It’s budget season, and that means we have important opportunities to fight for necessary funding and overdue policy change.
This year, we’re supporting two key amendments filed by Senator Kennedy:
Amendment #555 would increase funding for housing and supportive services for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness (budget line item 4000-0007) from $11 million to $12 million. This increased investment is vital to match the scale of need across the state and help create a sustained and effective response to end youth homelessness.
Amendment #851 would ease the process for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness to obtain state identification, an initiative that has previously seen widespread support in the legislature. Again and again, service providers report the difficulty their young clients face in obtaining ID and how this barrier worsens their daily struggles. Young people need state ID to apply for jobs, access public services, open a bank account, and accomplish a host of other important life tasks. It’s long past time to get this common-sense reform signed into law.
It is impossible to overstate the lifetime toll homelessness can take on young people, increasing their risk of poor health outcomes, exposure to violence, susceptibility to exploitation, and dropping out of school. This is especially urgent right now and as young people continue to endure trauma and upheaval in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure they have the resources they need to build pathways toward stability and thrive is crucial.
The budget is a reflection of our values, and we cannot let this opportunity to support our state’s most vulnerable youth slip by. Please take action today and urge your State Senator to co-sponsor and support budget amendments #555 and #851.
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