Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Committee Meeting Minutes – 5/16/18

Present: Rosemary Fielder, HCC; Peter Cofoni, DCF; Kristine Rodriguez, Gandara Impact Center; Emily English, Gandara; Ann Lentini, Domus; Jean Rogers, CHD; Juan Rivera, DYS; Haley Woods, HCC student; Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, HCC student; Jenny Davila, CHD; Andrea Baker, STCC; Rebecca Guinard, STCC; Rebecca Muller, Grantswork; Lisa Goldsmith, Dial/Self; Gerry McCafferty, City of Springfield

Youth Count
The Youth Count ended Sunday, May 13.  Surveys are still being collected and entered. Rosemary noted that the HCC event went very well because it was held in conjunction with a larger event–they collected a large number of surveys. In contrast, the turnout at STCC was low–possibly due to the two events being too close to finals. One idea was to try to coordinate timing with a larger event next year. Lisa reported that the 3-County count went well

The 2017 Youth Count Study has been released. The group noted that the results were not surprising. Both Jean and Lisa pointed to the comments as being very interesting and urged others to look at them.

Resource Fair
Youth agencies confirmed their workshop readiness and the plan to describe the process for young people to connect with services.  We are all going to bring agency handouts, youth help cards, a PYD handout, etc. and offer these resources at the workshop. The agencies will work together to produce a one pager summarizing all contact information. It was suggested to arrange the tables by population type (as was done last year).

Gandara Impact Center
Gandara’s Impact Center, at 41 Taylor St., Springfield, is a drop-in center for youth 16-21. The Center had a soft opening April 16, and is having a Grand Opening this Friday, May 18, 10 am – 2 pm. The center uses a peer model to link youth to resources in the community. The center has a kitchen, washer/dryer, computers, as well as flexible services and education/workshops.

HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project (YHDP) Application
The Springfield-Hampden County CoC submitted our application for this initiative in April. We won’t expect to find out until July or August.

MANY Learning Collaborative
The national organization MANY is offering a Learning Collaborative to CoCs on Coordinated Entry for youth. Both CoCs are interested in participating, possibly together. We are reaching out to MANY.

Wisconsin HopeLab
The results from the Wisconsin HopeLab survey of Massachusetts college students is out. This includes reporting at the state level, as well as for individual schools. Because it is so new, HCC and GCC reports are not yet available, but STCC indicated that they can share their report.

Point Source Conference
Lisa reported on the Point Source conference on youth homelessness, which she recently attended in New York. She said it was very good, lots of good information. Sessions were taped and will be posted online– click here for the link to the resources.

State Budget
Lisa reported on the state budget for youth homelessness. The Governor put this in his budget at $2 million, the Senate put it in at $3.3 million, and the House at $1 million. So, there’s optimism that there will be funding this year. Linn has mentioned wanting to get the RFP out before June so that they can move quickly to make awards, but it’s not out yet.

HCC Students
Haley Woods and Rodrigo Valdiviero Salazar, students at HCC, talked about the project they are working on to assist HCC students who are homeless. Rodrigo described his lived experience with housing instability, noting that he when he was coach-surfing, he didn’t think of himself as homeless, because he always had somewhere to stay. He is working on creation of tiny homes for community college students. At the same time, Haley is working on creation of a landlord network. Their common vision is that a student could live in a tiny home while they work through credit repair, benefits maximization, housing transition, etc. with the Thrive Center, and move on to an apartment found through the landlord network when they are ready. The students got feedback and ideas from the group about who else they should be talking to.

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