Walsh launches plan to as­sist home­less youth

Boston Herald - - NEWS - By KATH­LEEN McKIERNAN — kath­leen.mckiernan@boston­her­ald.com Jennifer Miller con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh is launch­ing an effort to get Bos­ton’s home­less youth into hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and jobs.

The city is tap­ping Matthew Aron­son, who for­merly worked for the U.S. Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban Devel­op­ment, and a team of con­sul­tants to cre­ate a plan for young home­less peo­ple. The team is charged with help­ing the city gather data on youth home­less­ness, gaug­ing the cur­rent sys­tem’s ca­pac­ity, iden­ti­fy­ing their needs and de­sign­ing a plan to ad­dress any gaps.

There are some 3,000 home­less kids in Bos­ton Pub­lic Schools.

“We have to do more on youth home­less­ness,” Walsh said on Bos­ton Her­ald Ra­dio. “We have a high num­ber of home­less kids in our sys­tem. We have teenagers in the city who are runaways or who got thrown out of their homes or for what­ever rea­son, and we’re go­ing to be work­ing more around how do we help young peo­ple on the streets get into pro­gram­ming. Some of those kids are ad­dicts. Some of those kids have men­tal ill­ness. Some of those kids are runaways. We’re work­ing to have a better sys­tem, pro­gram to ad­dress the gaps in the emer­gency shel­ter sys­tem so we don’t miss these kids. We don’t want to lose these kids to the streets for­ever.”

“We en­vi­sion a future where Bos­ton ef­fec­tively ends home­less­ness and hous­ing in­sta­bil­ity among youth and young adults,” Aron­son said in a state­ment re­leased by the city. “We are thrilled to have been cho­sen for this work, and we be­lieve that we will be able to de­velop a plan that en­sures ev­ery youth or young adult fac­ing home­less­ness is safe, sup­ported and able to fully uti­lize their strengths. We be­lieve in a future where ev­ery youth and young adult has ac­cess to ef­fec­tive and co­or­di­nated hous­ing, ed­u­ca­tion, em­ploy­ment and healthre­lated re­sources.”

A for­merly home­less Bos­ton teen at ABCD Univer­sity High told the Her­ald the city should in­vest in get­ting kids sup­ports to get on their feet again.

“I be­lieve Marty Walsh should con­cen­trate on fund­ing as many pro­grams that help teens. We need more tools. We need men­tal health sup­port,” said the stu­dent, who de­clined to use his name. “You can give any­one a tool to make it, but as long as their mind is not in the right place, they won’t be able to move for­ward.”

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