Tell Lawmakers: Minors Experiencing Homelessness Must Be Able to Access Supportive Services
Young people between the ages of 15 and 18 may be experiencing homelessness alone for a number of reasons, such as abuse or family conflict over sexual orientation and gender identity. There are existing services that could help, but current law prevents underage youth from consenting to many of these services without a parent – despite the reality that seeking their parents’ consent is often not an option.
When young people between the ages of 15 and 18 cannot access the services they need, they are extremely vulnerable to victimization and violence. As the 2022 Massachusetts Youth Count found, respondents who left home as minors were less likely to be sheltered, have a high school degree, or receive the help they need.
H.192/S.94 would enable unaccompanied minors to provide consent for themselves and access important services, helping them meet their immediate survival needs and assisting them on their journey towards stability. As queer and BIPOC youth disproportionately experience homelessness, this bill is an important step towards establishing increased supports for some of our state’s most marginalized young people.
The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities held a hearing on this bill on October 16th. Now, we need to make sure it stays at the top of our legislators’ minds to keep it moving through the legislative process.
We’ve already started a message for you – click “Start Writing” above to add your own details and urge your legislators to support H.192/S.94!