(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.
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.