State lawmakers want more housing for homeless youth

BOSTON (WWLP) – The homelessness rate in Massachusetts has hit a record high. 22 News spoke with state lawmakers who are taking action to protect young people without a home.

The nation’s homelessness rate is declining, but new research says homelessness is increasing here in Massachusetts. A Department of Housing and Urban Development report finds the state’s homeless population rose 14% since 2010, and it’s affecting people of all ages, especially the youth.

“To hear of a 15 year old, a 21 year old, or an 18 year old having no place to go, it’s heart wrenching,” said Robyn Frost of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Just two years ago, there were nearly 6,000 unsupervised homeless youth in the state, according to West Boylston State Representative James O’Day. He’s now pushing for legislation that would provide unaccompanied homeless youth with housing and support services.

“How can we as a Commonwealth make certain that we’re able to provide those kinds of services to these unaccompanied homeless youth so that they can finish high school, so that they can get some support services,” said West Boylston State Representative James O’Day.

Last year, O’Day and the Coalition received $150,000 dollars from the state budget to research homeless youth. O’Day hopes that this year he can get the bill passed.

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