Thursday, June 14, 2018

Boston Public Schools, Liberty Mutual Foundation Host Youth Homelessness Prevention Forum

Boston Public Schools, Liberty Mutual Foundation Host Youth Homelessness Prevention Forum
Brings Together Community, School Service Providers
BOSTON — Thursday, June 14, 2018 — Today, Boston Public Schools (BPS) and Liberty Mutual Insurance held the second-annual Youth Homelessness Prevention Forum to discuss how the district supports more than 3,000 students experiencing homelessness.
“As we work toward creating an action plan to end youth homelessness in Boston, I am proud to see the collaboration of schools and community service providers coming together to support students with housing instability," said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Together, we will continue our important work to ensure every student has a stable home that allows them to work toward achieving their dreams.”

In April, Mayor Walsh joined members of the City’s Youth Action Board to launch Rising to the Challenge: Ending Youth and Young Adult Homelessness in Boston, which is the City’s community planning process on strategies to prevent and end homelessness among youth and unaccompanied young adults.

The BPS Office of External Affairs began the Youth Homelessness Prevention Forum last year as a way to bring together companies and partners supporting this work with schools. Also last year, BPS established the Opportunity Youth Department, which helps individual schools build internal capacity to support students with issues that require individualized attention, such as homelessness, attendance, and tutoring.

“Liberty Mutual is proud to sponsor the Youth Homelessness Prevention Forum once again this year,” said Melissa M. MacDonnell, Liberty Mutual Foundation President. “The strength and spirit of the youth experiencing homelessness informs and inspires this work. We are honored to join forces with the City of Boston, Boston Public Schools, and numerous community partners to create long-lasting opportunities for young people in our city.”

Youth homelessness is a complex problem that increasingly requires intervention from schools, particularly if the students are older than 18. Community organizations such as Bridge Over Troubled Waters, Youth Harbors, Y2Y, and others, work closely with BPS to create wrap-around supports to assist students with issues such as food, clothing, and college and career mentoring.
Mayor Walsh and BPS Superintendent Tommy Chang pledged funding in the fiscal 2019 school district budget to support students experiencing homelessness for the second year in a row. The amount will total $1.8 million, which is a $500,000 increase from fiscal 2018.
“This increased support not only helps our students, but our entire city,” said Boston School Committee Chairperson Michael Loconto. “Boston Public Schools has made a commitment to invest in the future of our youth, demonstrating that they are valued and have the opportunity to excel.”
In addition to this funding source, for the past several years BPS has assisted students experiencing homelessness through the Homeless Education Resource Network (HERN), which is part of the BPS Opportunity Youth Department and has staff and volunteers dedicated to connecting students to necessary resources. For example, HERN is supporting students through expanded summer programming, which will increase choice, opportunity and inclusivity.

“We are committed to supporting our students experiencing homelessness not only because it helps with their academic success, but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Superintendent Chang. “We invest in our students because we believe in them. We know they will do amazing things in college, career, and life when we create environments that allow them to succeed.”

The Liberty Mutual Foundation has contributed nearly $4 million over the past several years to 24 Boston-based community partners. The foundation has also underwritten research and hosted multiple gatherings — all with the goal of working in partnership to reduce the number of youth who are experiencing homelessness.
Makeeba McCreary, managing director and senior advisor of the BPS Office of External Affairs, said it was important to include youth voice in today’s forum.

"It's not just about convening our partners to talk amongst themselves about an issue our young people are facing,” McCreary said. “It's important that our young people are present and heard so they can drive our programs and interventions.”

No comments:

Post a Comment