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City Of Boston Announces New Push To End Youth Homelessness

The City of Boston announced Tuesday a new effort to reduce its number of homeless children and young adults.

City officials said in a statement that it intends to soon hire a consultant who will be charged with pinpointing the number of youths and young adults struggling with housing security in Boston.

The consultant would then develop a plan — within an intended timeline of six to seven months — to address the individuals' housing and additional needs, according to Sheila Dillon, Boston's chief of housing. She added that part of the initiative's goal is to offer youths a range of support, from enrolling them in school to connecting them with addiction treatment, if needed.

"We have the opportunity to reach them at a young age and correct their trajectory, correct their path," Dillon said.

However, she explained that tracking down young people grappling with homelessness can be a particular challenge because often "they stay on friends' couches, they bounce from place to place. ... They're very mobile."

Dillon said potential solutions may exist through better collaboration between existing non-profits and city officials.

The initiative comes after city efforts over the past three years to treat chronic homelessness, in particular among military veterans. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement that the city has helped more than 1,200 veterans and chronically homeless individuals get housing since 2014.

"One young person who lives without a stable home is one too many," he said.

Jonathan Cain Twitter Senior Supervising Producer, All Things Considered
Jonathan Cain produces WBUR's All Things Considered and afternoon newscasts. He came to WBUR after working for 14 years as an Emmy Award-winning television news producer at NECN in Newton and WTVR in Richmond, Virginia.

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