Mayor Marty Walsh is tackling the issue of youth homelessness in Boston.
Walsh will create an action plan to end youth homelessness, his office announced Tuesday, and as part of that effort, Boston is seeking a consultant to gather data on homeless youth, understand the current system, identify the “unmet needs” of youth and young adults and design a plan that will address current emergency assistance gaps.
“One young person who lives without a stable home is one too many,” Walsh said in a statement. “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.”
The city released the request for proposals for the consultant on Tuesday, an action that Walsh said “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.”
The number of homeless youths in Boston isn’t exactly known, but within the Boston Public School system alone, there are more than 3,000 homeless students.
In Oct. 2016, the city created the Youth Homelessness Leadership Team, which will now reconvene, Walsh announced, as the steering committee of a “coordinated youth homelessness response system.” The city has also assembled a Youth Advisory Board to prioritize services.
The next step is to create a written action plan, the city said, that establishes clear goals and uses data to inform strategies, policies and partnerships that can prevent and end youth homelessness.
“We know that thousands of young people across Boston and the Commonwealth are experiencing homelessness, housing instability, and related trauma,” said Kelly Turley, Associate Director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, in a statement. “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 youth and young adult homelessness and in bringing the needed housing resources and supports to scale to end the crisis.”