Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting
June 8, 2016

 In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Dawn DiStefano, Square One, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Allie Haber, Network, Natalie Kyles, Gandara Center, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Evelyn Rivera, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services, Jean Rogers, CHD, Maria Vogel, Gandara Center

FY2017 state budget update:
Conference Committee meeting this week to resolve Senate and House budgets. Now is the time to contact legislators to urge their adoption of Senate version of youth funding ($2 million as opposed to House $1 million). See Pamela’s previous email alert or blog post for more information.

EOHHS Youth Services Grant Update:
Three County Region (Community Action):
Lisa reported that there were significant delays with EOHHS on finalizing contract. DIAL/SELF was likely to sign a sub-contract with Community Action today. It’s unclear how start-up will be impacted by next fiscal year’s budget uncertainties. The Consortium funding is underway but questions have arisen around eligibility and sustainability, which are being sorted out now.

Hampden County CoC:
Gerry reported that programs are underway. For the Consortium, HAP and Catholic Charities are providing rapid rehousing and prevention resources. These resources are complementing an already established infrastructure within each program which has made start-up very smooth. Catholic Charities will also be receiving $350,000 from the CoC for rapid rehousing which will augment the efforts happening now (or replace them depending on continued funding).

Gandara Center Youth Program Update:
3 young adults will have been placed in apartments by the end of this week with rapid rehousing funds. Program staff (currently 2.5) are busy conducting outreach to both youth (schools, colleges, other programs) and landlords. Relationship building is underway with Friends of the Homeless to put a smooth intake/assessment and referral process in place for young adults.

Conducting TAY-VI-SPDAT to assess vulnerability. It was agreed that it is important to track the number of youth scoring high in vulnerability (8 and above) in order to assess whether our current program capacity matches the level of need. In terms of the challenge of assessment, many teens do not know they suffer from a mental health or substance use issue, a real reflection and function of their youth. Frequently the “need for help” only emerges after engagement and then it’s a question of whether the young person is in a place to receive it.

Gandara is creating a list of all youth assessed, their vulnerability scores and prioritization. They are working with Friends of the Homeless to track youth there as well. They are also tracking the precise use of the flex funds (e..g, purchase of steel toe boots in order to take a job that required them) – an extremely valuable resource.

Gerry and Kim will follow-up together about ensuring data input is aligned with HMIS. We agreed it would be useful to have a standing report to bring to the youth committee meetings.

The Host Home component is still in process – have not yet found hosts but in process.

More on evaluation of performance measures:
Pamela shared a draft template (click here) that Simtech (consulting firm Hampden County CoC is using) for quarterly committee review of performance measures. Gerry provided context regarding HUD’s movement from singular provider performance review to whole system review: how is the system doing in ending homelessness. Towards that end, HUD is asking each CoC to report on specific performance measures. Chief among them are returns to homelessness and length of homelessness (in addition to # of people homeless at a given time; increase in overall income and earned income, e.g.,) Pamela also expressed interest in town of origin (prior to homelessness) and demographics such as age, race, etc.

The Network is supporting the CoCs in adopting performance measures tools and methods for review. The goal is for each Network committee to integrate this evaluation tool into their regular meetings. We will continue this conversation at our next meeting, after Gerry and Kim have a chance to meet.

Youth Count review:
What we would do differently: consider timing so that the count does not happen immediately after the seasonal shelters are closed or right at college finals time when students have either dispersed or are likely to be less responsive to outreach due to the focus on exams. Also consider how to engage more deeply with schools (per the various confidentiality constraints).

Next meeting:
Due to summer vacation schedules, we agreed to meet at an odd time:
Friday, July 8
9:30 – 11 am
Center for Human Development
51 Capital Drive, West Springfield

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