By ALEXI COHAN | Boston Herald
Over 150 new housing units for Boston’s homeless youth will soon be available through a $4.7 million grant awarded by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development, Mayor Martin Walsh announced Thursday morning.
“With a roof over their heads, youth will be able to work on getting jobs, furthering their education, and creating the stability they need to move forward on their path to a self-sufficient future,” said Elizabeth Jackson, executive director of Bridge Over
Troubled Waters, a non-profit dedicated to serving homeless youth.
The money will be used to create 157 new units of housing for homeless youth as part of a plan called “Rising to the Challenge” that also focuses on gathering data on homeless youth, identifying unmet needs of young adults and designing a plan to address gaps in the emergency assistance system.
Four strategies will be implemented as part of the plan, including reorganizing the web of city agencies and organizations that work with the homeless, improving identification and outreach to young adults, streamlining referrals to services and adding new housing and services.
“In Boston, it’s imperative that we make sure that every young person has a safe stable place to call home,” said Walsh. “I am proud that together we are Rising to the Challenge by putting forth a plan that will guide us as we take critical next steps towards ending youth and young adult homelessness in Boston.”
The city will also be improving existing shelters and housing programs and providing more training to local nonprofits in housing, workforce development and education.
Two new positions, a housing officer and young adult homelessness director will be added to help push those goals forward.
Boston’s 2019 annual homeless census shows that on a given night, 325 youth and young adults are either sleeping in Boston’s shelters or on the street. The city’s data also shows that the average stay for young adults in Boston’s shelters is approximately two months.