On October 16, 2019, Steadfast hosted a Frederick Youth Homelessness Roundtable, an Open Exchange of Ideas. In order to explore how the youth are served, Steadfast invited representatives from a wide variety of service providers, organizations, and groups who are concerned with the issues faced by unaccompanied homeless youth in Frederick.
The panel for the discussion was comprised of representatives from – the Housing Authority of the City of Frederick, Frederick County Public Schools (Mental Health Coordinator and Homeless Education Program Administrator) , Student Homeless Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) non profit, Frederick County Office for Children and Families, and Family Partnership of Frederick County. Participants included several other Frederick County and State agencies as well as non profits. The discussion was organized around the Core Outcomes documented by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness; Stable housing, Permanent Connections, Education/Employment and Social-Emotional Well-being.
The roundtable provided a great opportunity for organizations in Frederick County to come together in a collaborative atmosphere to discuss issues and provide insight into resources that support, or could potentially support, the unaccompanied youth homeless population. Additionally, the discussion brought out areas where there may be a lack or gap in resources. It was clear our community has a unified passion around helping these youth and working toward resolving their unique issues. “I think, as well as many of participants would agree, that the roundtable was a great success and we touched on many key issues with youth homelessness and what we can provide going forward in conjunction with other organizations” stated Cindy Morgan, Executive Director of Steadfast. ” Mostly we are all affecting change for our youth and together we can make a difference in our community.”
Steadfast participated in the annual In The Streets Festival in downtown Frederick. The event included various entertainers, food vendors, for profit and non profit organizations showcasing the variety of services available in Frederick County. “It was a great opportunity to gain recognition in the County and introduce the Steadfast mission” said Cindy Morgan, Founder and Executive Director. “It was a really great experience for us and we received overwhelming support and interest in our organization. This was our first big interaction with the community and it was a wonderful reinforcement for the need in aiding our unaccompanied homeless youth.”
Maryland House Bill 0911 was introduced by the Judiciary committee on February 08, 2019. Initially the bill was titled Unaccompanied Minors in Need of Shelter-Consent to Shelter and Supportive Services. This legislation was drafted to produce a law that would allow unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 to sign for themselves for housing and services with certain conditions. While in committee and reviewed by both the House and Senate as cross bill SB 0930 the proposed bill was altered as both the House and Senate wanted a further study on the issues at hand. The revised bill called for a Workgroup to be formed with the intent to model legislation that would outline the needs, regulations and oversight of the law. Both Cindy Morgan and Nancy Wilson representing Steadfast attended the final workshop to provide Steadfast’s support of the bill.
Steadfast will be hosting the first non profit roundtable concerning youth homelessness in Frederick County. The goal of the roundtable will be to discuss challenges facing homeless youth as well as services needed and how those services are being met by local and state government departments as well as non profit organizations. It will also serve as a chance for the non profits to build relationships and support for all. The unaccompanied youth is a tough group to gather information on for many reasons.” It is important that we, together, get a better understanding of the extent of youth homelessness in Frederick County and the services needed to help those youth” stated Cindy Morgan Founder and Executive Director of Steadfast. ” As an organization we felt that this was the best way for us to better define Steadfast and how we can best serve the community and work with other organizations.” The Roundtable will be held on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.