Special Commission's New Report and Initial Recommendations
This week, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth released its inaugural report and recommendations. The new report is available here. A brief overview of some of the commission's work and recommendations in the report is also available here. This first report includes initial recommendations on how Massachusetts can move toward ending youth homelessness and a look to some of the tasks for the months ahead.
If you are interested in learning more about the work of the commission and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Task Team, please contact Exa Méndez, Community Organizer/Legislative Advocate: firstname.lastname@example.org or Kelly Turley, Director of Legislative Advocacy, email@example.com.
Here's how you can help now:
• Please read the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Report.
• Then call your state legislators. Please share this report with your State Representative and State Senator and ask her/him to support the ongoing work of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. To find out who your legislators are, click here.
• Ask your Representative and Senator to speak to the FY'14 budget Conference Committee members and Legislative Leadership in support of including the House's recommended funding level of $150,000 in the FY'14 budget- Executive Office of Health and Human Services Administrative Line Item 4000-0300 to fund a youth homelessness count, staff the Commission, and, resources permitting, fund demonstration projects. Click here for the MA Coalition for the Homeless update of the FY'14 budget.
• Ask your legislator to sign onto a Dear Colleague letter that will be circulated next week by Representative Jim O'Day and Senator Katherine Clark in support of this budget ask for Line Item 4000 – 0300.
• Ask your legislator to attend the Joint Conference Committee on Children, Families, and People with Disabilities’ State House public hearing on July 17th on House Bill #135 “An Act Providing Housing & Support Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth” and submit testimony in support of it.
• Please also share this report broadly with colleagues, neighbors, faith community members, agencies who work with unaccompanied homeless youth in your area and friends who may be interested in getting more involved in the work to end youth homelessness.
• Find out who your Mc Kinney Vento Homeless Education Liaison is in the public school district in your town and city by contacting the Sarah Slautterback, MA Dept. of Elementary & Secondary Education – Office for the Education of Homeless Children, 781-338-6330 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can also inform you about agencies in your area who are working with unaccompanied homeless youth and how you can become involved in light of this Report from the Special Commission.
Please complete the advocacy circle. Let us know what your legislators will do.
Endorsed by the Homelessness Task Team of the MA Conference, UCC
Sister Linda Bessom
Linda Bessom, SND, is the Senior Community Organizer for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. She represents the Coalition on the MACUCC's Task Force to End Homelessness.