BOSTON, Mass.—Today, Governor Patrick signed into law the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth bill which defines who is an unaccompanied homeless youth and instructs the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to enter into contracts to provide housing and supports for these young people ages 24 and below. The bill also paves the way for implementing services aimed at improving the physical, mental and educational outcomes for homeless youth. Carly Burton, interim co-executive director for MassEquality, offered the following statement on the bill’s passage:
“Many thanks to Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo, Rep. James O’Day and the other leaders in the Senate and 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.” [pullquote]“Many thanks to Governor Patrick, Senate President Murray, Speaker DeLeo, Rep. James O’Day and the other leaders in the Senate and House who worked together for the common good of unaccompanied homeless youth. …”—Carly Burton, interim co-executive director for MassEquality[/pullquote]
Nearly 40 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. MassEquality has worked tirelessly with policymakers, other advocates and service providers through its seat on the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness to research and build a consensus around programs and services needed to support these young people to live up to their potential.
MassEquality is the leading statewide grassroots advocacy organization working to ensure that everyone across Massachusetts can thrive from cradle to grave without discrimination and oppression based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
[From a News Release]