Walsh launches plan to assist homeless youth
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.”