Tuesday, May 04, 2021
ROXBURY, MA – The Home for Little Wanderers announced today that it has opened Liberty Village, a new 16-bed facility that provides temporary housing, support, and trauma-informed care for young adults age 18-25 who are experiencing chronic homelessness and have “aged out” of the child welfare system. Liberty Village is supported by a generous $1 million grant from Liberty Mutual that supports the program for three years.
“The child welfare system is not designed to raise children. We are here for support and healing when they need us, but children deserve to grow up in a loving home,” said Lesli Suggs, LICSW, President and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers. “Children who grow up without a permanent family and “age out” of the child welfare system are more likely to experience homelessness, substance abuse, and be involved in the criminal justice system. They just aren’t ready to be on their own all of a sudden when they turn 18. Providing temporary housing and trauma-informed care helps these young adults transition into adulthood and gives them a fighting chance for a good life.”
According to the 2014-2018 Children’s Bureau National Youth in Transition database, in Massachusetts:
- 25% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported experiencing homelessness
- 37% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported they were enrolled in and attending school
- 60% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported they were employed full- or -art- time
- 15% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported experiences with incarceration
- 17% of 21-year-old youth in transition reported having children
According to the Chapin Hall University of Chicago Voices of Youth Count report, 56 percent of Suffolk County’s homeless and unstably housed young people have been in the foster care and/or juvenile and criminal justice systems.
“There are a lot more young adults who are homeless right now because of the pandemic,” said Sharla Randazzo, LICSW, Director of Transitional Age Youth Programs at The Home for Little Wanderers. “What we know about housing is that it’s a basic need. It’s the same thing as having food on your plate and knowing where you’re going to get your next meal. But if people don’t have housing and a place to call their own, it’s very difficult to do anything else.”
“COVID-19 is presenting such unprecedented challenges, especially for youth who are so often hidden in plain sight,” said Melissa MacDonnell, Liberty Mutual Foundation President. “We are proud to partner with The Home on Liberty Village which will offer young people experiencing homelessness a respite from the streets and adult shelters, as well as housing and full-service programs designed by and for its residents as they rebuild their lives, now from a position of both personal safety and renewed strength.”
The staff at Liberty Village provides support and guidance to the young adults, helping them with everything from signing up for health insurance to getting a driver’s license to searching for employment and prepping for interviews, to ultimately finding permanent housing.
Liberty Village joins The Home for Little Wanderers’ Roxbury Village and Somerville Village, which also support transitional age youth who have “aged out” of the child welfare system.