The Role of the Youth Engagement Team Initiatives (YETIs)
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|Youth Engagement Team Initiatives, or YETIs, are the regional work groups that bring together partners working in youth and housing services to end youth homelessness in Connecticut. They are also responsible for organizing and implementing their region’s Youth Count.|
The most vital element of an effective YETI is having the right partners to the table. Collaborators are key to creating a community plan to end youth homelessness. Members should include:
- Youth and Young Adults Service Providers
Youth and Young Adult service providers are any organization, whether non-profit or government, that offer services or programs to the 13-24 year old age group. This could include a town’s youth service bureau, regional community organizations, or youth centers at libraries.
- Runaway and Homeless Youth Service Providers
These organizations are familiar with working with homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults, such as Kids in Crisis, the Women and Families Center, etc. These programs may or may not provide shelter, housing services, or outreach.
- McKinney-Vento Liaisons from regional schools
McKinney-Vento Liaisons are in charge of providing for homeless and unstably housed students in their regions. For a full list of McKinney-Vento by town, please click here.
- Representatives from government agencies
Bringing in partners from the Department of Children and Families, Department of Education, and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is essential. These agencies have insight and resources that can strengthen the YETI considerably.
- Local community foundations invested in improving services to youth and young adults.
Community foundations that focus on investing in their community through youth and young adults or issues related to housing may be interesting in participating in the YETI. They can be a strong resource to support various initiatives of the workgroup.
- Youth and Young Adults with experience with homelessness and housing instability
Having youth and young adults with lived experience is essential to effectively planning for their need. Their knowledge helps to tailor services and programs to best meet their needs. You can read more on engaging and incorporating youth and young adults into your YETI below.
Including young people on your YETI can help you to identify key locations to plan to visit during the youth count and general outreach efforts. Youth and young adults are one of the most difficult homeless populations to identify and engage, as well as one of the most vulnerable. From their firsthand experience, youth can inform the YETI on effective engagement methods and ways to meet young people where they are in addressing their challenges.
McKinney-Vento liaisons and youth serving agencies can be helpful in identifying youth to take part in the meetings and logistics such as timing and location should be as accommodating as possible to facilitate their participation.
In order to stay updated on youth homelessness in Connecticut and create a space to share the work of YETIs across the state, CCEH has published a YETI Reports on the work of different regions alongside our newsletter.