Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes
April 12, 2017

In attendance: Jesus Arce, City of Springfield, Jenny Davila, CHD Safety Zone, Courtnee Godbout, Friends of the Homeless, Lisa Goldsmith, DIAL/SELF,  Jay Levy, Eliot CHS-Homeless Services,  Jose Lopez-Figueroa, STCC, Kim Majewski, Gandara Center, Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield, Jean Rogers, CHD, Pamela Schwartz, Network, Daisy Vera, YWCA Youth Build

Program updates:
Three County: numbers of youth seeking support are rising across both sub-regions (Berkshires; Franklin/Hampshire), a testimony to the combination of the need that is out there and the outreach that is ongoing.
Currently working with 105 people, including partners and children.
9 youth have subsidies; 35 are in process.
89 are 18-25 years old, 16 are under 18 (presumably children of parenting youth)
Click here for the Three County’s Youth Program Quarterly Report to EOHHS.

Hampden County: Acquired 8 new apartments in March, now leasing 13 apartments with 15 participants, all of whom are either working or going to school.
26 students are on the wait list for apartments but are currently actively engaged; one youth utilized a host home last month but is not in the transitional housing program; SHINE’s Transitional Housing program has all 8 beds filled but with funding ending at the end of Sept., plans are afoot for transitioning the youth to stable housing. Federally funded Rapid Rehousing program is also fully running – 8 apartments with 8-10 youth.
Click here for Hampden County’s Youth Program Quarterly Report to EOHHS.

FY18 State Budget Update
Pamela reported on the House Ways and Means budget that was released 2 days ago. It did not include funding for the youth program (similar situation last year) but an amendment is being filed by Rep. Jim O’Day to restore funding. The Network Leadership Council met yesterday and decided youth funding was its top priority. Pamela is communicating with our region’s legislators now on this and urging their co-sponsorship of this (and other) amendments.

2017 Hampden County Point in Time Count: (Click  here for the report)
0 unaccompanied homeless youth under 18
141 homeless youth 18-24 years
— 35 non-parenting youth – 25 in shelter (Friends of the Homeless, Samaratin Inn, Rescue Mission), 10 living on the streets
–106 parenting youth

The number of homeless youth has dropped 51% since the 2015 count, driven primarily by closing hotels.  Trend data has limited meaning because of the state system and the fact that a percentage of families are placed in this region but are from other parts of the state.

The more meaningful number is the number of non-parenting, unsheltered youth – that number was 4 in 2013 and is 10 in 2017, a function of the greater outreach taking place across the community.

Parenting youth:
79% female
21% male
71% latina
18% black
9% non-Hispanic white
2% other

Non-parenting youth:
49% female
51% male
57% latino
23% black
17% non-Hispanic White
3% other

It was noted that it would be useful to compare this breakdown with census data. Gerry will look into that.

Lisa will follow-up with Andrea and Dave of the Three County CoC to ask for Three County Point in Time Count data.

Statewide youth count:
The count will take place from May 1 – 14.  The State is making available funds to pay for gift cards and other related expenses. Social media will be used.

Hampden County: Outreach events will take place at Dunbar Community Center – 5/10, 4-6 pm; STCC 5/11, 11:30 am – 2 pm. Holyoke Community College has not yet agreed to host an event due to lack of space but Jose will follow-up with his contacts to see what is possible and Pamela will follow-up with Dr. Royal (President, member of the Network Leadership Council, if additional assistance is required). Outreach is ongoing to many community groups, including MLK, Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, Springfield Boys and Girls Club, etc.

Outreach to schools will be done on a more individual basis with guidance counselors to advise them of events, etc.

Final dates for events will be determined by 4/21.

Three County: They are focusing on organizing events as well, at ServiceNet drop-in centers, Community Action in Northampton, Berkshire County locations in three different parts of Berkshire County. They will be using gift cards as well and will create a calendar of events to make available across the region.

Special Commission Update:
Discussions continue around creating a Mass. State Plan to End Youth Homelessness.

The Dept. of Higher Education is now involved with an initiative to track food insecurity and housing instability; community colleges are preparing to launch their own survey of their students. This will be a great way to build relationships with the community colleges on homelessness prevention and interventions.

The Youth Demonstration Project Work Group is reviewing the quarterly report template and making changes to make it more clear and consistent for data collection purposes. They will be sending out a draft for feedback within the next couple of weeks and we will have an opportunity to comment. The goal is to have a new template by the start of the new fiscal year.

MHSA Transition Aged Youth Committee: Lisa is chair of the committing, which is working to create a resource list of services that are available for this targeted population – please stay tuned for a request for your information. The Committee is also working with DMH to better integrate housing and homelessness providers and their work in their own 5 year plan.

100 day challenge to house homeless youth: Gerry shared an invitation to Hampden County from Way Home America and Rapid Results Institute to apply to join its 100 day challenge campaign in 2017. This invitation flowed from its application (and denial) to be a HUD youth demonstration project.  Click here for a summary of results from previous campaigns. Gerry shared Hampden County’s success experienced through a similar effort around chronic individual homelessness. It is a commitment that will take additional time but promises significant impact. Kim Majewski (Gandara) and Jean Rogers (CHD) supported applying and Courtnee will speak with Delphine at FOH and Louis will speak to STCC leaders.

Next meeting: Wed., 5/25, 9:30-11 am; will check Holyoke Library as Gandara is moving. (note later in the month date is due to various vacation schedules of committee members).

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