Homeless Youth Services (HYS)

Homeless Youth Services, within the EOHHS Office of Children Youth and Families, leads the statewide effort of working towards a future where experiences of youth homelessness in Massachusetts are rare, brief, and non-recurring, and where every youth and young (YYA) adult is safe, supported, and able to use their strengths fully. Funding from Homeless Youth Services ensures that every region in Massachusetts has both prevention and intervention services specifically for young adults, including emergency shelter or crisis housing.

Contact Us


1 Ashburton Place, Boston, MA 02108


Dr. Alice Colegrove, Director, Homeless Youth Services (617) 301-3851

Who we serve

The definition agreed upon by the Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in 2013 was that “Unaccompanied Homeless Youth” shall mean: A person 24 years of age or younger who is not in the physical custody of a parent or legal guardian, and who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. “Fixed” refers to a residence that is stationary, permanent, and not subject to change. “Regular” means a dwelling at which a person resides on a regular basis (i.e., nightly). “Adequate” means that the dwelling provides safe shelter, meeting both physical and psychological needs of the youth.


Via dedicated statewide funding ($11 mil in FY24) spanning all ten regions, MA Homeless Youth Services supports providers to offer housing and services for youth and young adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. For a more detailed list of what services are offered throughout the state, please see the List of Services for Contracted Youth Service Providers.

Emergency Housing

Young girl with long hair holding backpack slogan says “Don’t know where to go next”

Every region in Massachusetts has emergency shelter or crisis housing set aside specifically for young adults.

Other funded services include:

Homelessness Prevention
Case Management
Housing Search and Stabilization
College Housing Support
Regional Youth Action Boards (YABs)


By partnering and collaborating with other State agencies, HYS works to strengthen the safety net for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. Partner agencies include but are not limited to: Department of Public Health (DPH), DPH Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS), Department of Higher Education (DHE), Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Department of Mental Health (DMH), MassHealth, Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), Department of Children and Families (DCF/child welfare), Department of Youth Services (DYS/juvenile justice).

Additionally, Homeless Youth Services provides the staff support to the MA Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (UHYC), including oversight of the annual Youth Count and its subsequent reports. The Commission convenes quarterly and studies and makes recommendations regarding policy and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts. The Commission is chaired by the Secretary of EOHHS Health and Human Services and is composed of Commissioners that include members of state government, direct service providers, and young adults with lived experience of homelessness.

Authentic Youth Engagement

Engaging youth with lived experiences of homelessness as partners is a crucial part of the efforts to end youth homelessness in Massachusetts. Whenever decisions are being made that impact youth, youth should be involved. This includes more than sharing their experiences, but also involvement with information gathering, idea testing, and meaningful decision making at local and state levels.

Homeless Youth Services supports the following partnerships:

Local Youth Action Boards: A Youth Action Board (YAB) is a group of youth and young adults who have experienced homelessness and work with their local communities to improve the services and systems designed to support them. All ten regions in Massachusetts have YABs. To find a YAB in a particular region, please see the list of MA Homeless Youth Services Providers & Services. We also offer training resources and support for starting or supporting YABs.

Statewide YAB-Collab’: Once a month, members from each of the ten YABs convene for shared learning and collaboration. The goal of this group is to create a network of support to YABs and YAB members.  For more information please contact Ayala Livny at Ayala.Livny.Consulting@gmail.com

Statewide Youth Advisory Council (YAC): The goal of the State-wide Homeless Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is to educate, inspire, and inform the work of the MA Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission. YAC members are young adults with lived experience of homelessness who convene bi-monthly to offer insight and guidance on state-level policies and programming.  Applications open every fall, and YAC members are hired for a paid one-year appointment. For more information about the YAC, please contact Ayala Livny at Ayala.Livny.Consulting@gmail.com

YAB Supporters monthly Lunch and Learn: On the first Wednesday of every month, YAB adult supporters are invited to come together for an hour of shared-learning and connection. For more information, please contact Ayala Livny at Ayala.Livny.Consulting@gmail.com


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