Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Massachusetts Homeless Youth Bill

With almost 40 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth bill which defines who is an unaccompanied homeless youth & instructs the Executive Office of Health & Human Services to enter into contracts to provide housing & supports for these young people ages 24 and below. The bill also paves the way for implementing services aimed at improving the physical, mental & educational outcomes for homeless youth. Carly Burton, Interim Co-Executive Director for MassEquality stated, “Many thanks to Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo, Rep. James O’Day & the other leaders in the Senate & House who worked together for the common good of unaccompanied homeless youth. We also appreciate the tireless effort of the Massachusetts Coalition of the Homeless on ensuring this bill became a reality. This law will go a long way to ensure that this specific population has the necessary supports to make a healthy transition into adulthood. Once again, the Commonwealth is passing legislation that will set the standard for other states attempting to address unaccompanied youth homelessness.” The LGBT org MassEquality has worked tirelessly with policymakers, other advocates & service providers through its seat on the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness to research & build a consensus around programs & services needed to support these young people to live up to their potential.
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