10 Mar

Maslow Project visits Capitol Hill

Recently, Maslow Program Supervisor Fallon Stewart, and Case Manager Kirstin Cronin attended the National Summit on Youth Homelessness in Washington D.C. The summit focused exclusively on how government agencies, policymakers, young leaders, service providers and other experts can partner together to prevent and respond to youth homelessness!

Did you know? Maslow Project Upholds & Reinforces Federal Education Law!

  • Maslow School-Based staff provide advocacy in six local school districts (that’s serving nearly 2,000 students per year!) to ensure homeless students have access to their free public education!
  • Homeless students have special rights and services under the federal Mckinney-Vento act, and the Every Student Succeeds Act such as: 
    • proper identification, immediate enrollment, full participation in school, transportation, access to meals, support services, basic needs items, safety, and daily problem solving the unique challenges that homeless youth face. 
  • Furthermore, Maslow Project assists our local districts to actively recruit and retain Mckinney-Vento students in school to every extent possible, through evaluation and revision of their policies and procedures in order to remove barriers to education!

Highlights from the Summit:

Hill Day Visits with Oregon State Senators:

  • We met individually with Senator Jeff Merkley, and with the staffers from Senator Ron Wyden’s office to deepen their understanding of the trauma and risks that homeless youth in Oregon face. 
    • We asked our Senators to support upcoming legislation that will increase access to vital outreach services, shelter, education, and housing. 
    • WHY: The passing of these bills will further strengthen Maslow Project’s ability to identify, support and serve runaway and homeless youth and prevent trauma and human trafficking of this very vulnerable population.

If you’re interested learning more about the specific bills, or how to use your voice to advocate, visit the School House Connection Policy and Advocacy Updates

Maslow Project Shares our Program and Ideas at the Summit:

Community Collaborations: Education, Housing, and Supportive Services

  • Maslow Project highlighted several successful collaborations between service providers, government agencies, early childhood programs, public schools, higher education, local systems of care and many more.
  • We believe that when multiple agencies and individuals leave their silos and come together to work toward solutions to homelessness, amazing progress can happen. 
  • We featured Maslow Project’s unique client centered model:
    • triage to support clients and meet them where they are, 
    • nurture crucial community collaborations, 
    • align altruistic leadership for dynamic cross-sector partnerships, 
    • Provide wrap-around services to homeless youth and families for long-term positive outcomes

Maslow Project Staff Certification in Human Trafficking Prevention and Intervention

We know that many young people experiencing homelessness are at-risk of being or have already experienced some form of human trafficking. As tireless advocates and allies for these young people, we can make a difference by being able to identify survivors of human trafficking and connect them to appropriate services. The certification allowed us to fine tune our program to:

  • Screen youth clients for experiences of sex and/or labor trafficking
  • Assess the needs of your trafficked youth clients
  • Appropriately serve youth who have been trafficked
  • Understand the science of trauma and its impact on our clients
  • Help staff cope with secondary trauma

More Highlights from the Summit:

National Youth Advisory Council Panel: 

We were able to meet, network with, and learn from our incredible National Youth Advisory Council! Nearly 20 youth sat on a panel and allowed the audience to ask questions on how to best include youth voice and participation in our agencies work. We walked away with many ideas to bring back to the Maslow Project – we intend to invite a youth with us next year to share in this experience at the conference! 

School House Connection Scholarship Award Ceremony! Ten youth from around the country received $2000 toward their costs for higher education! Every year we help youth apply for this scholarship, and have hope that one day we will have a Maslow Youth walk across that stage!!!

Youth Voices: A Listening Session with High School Students.
This session facilitated a discussion with ten homeless high school students from across the country – to prove a safe space to discuss the challenges that they experienced in their K-12 career, as well as the people, programs, and internal attributes that have helped them persist and achieve success. It was tearful but also reinforced the tremendous need to continue our daily work with our local homeless youth!

In addition to all of the above, we attended several summit sessions that helped us increase our knowledge and expertise around practices, resources and strategies that are most relevant to our daily work in preventing and responding to youth and young adult homelessness.