Homeless Youth on the Rise in Somervilleby Somerville Neighborhood News
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 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.
Somerville Neighborhood News is a production of Somerville Community Access Television, made by professional journalists, volunteers and staff. The half-hour news show has as its mission to provide a lively, informative newscast focusing on the events, issues and information impacting Somerville residents.