convening in January. And reported that the LGBTQ Commission is also working with its population around youth homelessness and is seeking provider input about how best to inform its policy work. Please contact Lisa to provide your feedback.

Point in Time Count: It is Wed., January 25. HUD has requested special emphasis on identifying homeless youth, so additional efforts will be made this January (alongside the annual state led count in May). Gerry raised the question of whether it is possible to do outreach in January through community colleges and whether it’s possible to retain youth ambassadors with a stipend. STCC volunteered to do an event. Gerry will schedule a meeting with all youth partners; please contact her if you can participate. Gandara will reach out to the youth it is currently serving to help them reach others for the count. Three County will continue to work outreach on their service-provider model as well as reach out to police and selectboards. We discussed using the Network to reach out to GCC to better understand how we can gain their participation. Pamela will follow-up with Lisa on this.

STCC update: The group welcomed STCC to the committee. Their office, Center for Access Services, is explicitly available as a resource center to connect students to community resources and meet non-academic barriers. Their mission includes serving students experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We look forward to growing this partnership!

January meeting. Wed., 1/18, 9:30-11, Gandara Center, subject to confirmation.

«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.