Happy Thanksgiving, and an update on Y2Y New Haven

Hey YHHAP-ers!

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving. Most of you probably won't be reading this on Thanksgiving Day, but in the days and weeks that follow we still hope you'll take the time to reflect on the things for which you're thankful, and then the things you wish to change. As the cold and the lethargy set in and exams become a looming priority, please don't forget that your help and activism is still important and necessary in the New Haven community. Again, happy turkey day (or tofurkey, whatever floats your boat), and check out Becca's post below on a relatively new project, Y2Y New Haven!

-Emily, YHHAP Communications Chair

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Y2Y New Haven, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the newest and potentially largest projects to come out of YHHAP.  The project is still in the feasibility stage, but there is a lot of momentum and great progress being made by the Y2Y New Haven team.

In order to give some context as to how this project came about, I thought that including a history would be useful.

In 2015, students on the Advocacy Board of the YHHAP began meeting with the leaders of Y2Y Harvard Square, a shelter for homeless youth run by Harvard students, to discuss the possibility of implementing a similar program in New Haven. At around the same time, the Advocacy Board members were having discussions with service providers and the city of New Haven about the need for youth shelters in the city. One of the organizations they reached out to, Youth Continuum, a community-based non-profit focusing on those ages 14 to 24, who are homeless or in state care, noted an interest in working with the students to create a youth shelter based on the Y2Y model.

Since then, the students on the Advocacy Board have brought on other interested students to help them. They have all worked closely with both Youth Continuum and Y2Y Harvard Square to determine the feasibility of a youth shelter at the Youth Continuum. Y2Y Harvard Square has offered incredible support and has even devoted a staff member to assist the Yale students and the Youth Continuum in beginning this project. The students working on Y2Y New Haven hope to adapt the successful Y2Y Harvard Square model for the specific needs of the New Haven community.

Y2Y Harvard Square was founded by two students in the Harvard College Class of 2014.  After working at the well established Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, these students realized that there were more interested volunteers than available positions at the shelter. Wanting to find a way to get these extra volunteers involved in meaningful service the the community, a long feasibility study was conducted. The students determined that the ideal way for university students in the greater Cambridge community to help meet the needs of the community would be to create a shelter dedicated to meeting the unique needs of homeless young adults. Since then, this group has grown to include graduate students, faculty, advocates, community members, and service providers working together to make our vision a reality: a network of communities where all young adults experiencing homelessness have a safe place to rest, grow, and lead.

Currently the Y2Y New Haven team is continuing to meet with community partners to get advice and build community support. They are also hosting panels and film screenings to raise awareness around campus about youth homelessness, mapping services already available in the community, and are continuing to meet with Y2Y Harvard Square and the Youth Continuum. The team is now made up of a five member board and five workstreams: Publicity, Community Outreach, Fundraising, Research, and Advocacy. 

-Becca Schapiro, YHHAP Outreach Advocacy Chair