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.






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.