Rising Together: Creating New Pathways to Employment for Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness is a coordinated effort among Boston’s lead agencies on youth homelessness to improve job outcomes for young people in need of stable housing. These lead organizations—along with partners from the public, private, and non-profit sectors—convene quarterly to collaboratively address challenges in identifying, training, and employing these youth and young adults. The project will culminate in a report highlighting the unique challenges and solutions that emerge at the intersection of workforce development and youth homelessness.

Rising Together was initially funded by a $75,000 grant awarded in May 2019 by Heartland Alliance’s National Center on Employment and Homelessness. Boston was one of seven communities nationwide to receive this Pathways Forward Challenge grant, . In January 2020, Rising Together also received a $250,000 grant from the Liberty Mutual Foundation to further support the project for the span of its two-and-a-half years.

Download the Rising Together fact sheet.

MISSION: Rising Together is a community-driven, equity-focused workforce development initiative that builds the capacity of employers and service providers in Boston to train, hire, retain, and advance the careers of youth and young adults at-risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Why employment for youth/young adults experiencing homelessness?

Youth and young adults should be growing and thriving in Boston. Young people experiencing housing instability should be connected to the resources they need, including careers and jobs with opportunities for upward economic mobility. In 2019, Boston’s annual Homeless Census counted approximately 325 youth and young adults sleeping in shelters, transitional housing, or on the street. This number does not include young people who couch surf or “double up” with others in unstable housing situations. Moreover, minority groups make up a disproportionately large percentage of people experiencing homelessness and housing instability. This is in direct relation to the oppression experienced by these communities and is especially significant for LGBTQ+, Black, Latinx, and Native Americans.

Beginning in 2017, the City, the Boston Youth Action Board, and 280 community members participated in the initiative Rising to the Challenge to create a coordinated, community response plan to better support the well-being of youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Mayor Walsh allocated $165,000 in technical assistance to support the initiative. Within two years, this coordinated, community response led to the launch of a comprehensive plan, Rising to the Challenge: A Plan to Prevent and End Youth & Young Adult Homelessness to address multiple sectors, including housing, health, education, and employment, with which youth and young adults interact. This work was bolstered in 2018 when the City was awarded $4.9 million toward the Plan’s implementation by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development.

Rising Together is a community-driven initiative. It is informed by a Community Engagement Framework infused with an equity lens. Rising Together builds on the plan by coordinating Rising to the Challenge partners and bringing additional workforce development stakeholders into the conversation around employment solutions for our young people. This is incredibly important because meaningful and sustainable employment is key to housing stability and long-term success. Yet, less than half of 18-24-year-olds experiencing homelessness in Boston report active employment.

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Is your organization interested in joining Rising Together? Click on the button below to receive updates on convenings, trainings, and more.

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Steering committee

Learn more

Liberty Mutual Insurance Announces 19 Grants in $5 Million Effort to Address Youth Homelessness in Boston
Liberty Mutual press release, Jan. 10, 2020

Boston is Awarded Grant to Improve Job Outcomes for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
OWD blog, June 26, 2019

$75,000 City of Boston Award Announced to Address Youth Homelessness
City of Boston press release, July 29, 2019

Advancing Employment, Equity, and an End to Homelessness: The Pathways Forward Challenge
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Sep. 16, 2019


Contact RisingTogether@boston.gov to learn more.

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