Young people bring tremendous resources and creativity to alleviating and solving the problem of homelessness in our communities.

Examples of How Communities are Involving Schools and Youth

  • Engage youth and young adults in one day service projects; i.e. food and clothing drives
  • Older student tutor/mentor volunteers for younger homeless children
  • MASSCAP (and other organization) internships for youth that provide services related to housing and homelessness
  • Presentations given to youth groups about homelessness and ways to engage in solutions to end homelessness
  • Through service-learning, students educate the community on topics such as hunger, homelessness, and/or implement projects to help alleviate or solve these problems.
  • A curriculum on affordable housing available as a resource for schools and other organizations working with youth. (Developed by Education Development Center and the Citizens Housing and Planning Association.)

Good Practice in Profile:

Student Essay Contest

Organization: City of Lowell

Project Description

The City of Lowell held a first annual student essay contest to begin engaging the community about the importance of having a home. Eight middle schools participated, submitting nearly 800 essays. The contest ended in June 2008 and during Hunger Homeless Month in October many of the essays were celebrated and highlighted. Focusing on "home" in stead of "homelessness" in the community has provided a chance to open the door to a more compassionate and cost effective discussion of conditions and challenges, and not so strongly stir up old fears and stereotypes.

Resources required:The contest was organized and implemented by Lowell's Partnership for Change to End Homelessness. Twenty-four volunteers served as judges and many others helped to organize events at each of the schools to raise awareness about the contest and the issue of homelessness.

Outcome:Nearly 800 students at five Lowell Middle Schools submitted essays.

Link for more details:


Service-Learning and Housing/Homelessness

Organization: North Adams Public Schools

Project Description

Students from grades K-12 implement service-learning projects that apply their learning to address issues related to housing and homelessness. Students and teachers work with community organizations to research the problem in the community, identify possible solutions, plan and implement service projects that range from educating the public about the issue of homelessness to direct service at the local Community Kitchen to participating in community coalition meetings. One project included students presenting to the school about the issue of homelessness and organizing a personal care items drive to support a local shelter.

Resources required:Teachers and students worked with community partners to identify the most pressing needs, make learning connections and proposed solutions. Some projects required transportation; others required only the time spent.

Outcome:Students working on one project collected nearly 500 needed items for the local shelter and raised $200 to support bus passes for homeless families.

Link for more details: