Delegates to the Massachusetts Conference's 212th Annual Meeting last month not only passed a resolution on ending homelessness among youth - they also took immediate action, filling out 500 postcards calling on state legislators to address the issue. On July 19, those postcards were delivered to the chairs of the Joint Conference Committee on the FY12 Budget by representatives of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.
The coaltion had been urging the passage of House Bill #1862, "An Act Providing Housing & Support Services for Unaccompanied Youth." In addition to delivering the pocstcards, MACUCC Homeless Task Team Chair the Rev. Dr. Fran Bogle and task team member Sister Linda Bessom also delivered testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, which held a public hearing on the bill. (Read the testimony here.)
"Although the Joint Conference Committee on the FY’12 State Budget did NOT include in their final version of the budget the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Youth as we requested, the 500 postcards that came from the delegates (from more than 120 different UCC congregations) all across the state, certainly put the Joint Conference Committee on notice that this compelling issue of providing housing and support services to unaccompanied youth and young adults MUST be part of the Commonwealth’s plan to end homelessness," Bogle said.
Bogle said it is likely that the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities will separate out the part of the bill that talks about creating a Special Commission to address the barriers and improve services to youth 18 and under and young adults 19-22, allowing the rest of the bill - which will provide housing and support services - to be signed into law as soon as possible. To read the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless fact sheet on House Bill #1862, click here.
1. Join our Task Team to help implement the 2011 Resolution to End Homelessness among Youth and Young Adults; or share ideas you have on the implementation of this Resolution (Rev. Fran Bogle, FBOG@aol.com or Sister Linda Bessom SND, Linda@mahomeless.org, 781-595-7570 x 18).
2. Share what your church is already doing in assisting youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in your area.
3. Host a presentation at your church, group, clergy association on this issue of unaccompanied youth and how you can become involved locally in direct service with youth providers and on-going advocacy to move House Bill #1862 forward in getting passed by the state legislature.
4. Receive a packet of materials handed out at Annual Meeting at the hearing for the Resolution on Ending Homelessness among Youth and Young Adults.
5. Consider putting something in your local newspaper about the Resolution to End Homelessness among Youth and Young Adults. The Task Team will help you.
Users of this website are invited to post comments in response to news articles and blog posts published here. In order to maintain a respectful community, we insist that comments be polite, respectful and tolerant of opposing viewpoints. We reserve the right to remove comments that are hostile, hateful or abusive to others, or that constitute personal attacks. In the interest of transparency, we highly recommend that users comment using their full names. For those who feel a need for more anonymity, however, we will allow posts using first names and last initial.