“Path to Help” campaign focuses on programs for homeless youth

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – The state has launched a program to help provide services to youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability.

The Baker-Polito Administration, with the MA Commission on Unaccompanied and Homeless Youth announced “Path to Help”, a statewide public awareness campaign to encourage youth and young adults without a safe or stable place to stay to reach out for help. They will be connected to trustworthy and reliable resources designed specifically to address youth.

“Path to Help” will run through the holidays into January to raise awareness and support for programs that work to prevent and end youth homelessness in Massachusetts.

The Homeless Youth Awareness and Connection Campaign is part of the MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ (EOHHS) implementation of the MA Plan to End Youth Homelessness In 2021, EOHHS dedicated  $8 million to provide emergency shelter and housing, outreach, case management, prevention and housing stabilization, college support, and other vital services to this vulnerable population.

Every year, approximately 3,800 unaccompanied youth and young adults are identified in Massachusetts as experiencing homelessness. These young people find themselves couch surfing, sleeping on the streets, or staying in shelters because home isn’t safe, home isn’t supportive, or home doesn’t exist. Some young adults do not reach out for help for many months or years, for reasons that include not knowing that help exists, not thinking of themselves as qualifying for support, or just not wanting anyone to know their situation.

Housing insecurity among this population has increased due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 2020, youth have endured crises stemming from being out of school buildings, losing access to regular connections and supports, extreme isolation and escalating tensions at home. Through targeted prevention strategies and early intervention programs, organizations across the state are working to support youth in crisis and prevent and end youth homelessness.

Every region in Massachusetts has emergency shelter and housing set aside specifically for young adults, in addition to the existing adult shelter system. A complete list of locations of young adult emergency beds and housing stabilization supports plus other state-funded resources for young adults may be found on the campaign webpage mass.gov/PathToHelp.

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