HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 364        FILED ON: 1/10/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 135


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



James J. O'Day and Katherine M. Clark


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth.






Date Added:

James J. O'Day

14th Worcester


Denise Provost

27th Middlesex


James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester


Linda Dorcena Forry

12th Suffolk


Thomas P. Conroy

13th Middlesex


Steven M. Walsh

11th Essex


Ellen Story

3rd Hampshire


William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex


Gloria L. Fox

7th Suffolk


Peter V. Kocot

1st Hampshire


Stephen Kulik

1st Franklin


Bradford Hill

4th Essex


Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex


Jennifer L. Flanagan

Worcester and Middlesex


Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden


Martin J. Walsh

13th Suffolk


Katherine M. Clark

Fifth Middlesex


Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk


James J. Dwyer

30th Middlesex


Carlos Henriquez

5th Suffolk


Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex


Elizabeth A. Poirier

14th Bristol


Carl M. Sciortino, Jr.

34th Middlesex


Louis L. Kafka

8th Norfolk


Sarah K. Peake

4th Barnstable


Lori A. Ehrlich

8th Essex


Martha M. Walz

8th Suffolk


Harriette L. Chandler

First Worcester


Kay Khan

11th Middlesex


Tom Sannicandro

7th Middlesex


Cheryl A. Coakley-Rivera

10th Hampden


Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol


Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester


Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex


Daniel A. Wolf

Cape and Islands


Cory Atkins

14th Middlesex


Brian R. Mannal

2nd Barnstable


Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex


Denise Andrews

2nd Franklin


Kenneth J. Donnelly

Fourth Middlesex


Paul Brodeur

32nd Middlesex


John P. Fresolo

16th Worcester


David M. Rogers

24th Middlesex


Alan Silvia

7th Bristol


Michael J. Barrett

Third Middlesex


John W. Scibak

2nd Hampshire


Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk


Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex


Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex


John J. Binienda

17th Worcester


Ann-Margaret Ferrante

5th Essex


Elizabeth A. Malia

11th Suffolk


Chris Walsh

6th Middlesex


Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester


Jay R. Kaufman

15th Middlesex


John F. Keenan

Norfolk and Plymouth


John J. Mahoney

13th Worcester


Karen E. Spilka

Second Middlesex and Norfolk


Carolyn C. Dykema

8th Middlesex


Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex


James T. Welch



Joseph F. Wagner

8th Hampden


Sonia Chang-Diaz

Second Suffolk


Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire


Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex


Theodore C. Speliotis

13th Essex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 364        FILED ON: 1/10/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 135

By Representative O'Day of West Boylston and Senator Clark, a joint petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 135) of James J. O'Day and others relative to  housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth.  Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act providing housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

(1) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall enter into performance-based contracts with organizations and agencies to provide housing and support services to address the needs of unaccompanied homeless youth. In entering into such contracts, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall take into consideration the recommendations of the special commission on unaccompanied youth homelessness on identifying, connecting, and serving unaccompanied youth in general, as well as unaccompanied youth under the age of 18 and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, in particular. Programs funded under this Act shall provide a continuum of housing options for this population provided on a voluntary basis in conjunction with wraparound support services, which shall include but not be limited to: emergency shelter, “kinship” home placements, short term housing and “Transition to Independent Living” programs. The funded programs shall provide unaccompanied homeless youth with a stable out-of-home placement and help to reunite the youth with the youth’s parent or legal guardian if family reunification is in the youth's best interest, and help to create educational and residential stability. Additional support services funded through these contracts may include but are not limited to: individual, family and group counseling; access to medical, dental and mental health care; education and employment services; case management, advocacy and referral services; independent living skills training; and provision of basic needs.

(2) As used in this Act, "unaccompanied homeless youth" means a person 24 years of age or younger who is not in the physical custody or care of a parent or legal guardian and who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence. "Fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence" means a dwelling at which a person resides on a regular basis that adequately provides safe shelter, sufficient for meeting both the physical and psychological needs typically met in home environments. "Fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence" does not include a publicly or privately operated institutional shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations; transitional housing; a temporary placement with a peer, friend, or family member who has not offered a permanent residence, residential lease or temporary lodging for more than 30 days; or a public or private place not designed for, nor ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. "Homeless youth" does not include a person incarcerated or otherwise detained under federal or state law.

(3) The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall establish requirements and shall contract for programs that ensure that services, as specified by this Act, are provided to homeless youth in all urban, suburban and rural areas of the state in an appropriate and responsible manner. 

(4) The Executive Office of Health and Human Services shall monitor organizations receiving funds under this Act to ensure that appropriate and high-quality services are being delivered to homeless youth, shall collect common data and outcome measures from these organizations, and shall file reports with the Clerks of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means and the Office of the Child Advocate by December 31 of each year regarding the data collected from the organizations and agencies, the incidence of youth homelessness in Massachusetts, and the status of and any change in housing, residential stability, educational stability and outcomes and well-being of homeless youth in the Commonwealth.