Special Projects

We help organizations solve complex problems in a way that’s customized, collaborative and action-oriented.

Working on capacity-building? Fund development? Program evaluation? Identifying and implementing a new evidence-based model? Need to do something you frankly have no idea how to do? One of our staff would love to talk about it with you.

Call us at (802) 425-3006 for a free 20-minute consultation.

What We Do

Special projects are an opportunity to bring YC’s experts onto your team, whether for one ‘inning’ or a whole season. Our work with partners in Connecticut’s Homeless Youth Work Group is one example.

The project. In 2014, Melville Charitable Trust provided funding for Opening Doors–CT to undergo a comprehensive planning project aimed at designing an integrated service system for homeless and unstably housed youth and young adults. The effort was launched by Partnership for Strong Communities and the Center for Children’s Advocacy in order to build service capacity and integration for homeless youth across the state. Youth Catalytics managed this collective impact planning process with three cross-sector work groups – data integration, housing, and services and supports – from February to December of 2014.

Over a dozen facilitated sessions led to creation of a written plan grounded in the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness’s research-informed intervention model, evolving knowledge and data from the field, and larger system change efforts across Connecticut. The project engaged a wide range of stakeholders, including youth, and assisted partners in creating a comprehensive, action-oriented plan that concretely addresses young people’s needs for housing, permanency, employment, education, and social-emotional well-being.

The tools. In order to understand the array of transitional support services currently available to young people ages 14-24 in Connecticut, the Services and Supports Work Group created an online map of educational, health and social services throughout the state targeted to youth. The purpose was to understand the range of existing services; their target populations and eligibility criteria; and their geographical locations. The map was a planning tool that could inform the work group’s understanding of the support landscape for young people in need of stable housing and related services. Click here to view the map – a publicly accessible ‘wiki’ product that can be edited and augmented by users.

The products. In March 2015, partners released a final version of the project’s Opening Doors for Youth plan. This plan included strategies for creating tools to identify, screen and refer youth in need; expand direct services and housing support; improve training and technical assistance for providers; improve data collection and use; and advocate for policy changes. In addition, it highlighted the need to hire a statewide youth and young adult housing services coordinator, and establish funding and transparency mechanisms for all services directed at youth experiencing housing instability in the state.

While the plan was being developed, data workgroup members simultaneously designed and implemented Connecticut’s first-ever statewide homeless youth count, which took place during the annual Point-in-Time Count in January/February of 2015. In support of this process, Youth Catalytics shared national best practices for counting youth populations, its own experience piloting school-based homeless youth estimation surveys, and comparative data across ten proposed geographic focus areas in Connecticut. The results of this statewide count are detailed in Connecticut Counts: 2015 Report on Homelessness in Connecticut.

For more information, contact project coordinator Jen Smith.

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