Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee
January 18, 2017

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Katrina Colon, STCC, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF, Natalie Kyles, Gandara, Jose Lopez-Figueroa, STCC, Kim Majewski, Gandara, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Rhonda Young, CHD

Project Updates:
Three County CoC:
Involved with 44 people (young people and family members)
11 youth currently have subsidies
24 youth have applications in process

Berkshire County staff person started last Monday
Data systems now integrated with HMIS

Hampden County CoC:
Rapid rehousing: full at 18 slots
HUD did not refund transitional housing program of 8 beds (SHINE) – as of now funding remains through September. Will appeal.
Additional state funds will allow for 2 unit expansion.

Demonstration Work Group: Lisa noted that this statewide commission work group is meeting this Friday in Worcester to talk about the EOHHS youth demonstration project, specifically how to capture best practices and impact (in effect demonstrate its effectiveness). She will keep us posted.

Point in Time Count: Next Wed., 1/25. HUD is asking for focus on youth count.

Hampden County: doing outreach events in Hampden County (Dunbar, HCC, possibly STCC) – will have incentive gift cards; booklet on youth resources; online survey so youth can complete by interview or online. Gerry will provide Facebook and Twitter links to events.

Three County: reaching out to local municipal offices to seek info about young people who may be homeless. They adapted the survey to stay away from word “homeless” (in response to youth feedback). Also utilizing gift cards. Will work to get the survey online. Focusing on provider outreach.

State youth count is also happening – in early May. No further information at this time. The group expressed its frustration at this timing in view of seasonal shelters closing end of April. This feedback has been provided multiple times to no avail.

HUD Youth Pilot Project Application: Hampden County CoC was not awarded. It was a very competitive process and the only New England award went to the entire state of CT (in general, each of the 10 awards went to very large geographic areas).

However, the CoC will still move forward with aspects of the proposal, including the creation of a Youth Advisory Group and additional youth planning. Gerry advised that she will be hiring a staff person to assist with CoC work and these items will be included in the new hire’s job description.

FY18 Budget Priorities:
The group discussed its FY18 state budget priorities to bring to the upcoming Network Leadership Council meeting on 2/9. The group agreed to recommend the same priorities as last year, that is:

  • Youth program funding (will confer with Mass Coalition for the Homeless on ask but at minimum will seek continuation of the $2 million appropriation)
  • Home and Health for Good (LGBTQ youth funding) – will confirm amount
  • RAFT funding for expanded eligibility to include individuals (family services committee also endorsed this

Data Review and Discussion: The group agreed that our data collection/evaluation would use current federal reporting requirements as a starting point to streamline and maximize existing data work. Kim provided Gandara Center’s Annual Performance Report (APR) (HUD required) as a springboard for discussion. Gerry talked us through the raw data in the report.  She noted that HUD distills all this raw data to evaluate outcomes based on 7 performance measures:

  • Are there more or less homeless individuals over the course of a year compared to last year?
  • At the Point in Time Count are there more or less people being counted as homeless?
  • Have we reduced length of time people are homeless?
  • Have we improved the number of people who leave homelessness to enter permanent housing?
  • Has income increased over the course of the year for people experiencing homelessness?
  • Have people returned to homelessness

Looking at these measures helps to answer the question of whether we have increased the effectiveness of the system as a whole. We agreed we should rely on HUD’s decades of experience and use these performance measures to evaluate our progress.=

Gerry will draw up a template for us to consider at the next meeting.
Next meeting: Wed., 2/15, 10:00-11:30 am,
91 School Street, after Springfield school liaison meeting


«   »

Return to full list of blog posts.