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Thursday, January 31, 2019

MAYOR WALSH APPOINTS DR. LORNA RIVERA TO THE BOSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE

MAYOR WALSH APPOINTS DR. LORNA RIVERA TO THE BOSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE 


BOSTON - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Dr. Lorna Rivera to the Boston School Committee, the governing body of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Dr. Lorna Rivera is the Director of the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development & Public Policy, and an Associate Professor of Women's & Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

"A Boston Public Schools parent and an accomplished educator with an extensive background in student advancement and strengthening diverse communities, Dr. Rivera is a wonderful addition to the Boston School Committee," said Mayor Walsh. "I look forward to Lorna's valuable contributions to our students and schools as we continue to work together to create more opportunities for all students."

The seven-member Boston School Committee is responsible for defining the vision, mission and goals of the Boston Public Schools; establishing and monitoring the annual operating budget; hiring, managing and evaluating the Superintendent; and setting and reviewing district policies and practices to support student achievement.

"As the parent of a 5th grader at the Charles Sumner elementary school, I am honored to serve on the school committee, and am really looking forward to working with others to create a better future for our youth," said Dr. Rivera. "I am also an educator and education researcher who is committed to advancing Boston Public Schools' and Mayor Walsh's goals to address opportunity gaps and to support the needs of Boston's diverse student populations."

"I am very happy to welcome another parent to the Boston School Committee," said Michael Loconto, Chairperson of the Boston School Committee.  "Dr. Rivera's deep experience with the Boston Public Schools will allow her to hit the ground running and continue supporting district-wide work to close opportunity and achievement gaps."

Currently, Dr. Rivera is working on the Latinx Student Success Initiative, a partnership with Bunker Hill Community College, to improve retention and graduation rates for Latinx college students. Dr. Rivera also works with the Talented & Gifted (TAG) and Proyecto Alerta afterschool programs that serve Latinx bilingual students in the Boston Public Schools. She has extensive community service and co-founded a national nonprofit, WE LEARN, dedicated to advancing women's literacy. Dr. Rivera serves on the Advisory Boards of the Center to Support Immigrant Organizing and the Latino Education Institute, and on the Board of Directors for the Hyde Square Task Force, an arts-based youth development organization serving Afro-Latinx youth in Boston.  

Dr. Rivera's family is originally from Puerto Rico, and she was raised in Chicago and attended Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Rivera has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from DePaul University, state of Illinois licensure in Language Arts & Social Studies grades K-9, and a Masters and Doctorate in Sociology from Northeastern University. Between 1994 and 2001 she taught G.E.D. classes and also was the director of the Adult Learners Program at Project Hope in Dorchester.  

In 2001, Dr. Rivera joined the faculty at UMass Boston and her research focuses on women's and adult literacy programs, racial/ethnic health disparities, and the education of Latinx students and immigrant students. She is the author of many scholarly articles and the award-winning book, Laboring to Learn: Women's Literacy & Poverty in the Post-Welfare Era (2008, University of Illinois Press). Her research has been funded by the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, National Center for Family Literacy, and National Institutes on Health.  

Dr. Rivera has lived in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale Square neighborhoods for over 27 years, and she is the proud parent of a ten-year old boy who attends the Charles Sumner Elementary School. Dr. Rivera also formerly served as the Co-Chair of the Parent Council at the Sumner school. She lives in Roslindale.

The seven members of the School Committee are Boston residents appointed by the Mayor of Boston to serve four-year staggered terms. Mayor Walsh made these appointments based on a list of candidates recommended by a 13-member Citizens Nominating Panel composed of parents, teachers, principals, and representatives of business and higher education. Under the legislation that established the appointed School Committee, "the Mayor shall strive to appoint individuals who reflect the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the city." In December, Mayor Walsh appointed Quoc Tran and reappointed Jeri Robinson to the Boston School Committee.

For more information on the School Committee, please visit here.

MAYOR WALSH LEADS 39TH ANNUAL HOMELESS CENSUS

MAYOR WALSH LEADS 39TH ANNUAL HOMELESS CENSUS
Yearly count of Boston's homeless individuals guides the City's housing efforts
BOSTON - Thursday, January 31, 2019 - On Wednesday night, Mayor Martin J. Walsh led a group of hundreds of volunteers, including City and State officials, community and civic leaders, and homeless providers in conducting the City's 39th annual homeless census. The street count is part of a larger census of homeless adults and families in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and domestic violence programs. The results from this year's homeless census will be available in the coming months.

"We have prioritized ending chronic homelessness since day one, and making sure that everyone has a place to call home," said Mayor Walsh. "Besides providing critical insight to guide our efforts to end homelessness while offering immediately assistance to individuals in need of shelter, the homeless census is always an opportunity to embrace who we are as a community, the values we share, and how deeply we care about one another."

In 2017, Boston was identified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the city with the lowest percentage of unsheltered people living on the street of any city conducting a census. Last year, less than three percent of Boston's homeless population was sleeping on the street. The annual homeless census is required by HUD as a key component of Boston's $26 million federal grant.

This year, 330 volunteers canvassed 45 areas covering every neighborhood, Logan Airport, and the transit and parks systems. Volunteers canvassed their assigned areas, identified those sleeping on the street, and conducted a short survey. The surveys will be closely analyzed to ensure accuracy, and will be cross-checked and combined with the results of the simultaneous shelter count.

The night the 2018 Annual Homeless Census was conducted, 1,779 individuals were using Boston's Emergency Shelter system, compared to 1,762 in 2017. Boston also saw a decrease of more than 12 percent in the number of individuals sleeping on the street. In January 2018, there were 163 individuals sleeping on the street, as opposed to 186 in January 2017. Nationally, the number of unsheltered homeless has increased by 9 percent. There were no families staying on the streets or unsheltered in Boston on the night of the census.

Boston's Way Home, the City's plan to end chronic and veteran homelessness prioritizes the housing first approach, meaning that when a person enters into the shelter system they begin a path toward permanent and stable housing. Since the plan's launch in 2015, City agencies and community partners have dramatically redesigned the way services are delivered to homeless individuals, increasing resources devoted to housing and deploying new technologies to match formerly homeless people with housing and services.

Since the launch Boston's Way Home, the City has:
  • Housed 667 chronically homeless individuals, representing more than 4,000 years of homelessness ended. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines chronically homeless individuals as adults with a disability who have been either living in an emergency shelter or in a place not meant for human habitation continuously for 12 months or more, or who have had four occasions of homelessness in the past three years that total 12 months or more.)
  • Reduced chronic homelessness in Boston by 20 percent from 2016 to 2018, and by 46 percent from 2008 to 2018
  • Housed 915 homeless veterans and ended chronic homelessness among veterans
  • Reduced the number of homeless veterans in Boston on a single night by 37 percent since 2015 and by 48 percent over the past 4 years
  • Partnered with six affordable housing owners in Boston to create a homeless veteran preference within their housing
  • Announced an action plan to support young Bostonians experiencing homelessness Received $5 million in donations to build 200 new units of supportive, long-term housing for chronically homeless men in women through Boston's Way Home Fund

The City of Boston recently received a  $26.3 million federal grant to support Boston's homelessness programs. Boston was awarded the funding as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the results of its annual 2018 McKinney Homeless Continuum of Care funding competition. The award will be use to help end chronic and veteran homelessness in the City.

Mayor Walsh recently announced his legislative package submitted to the Massachusetts Legislature to create greater opportunity for all residents in the Commonwealth. The  bills related to housing security would prevent homelessness by helping existing tenants, particularly older adults, remain in their homes, and create additional funding for affordable housing. This work builds off Boston's commitment to ensuring all communities have affordable and equitable housing options.

Baker-Polito Administration Highlight Plan to End Youth Homelessness

Baker-Polito Administration Highlight Plan to End Youth Homelessness
Awards grants to 10 local providers, announces college housing pilot for homeless students

FRAMINGHAM – During an event today at Framingham State University, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito highlighted a comprehensive plan to end youth homelessness in the Commonwealth, announced funding to local providers and a new housing pilot to support homeless youth. Joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Executive Director of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) Linn Torto, Commissioner of Higher Education Carlos Santiago and Framingham State President Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, the administration outlined how the Commonwealth will help connect homeless youth with education, employment, and housing supports and services.

“Our Administration has taken a targeted approach to addressing homelessness across the Commonwealth over the last several years, and this pilot program serves as another important tool,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with our community colleges and state universities to implement this program to give students a stable place to live so they can thrive academically and have access to the necessary supports in their own communities that will help them continue their path to self-sufficiency.”

“Preventing and ending youth homelessness is a top priority for offices throughout our administration,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our budget proposal for FY20 continues the highest commitment ever to address youth homelessness so that we can continue to intervene and work with local partners and leaders on college Campuses across Massachusetts to implement the type of support services needed for young people experiencing a crises.”

The Baker-Polito Administration has made a commitment to assisting the state’s most vulnerable populations, including homeless youth, families and individuals.  Governor Baker convened the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH) which serves as the body responsible for implementing the plan to prevent and end homelessness. ICHH works on several initiatives increasing effectiveness and collaboration among state agencies and with community partners to ensure every person has a safe, affordable place to call home. Across the United States, there are an estimated 1.7 million - 4.2 million unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness. In Massachusetts, it is estimated that there are at least 1,800 young adults every year who experience homelessness. Among unaccompanied homeless youth, students who are enrolled in the state’s colleges and universities represent a population of unique interest and growing concern. 

“The $3 million in funding to ten community partners throughout the state will help youth and young adults with the supports they need to prevent or end homelessness,”said Secretary of Health and Human Services, and co-chair of the ICHH, Marylou Sudders. “Homeless youth and young adults should have the same opportunities provided to them as others to help them succeed.”

The 10 community partners will address youth and young adult homelessness in a variety of ways, targeted to meet the specific demographic and geographic needs of each region. Funds can be used for housing, transportation, education and case management support. Each region has developed a winter response for youth who are without housing during the cold months as well as specific strategies to address the unique needs of undocumented, unaccompanied youth.


Grantee
Service Area
Grant Total
Community Action Pioneer Valley

Tri-County (Berkshire, Franklin & Hampshire counties)
$325,000
City of Springfield

Hampden County
$316,089
L.U.K. Crisis Center

Worcester County
$325,000
Catholic  Social Services of Fall River
Bristol County
$300,000
County of Barnstable

Cape Cod & Islands (Barnstable, Dukes & Nantucket counties)
$232,841
Father Bill’s and MainSpring

Plymouth & East Norfolk counties
$300,000
Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development

Essex County
$325,000
Community Teamwork
North Middlesex County
$325,000
South Middlesex Opportunity Council

Metro West (South Middlesex & West Norfolk counties)
$272,340
Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Metro Boston (Boston, Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Melrose, Milton, Newton, Revere, Somerville, Waltham, Watertown, Winthrop)
$325,000


The Baker-Polito Administration also announced today the Massachusetts Student Housing Security Pilot to provide dorm rooms to homeless students attending community college.  The Pilot launched at the following four campus sites earlier this month in partnership with a local community colleges: 
                 Bridgewater State University & Massasoit Community College
                 Framingham State University & MassBay Community College
                 Worcester State University & Quinsigamond Community College
                 UMass Lowell & Middlesex Community College

Each of the four-year institutions will make up to five beds available for students experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity. To participate students must be:
                 Enrolled full-time in a public college or university participating in the pilot.
                 Degree-seeking and in good academic standing as defined by home institution.
                 Age 25 or younger.
                 Referred by campus staff or community service provider, or self-applied.

“A college degree is a proven pathway out of poverty. We are hopeful this housing pilot will provide a stable place for students to live so they can thrive academically, obtain their degrees, and change their lives. Together with Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, who has spearheaded this work, I wish to thank the community colleges and state universities that have partnered to help these students,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.

Campuses will be reimbursed by the state for the cost of the dorm bed occupancy for an 18-month period, for the remainder of fiscal year 2019 through fiscal year 2020, including all summer and semester breaks. Campuses will cover the cost of providing meals and snacks for students, with support from local service providers where available.

“College life is challenging enough without having to worry about how you will pay for your next meal or where you are going to sleep at night,” said Framingham State University President F. Javier Cevallos. “The new housing security pilot is designed to eliminate this burden for our most vulnerable students so they can focus on earning their degree, which is the key to a financially-secure future.”

Massachusetts developed a plan to address unaccompanied Homeless Youth that included interviews and focus groups with homeless youth, feedback from state and local provider partners, and data reviews. The six recommendations include:
1.     Implementing a coordinated statewide response to youth homelessness;
2.     Expanding the current spectrum of accountable and evidence informed models of housing and services;
3.     Enhancing early identification, connection, and outreach systems to assist homeless young people as they transition from high school to college. Liaisons from local school districts and student affairs staff from local campuses held their first convening at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in November, in a bid to share resources and become better equipped to help young people access available resources and support in higher education.
4.     Improving education, employment, and credentialing opportunities in order to support young people’s access to long-term, sustainable employment and income;
5.     Creating systematic outcome measurement systems and data sharing opportunities; and
6.     Creating a structure to support authentic youth and young adult involvement statewide.

“Youth and young adult homelessness can be solved with targeted and incremental investment in the housing and services tailored to their needs,” said Linn Torto, Executive Director of the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. “The funding for homeless and at risk youth will be dedicated to developing a network of interventions, services and housing models in each region of the state so that every young adult who experiences homelessness will have timely access to emergency and transitional support.”

“Ensuring our young adults are able to study, gain skills, and prepare for a meaningful career is paramount,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “This new initiative is an important addition to the network of supportive services and efforts to ensure all Massachusetts residents have access to safe, stable, and affordable housing. We will continue to work with our partners at the Executive Offices of Education and Health and Human Services to provide support to our most vulnerable communities and ensure they have the resources to succeed.”

January 2018 point-in-time count conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identified 20,068 individuals in Massachusetts who experienced homelessness. In 2018, Massachusetts welcomed thousands of evacuees from Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. This influx, with more than 600 households living in hotel shelter through the Massachusetts Evacuee Transitional Assistance Reserve (METAR) program, increased the point-in-time count. Since January 2018, METAR and partners worked closely with evacuee households to find permanent housing or assist in their return to Puerto Rico. Before the METAR program ended in early January 2019, there were less than 30 households still living in shelter, and more than 90% of households living in hotel shelter had already transitioned to long-term housing solutions.

The Baker-Polito Administration has also made reducing the state’s reliance on hotels and motels as shelter for homeless families a high priority. At the beginning of the Baker-Polito Administration, there were 1,557 families in more than 40 hotel and motels and as of January 29, 2019, there were less than 30 families living in just one motel. Massachusetts has seen a 98% decrease in families living in motels and hotels, and a 20% decrees in overall caseload since the beginning of the Administration. Beside a one-year increase in family homelessness due to an influx of refugees from Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria, Massachusetts has seen a decline in family homelessness since 2015.

To learn more about the plan or the interagency council on housing and homelessness please visit the ICHH website.

兩馬來西亞華人被控企圖非法走私槍枝到香港

MALAYSIAN NATIONALS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO ILLEGALLY EXPORT FIREARMS
AND FIREARM PARTS TO HONG KONG

BOSTON – Two Malaysian nationals were arrested today and charged with conspiring to illegally export firearms and firearm parts from the United States to an individual located in Hong Kong, China.

Lionel Chan, 35, who resided in Brighton, Mass., and Muhammad Radzi, 26, who resided in Brooklyn, N.Y., were each charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act. Chan was also charged with one count of obstruction of justice. Chan will appear this afternoon in federal court in Boston and Radzi will appear in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.

According to the criminal complaint, beginning in or around March 2018, Chan began purchasing a variety of U.S.-origin firearm parts, including parts used to assemble AR-15 assault rifles and 9MM semi-automatic handguns, at the request of a buyer in Hong Kong. Chan purchased the parts online through a variety of websites, including eBay and gunbroker.com.  These firearm parts are restricted items and cannot be exported from the United States without a license. Nevertheless, Chan allegedly shipped the firearm parts via Federal Express to the buyer in Hong Kong without first obtaining the necessary export licenses. Chan intentionally concealed the contents of the shipments by providing false descriptions of the items contained in each shipment and by concealing the parts inside the package. For example, in one text exchange, Chan and the Hong Kong buyer discussed how to illegally ship a Glock 19 semi-automatic handgun. The Hong Kong buyer wrote, “this is how we are shipping the Glock 19 and USP compact barrel. I usually stuff them into a pair of sneakers, and cover it with Doritos or chips.”  Between March and May 2018, Chan shipped 12 packages from Brighton, Mass., to the buyer in Hong Kong.

In or around April 2018, Radzi allegedly joined the conspiracy and began illegally exporting firearm parts to Hong Kong as well. Between May and October 2018, Radzi allegedly shipped 21 packages from Brooklyn, N.Y., to the buyer in Hong Kong. In October 2018, two of those packages were interdicted by Hong Kong authorities and found to contain numerous firearms parts, including a firing pin and gun sight, which were export-controlled. Like Chan, Radzi failed to obtain an export license for any of these shipments.

Chan allegedly obstructed justice by deleting numerous text messages relating to illegally exporting firearms during a flight from Dublin, Ireland, to Boston, Mass. 

The charge of conspiring to illegally export firearms provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, one year of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The charge of obstructing justice provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew Lelling and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement. The Massachusetts State Police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection also assisted in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys George P. Varghese and Jason A. Casey of Lelling’s National Security Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.