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REM Youth Homelessness Forum Followup

Over 20 people attended a followup forum on youth homelessness that was held Oct 18, 2012 in REM Forum to assess the progress of the three initiative committees developed as a result of the original forum held in 2011. You can follow the progress of the Initiatives by clicking on the following links or calling (207)873-4444:

  • Clearing House for homeless youth.
    Vision: Our youth have safe places to live, food to eat and all the services they deserve.


  • Life Skills needed by homeless youth.
    Vision: The educational and employment sectors in our community provide individualized, basic,survival and life skills to the homeless youth.


  • Educating the Community concerning homeless youth.
    Vision: Our people are well informed of the issues around and realities of youth homelessness in our community.


  • Link to Resources for
    Youth Homelessness Studies



    Reports from Homeless Youth Followup Meeting Oct 18, 2012

    Life Skills

    Life Skills Initiative Committee report-out about Survey Tool for youth accessing Learning Labs
    Ashalie Wark, Youth Move Maine, initially brainstormed possible content of survey to be given to youth who access the Learning Lab’s we hope to have set up in communities.
    The survey tool is a work in progress and will include the following:
    • Have the survey computer-based
    • Have only 4-6 “branching” questions
    • All/most of questions be open-ended
    • No identifying info
    • Question: “What town do you consider home?”
    • Question: “Have you ever considered yourself homeless?”
    • Ask a question about Health Care
    • Have survey done at the end of the Learning Lab session
    • Have incentive to complete survey (food or gift certificate or??)
    • Ask local School Guidance offices and youth groups to ask youth for feedback on content/ user-friendliness of survey

    REM Life Skills Initiative Committee report-out about RSVP’s decision-making program with youth
    HealthReach RSVP will be offering a five-step decision making program in two school settings this year starting in Mid-October: one at the Waterville Junior High School and one at Messalonskee High School. It is based on the Thresholds program that was originally designed for inmates in correctional facilities who are soon-to-be-released. It has been a successful RSVP program for the past eight years at correctional facilities in Kennebec and Somerset Counties and it has been a goal for us to modify the curriculum for teens and young adults. We had an opportunity last spring through the Diversion to Assets program at the Teen Center here in Waterville to do just that. With three students and three volunteer leaders, a lot was learned by everyone! As a result of that successful venture, we look forward to bringing the program into local schools and help students learn to make informed, intentional decisions that will help them know, as well as move them toward, what they want out of life, both short and long term.

    National Mentoring Partnership, Kennebec Behavioral Health
    Mentor update: The sub group composed of Bodhi Simpson, Tony Veit, Nancy Souza and Nancy Findlan identified an Evidenced based curriculum through the National Mentoring Partnership. The Massachusetts member provides training. After researching training available the group recommended that 2 people be sent for a weekend training at a total cost of approximately $2,000 including tuition and housing. The purpose would be to train two individuals that could then bring it back here and have a program development team work on next steps for a pilot program. KBH is interested in the program, however it would need to be considered with other priorities. JMG is the mentoring partner for Maine associated with the National Mentoring Partnership so they should be included in the planning.

    Mid-Maine Technical Center (MMTC) Mass Communication Project:
    Tom McNeil, Winslow High School Guidance Director and Tony Viet, Kennebec Behavioral Health, met with Dave Boardman, Instructor at MMTC, and several students to determine options for developing an informational, interactive multi media engagement process that will allow users to learn about and engage resources and options for homeless youth and students.
    The media class had to review our pitch, and essentially vote to take it on as a class project. Fortunately, it was approved.
    The next step is on 10/19 when Tony will meet with students at the class to start the interview process. We still need to identify former homeless youth to speak on camera (or off) about their experience, and identify community resource providers that will speak on camera about options available to youth.

    Learning Lab
    REM will be creating a Learning Lab on the rem1.org site as part of the Life Skills Training Team portion of the Youth Homelessness Community Initiative. This information will target the list of items identified by homeless youth to be information needed to help improve their quality of life issues. These life skills informational pieces already exist on the internet. The Life Skills Training team will engage the community in the identification of the best sites for the information needed and create links to the information on the Learning Lab. Initially homeless youth will be able to connect to these sites at computer labs set up specifically for them to do so at REM and at the Waterville Public Library. If successful, the initiative intends to grow these sites, creating access to computers for homeless youth in our regional community of Kennebec and Somerset counties.

    Other related updates from Donna Kelley, who oversees KBH Homeless programs

    • KBH received notice of Funding for Halcyon House Shelter Services and it was an increase over previous years.
    • Halcyon House continues to see an increase in usage and bed nights. 21 youth served in the first Quarter of the fiscal year with 473 bed nights provided. over 50% occupancy rate.
    • We were not awarded the Federal OR grant or Shelter services grant funds.
    • Tony continues with Youth Out Reach Services
    • KBH is working in partnership with MMHS to offer OR assessment intake and linkage to KBH services and subsidies for shelter residents.
    • KBH has hired a half time Adult OR position.
    • KBH received notice of a PATH funding award in partnership with Catholic Charities and other state providers. This is Homeless Outreach funding and we will be able to fund three new positions. Coverage area is Kennebec Somerset and Lincoln Counties. We will also offer support for Knox and Waldo Counties.

    Statistics on Maine homelessness Jan-Oct 2012, information supplied by Cindy Namer, Director of Homeless Initiatives MaineHousing:
    Total homeless clients - 6,446

    Kennebec County - 538 = 8%
    Female adults - 191 Female children under 18 years - 79
    Male adults - 194 Male children under 18 years - 74

    Somerset County - 69 = 1%
    Female adults - 13 Female children under 18 years - 23
    Male children under 18 years - 32
    Transgender - 1

    Educating Community


    The Education subcommittee’s vision is that “people are well informed of the issues around and realities of youth homelessness in our community”. After the REM forum last fall, the subcommittee decided to partner with the Messalonskee High School’s Mass Media program and create a video about the reality of homelessness in the school district focusing on real, local youth. Student Chelsea Oliver worked with instructor Dave Boardman to direct and film the video, the final product of which was shown at the October 18th REM Youth Homelessness full group meeting.

    Part of the Education subcommittee’s objective is to create a call to action to the community, and to help identify ways that community members can make an impact for youth in these situations. The United Way of Mid-Maine, through its “Strengthening Children, Youth & Families” Community Impact Team took on this project with a mini-grant offering to local school districts. A total of $3,400 was provided to nine school districts in UWMM’s service area – the funds were provided to a point person at each school who then used it for students who were either homeless or classified as “unaccompanied youth”. The funds were used for a variety of basic needs including backpacks filled with supplies included hygiene articles, money for transportation in order to get to school, and food. “One student was given a complete change of clothes and the school provided the cleaning service”.

    The Education committee will hopefully regroup this fall and we would like to have the video made available to a broader audience.

    Clearing House


    The local Homeless Youth Initiative, serving Kennebec and Somerset Counties, is seeking to engage local faith leaders in a collaboration to identify and support "host families" within the community that could respond to the needs of our local children and youth who are experiencing displacement and/or homelessness.

    Safe Families for Children is a nationally recognized movement/entity which provides the infrastructure and training for host families,and whose goal is to help divert youth and families from the Child Welfare system. The goal is to create a community response to temporarily support these children whose families are facing difficult times. Parents remain the guardian of the child, while their child is in the host home, and the parent(s) are working to create a stable environment in order to bring the child back into their care.

    A second aspect of this movement/initiative is the mentoring component which is provided to help decrease isolation and help build natural supports for the adults. The emphasis is to increase healthy relationships/supports which often leads to long term stability for the family.

    Safe families for Children has been partnering with many organizations and community programs in an effort to bolster the supports for youth and children in the greater Bangor area and has experienced great success using this model and has consistently grown their program and collaborative efforts since it's inception. (Programs such as the CPPC-Community Partnership for Protection for Children, Citizens Review Panel, SCAN-Suspected Child Abuse Network, PP-Penobscot Partners and many more collaborations have been excellent compliments to this work. It is our hope to see this duplicated in our community at some point. Michael Warman is the Hub Manager and contact person for that initiative and has been a great resource to those of us interested in supporting a similar initiative in this area (Michael Warman, 207-949-7448/207-991-9555 or email: mikewarman@ccbangor.org.

    Brainstorming Oct 18, 2012 for next steps

    • Teen @ teen center wants to advocate (Michelle Prince)
    • Transportation to link up Halcyon House w/community
    • What do you want/need (survey tool)
    • Monitor and assist interfaith council re: safe homes
    • Where to show film? Church groups, service clubs, school personnel, towns and municipalities
    • CATV
    • Confer and collaborate w/DC5
    • Channel 11 (Connie Ladd Lambert)
    • MMTC will be looking for professionals and youth to interview for their project (Tony &Tom)
    • How to connect with possible homeless person- brochure for community?
    • Determine where resource list will be posted
      • Link to MMTC Project—211 Rep. DC5, REM site host?
    • Good Will-Hinckley — extended housing?
    • Obtain funding ($2,000) for mentor program (Faye to co-ordinate) to send 2 persons to be trained in Massachusetts
    • Determine what pilot mentor program will cost
    • Find people to be involved with web page content - help for Mark at REM site? MMTC? maintaining site?
    • Brainstorm for ways to get the message about youth homelessness out into the community - youth advisory groups? (Ryan) Involve more youth
    • Duplicate film – add to REM site, email to everyone, CATV, have online
    • Continue working with churches - safe home possibilities
    • Facebook page for Central Maine Youth Homelessness Task Force - Mark?
    • Representatives from each committee to update what programs they are working on for PSA
    • Need to get numbers and data on homeless youth in 2 counties
    • Develop community connector program: Tony? MMTC?
    • Create posters about resources - churches, rest rooms, laundromats, etc.
    • Reconnect subcommittees to re-evaluate goals
    • E-mail Faye if you’d like to join/change group
    • Develop action plan at group meeting in November. Faye will set up Meeting Wizard to determine date that will work for most.

    Original Forum held Oct 18, 2011

    Over 80 people attended the original forum on youth homelessness that was held Oct 18, 2011 in REM Forum. Moderator Cass Hirschfelt introduced the panelists:
    • Betty Palmer - Executive Director, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter
    • Colleen Lachowicz - Director of School-Based Services, Kennebec Behavioral Health
    • Bodhi Simpson, LCPC, ATR - Program Director, Teen Parent School Program, Maine Children's Home for Little Wanderers
    • Danielle Morse, LSW, CADC, RN - Halcyon House Director, Youth and Family Services
    • Tony Veit, LSW - Youth and Family Services, Coordinator for Runaway and Homeless Youth Outreach Program
    • Yvonne Mickles - Community Services Coordinator, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child and Family Services

    Following a brief presentations by the panelists and a question and answer period, everyone at the forum began to brainstorm ideas about possible "next steps" to address this very important issue. These ideas resulted in the developed into the three initiatives listed above.

    The progress of the teams working on the initiatives will be updated and posted here on REMnet as available.


    *** Read Amy Calder's Morning Sentinel article
    on the original Oct 18, 2011 forum.

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