One of LAH’s main priorities is to help combat homelessness in the Greater Boston Area. There has been a significant increase in youth homelessness over the past four years. The pandemic aggravated the already prevalent problem because many people lost their jobs and shelters had to implement COVID protocols that limited capacity. According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, there were 24,658 students across Massachusetts without a stable home at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.
What defines youth homelessness?
Boston Public Schools guided by the McKinney-Vento Act, HERN recognizes “homeless children and youths as individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence”. This definition includes children who are sharing a household with other people due to loss of housing or living in motels, cars, shelters, and other substandard housing.
Students of color are being affected at a disproportionate rate. Brian Marques, senior director of the Office of Opportunity Youth, told the Boston Herald that “the vast majority of homeless students — 95% compared to 85% of all BPS students — are students of color…..and 42% of them — compared to 32% of all students — are in English Language Development programs.” Immigrants and refugees are especially at risk of homelessness.
The challenges these children face outside of school directly affect their performance in school. Their grades and test scores are consistently underperforming their peers. Students need consistency and routine in order to thrive in a school environment.
What are we doing to help?
LAH provides essential funding to low-income families. In 2021, LAH provided 144 households with rent assistance grants to help prevent eviction. Additionally, LAH provided $106,000 to help with electricity bills. LAH received over 1,000 grant requests in 2021 and works to help as many people as possible.
You can help by donating today. All of your contributions go directly to the families who need them most. We must continue to provide assistance to these students so they can get the stability they need to thrive in school.