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City to create action plan to end youth homelessness in Boston

October 10, 2017

Neighborhood Development

Published by:

Neighborhood Development

City will build capacity to research and implement a new plan

BOSTON - Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - Building on Boston's commitment to stably house all residents, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston will release a request for proposals (RFP) on Tuesday, October 10th to continue its progress in ending youth homelessness in the City of Boston. The consultant will assist the City in gathering data on homelessyouth, understanding the current system's capacity, identifying the unmet needs of youth and young adults, and designing a plan to address gaps in emergency assistance system.

"One young person who lives without a stable home is one too many," said Mayor Walsh. "Boston has been aggressive in our efforts to end homelessnessin our City, and I'm proud we have housed more than 1,200 veterans and chronically homeless individuals since 2014. As we continue to make strides, Boston's youth are not forgotten. Youth services are a patchwork of programs across City, State and private lines, and this means there needs to be a coordinated plan in place. Our RFP moves Boston closer to ensuring each and every one of our young people has a stable home that allows them to work towards a better life."
 
Through the efforts of Boston's Way Home, Mayor Walsh's initiative to end veteran and chronic homelessness, Boston has made progress in preventing and ending homelessness among single adults, including ending chronic veteran homelessness and ending nearly 2,300 combined years of homelessness. Using national and local best practices, Boston has transformed its homelessness services into a coordinated and integrated system based on Housing First principles. Building on this success, the City and its partners are now turning their focus to tackling the prevalence of homelessness among unaccompanied youth and young adults.
 
Prior to the development of the RFP, the Walsh Administration has laid the groundwork to tackle youth homelessness: in October 2016, Boston formed aYouth Homelessness Leadership Team, which will be reconvened to serve as the steering committee to support the creation of a coordinated youthhomelessness response system. This team has also identified several current gaps in the system and has created a Youth Homelessness Resource Map, which catalogs the local organizations that provide housing and services to homeless youth.
 
In addition, the City has convened a Youth Advisory Board, which assisted in the creation of the system map and has helped the Leadership Team to prioritize services needed in Boston.
 
With this team in place, Boston will now turn its focus to building an actionable plan, with consultant recommendations, to achieve its goal of ending youthhomelessness. To support this work, the City will also receive technical assistance from HUD in the development and implementation of this plan.
 
"The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless is thrilled to see the City of Boston moving forward to systematically address youth and young adult homelessness," said Kelly Turley, Associate Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. "We know that thousands of young people across Boston and the Commonwealth are experiencing homelessness, housing instability, and related trauma. By thoughtfully engaging young people, providers, advocates, community members and government officials, Mayor Walsh and Boston can serve as leaders in getting to the root causes of youthand young adult homelessness and in bringing the needed housing resources and supports to scale to end the crisis. We look forward to continuing to partner with the City in promoting housing, human rights, and human dignity. "
 
While a number of City and State agencies and community organizations work with homeless or at risk youth and young adults in Boston, these services, interventions and resources are often not designed for the unique developmental needs of youth and young adults. Agencies offer programs that do not yet function as a coordinated system, and while Boston has begun to see promising new partnerships, there is a clear need to create a similar coordinated system that led to the City's success with adult individual homelessness.
 
Creation of a coordinated plan is critical to preventing and ending homelessness among unaccompanied youth and young adults. At the end of the engagement, Boston will have a written action plan to prevent and end youth homelessness, which will:
  • Use data and analysis to inform strategies, policies and partnerships that will reduce the number of homeless youth and young adults in Boston.
  • Make recommendations for the development of a comprehensive, coordinated youth- focused homeless response system informed by best practices.
  • Establish clear goals, measurable outcomes and system performance metrics in order to track progress in implementing the plan.
  • Recommend capacity-building and resource development strategies to ensure that the plan will achieve its outcomes and have a demonstrable impact in Boston.
As it has laid the groundwork for this new effort, the City has continued to invest in resources for homeless youth and young adults. On Friday, September 22, Mayor Walsh celebrated the grand opening of Bridge Over Troubled Waters' Waverly Abbey, a $4.5 million development providing 28 units of supportive housing. The redevelopment of the former shelter was made possible in part through a $1 million grant from the Boston Neighborhood Housing Trust Fund.
 
The Request for Proposals (RFP) package for Technical Assistance for the Development of a Plan to Eliminate Youth Homelessness in the City of Boston will be available beginning at 9:00 AM on October 10, 2017 from the City's new supplier portal at www.cityofboston.gov/Procurement.
 
Membership of the Youth Homeless Leadership team includes:
  • Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Boston Youth Advisory Board Boston Public Schools
  • Boston Public Health Commission
  • Bridge Over Troubled Waters
  • Department of Neighborhood Development
  • Home for Little Wanderers
  • Justice Resource Institute
  • Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Youth
  • Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Massachusetts Department of Children and Families
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health
  • Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Youth
  • Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
  • Pine Street Inn
About Boston's Way Home
Boston's Way Home, the City of Boston's plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness, has redesigned the way Boston offers services to homeless individuals. Rather than counting on shelter as the solution to the issue, Boston has moved toward a housing-first model, where an individual's entrance into the shelter system is also their entrance to a path toward permanent, stable housing.
 
In January 2016, Mayor Walsh announced Boston had ended chronic veteran homelessness; to date, nearly 850 homeless veterans have been housed. In 2016, the City scaled up its efforts to end chronic homelessness; since January of 2016, 391 chronically homeless individuals have been housed, representing 2,300 years of homelessness ended.
 
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