Family homelessness remains at record levels in Mass. due to the economic recession with record foreclosures. While the state seeks more low cost housing, 43% more families are in shelter or motels than in 2008 & families who have overflowed into motels have tripled. Now over 2000 families are in shelters nightly & over 1700 families are in motels, with great risk to health of families and children.
This year’s Forum focuses on the effects of homelessness on the overall development of a child.
Across the Nation;
- The average age of a homeless person is 8.
- Homeless children are 4 times more likely than their peers to show delayed development
- Among school-age children who are homeless, 47% experience anxiety, depression and withdrawal compared with 18% of other school-age children
Keynote Speaker: Christina Murphy, Campaign to End Child Homelessness at the National Center on Family Homelessness, will speak on the effects of homelessness and severe housing insecurity on the health, mental health, and early childhood development of children.
- LizBeth Heyer, Associate Director, Division of Public Housing and Rental Assistance, Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the state's homeless prevention program, including HomeBASE and the shelter system.
- Kelly Turley, co-leader, Interagency Council of Housing & Homelessness working group on unaccompanied youth homelessness; & Director of Legislative Advocacy, Mass Coalition for the Homeless, will speak on the scope of unaccompanied youth homelessness and needed services
- A formerly homeless woman will testify on the needs of her homeless teen age children.
- Our State legislators will take part with us in group discussions on family homelessness issues.
Sixteen homelessness prevention organizations will also attend: browse their information and displays.