Youth Homelessness On the Rise in Somerville
Somerville, Mass. - Youth homelessness is on the rise; at least 25 Somerville students are homeless. Some 13,000 students are homeless in Massachusetts, according to the state Department of Education.
“We think this [number] is underestimated,” Somerville Parent Information Director Regina Bertholdo told the Somerville Neighborhood News, especially when it comes to what are called “unaccompanied youth.” “They are scattered, they are everywhere. They could be on the streets. They could be couch-surfing. And not everybody steps up and says that they are homeless,” she said.
But 18-year-old Annette Cleary did step up. The death of her father, a move across the country, and arguments with her mother landed Cleary on the streets and then in a shelter. “I wish I could start it all over again,” she said. “I don’t wish this upon anybody.”
Today Cleary lives at Short Stop’s house in Somerville, where she is getting her life back on track. She’s enrolled in a cosmetology school and looks forward to getting her own apartment.
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville) is worried about young people like Cleary who end up dropping out of school, or worse. “I am deeply concerned that many of these young people will not have much of a future unless there are stronger efforts now to understand their situation and create a better life for them,” Rep. Provost said.
Provost and her allies are working to pass a bill (HR 469) that would more accurately count the number of homeless students, assess their well-being, and help them get the services they need.
This Somerville Neighborhood News segment is special to Open Media Boston. It originally aired on March 25, 2014 on Somerville Community Access Television. For more information on SNN, visit them on Facebook - http://bit.ly/SvilleNews. Or their website - http://www.scatvsomerville.org/snn.