Danielle Cutillo – 1851 Staff
Lasell senior Kevin Lilly is taking a stand against youth homelessness, a
huge issue around the country, especially in Boston. Growing up in the Boston
area, Lilly has seen an increase of unaccompanied youth; people who are
24-years-old and younger that are experiencing homelessness on their own.
According to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, right now there
are more than 6,000 homeless youth just in Massachusetts high schools. There are only 12 emergency beds in Boston for these youth, located at the non-profit organization Bridge Over Troubled Waters. These youth have limited help, and Lilly
wants to change that.
He has already done work with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless,
an organization that is currently trying to pass House Bill 135. The bill is an
act that will provide housing and services to homeless youth. Lilly has recently
spoke at the State House about H.135. There are only a few more months for
the bill to pass into law. In June, it will either be sent to the Senate Ways and
Means or rejected, which means that the bill could die in committee.
Lilly’s goal is to open his own nonprofit, a shelter to help these youth get
back on their feet. He is already in the process of starting his nonprofit which will
also be part of his senior year internship. Lilly is passionate about finding a
solution to this problem.
“Most people aren’t familiar with it. When people think of homelessness, they think of that person on the side of the street, staggering around for change,” said Lilly. “It could be someone in your class, or on your team. These youth don’t walk around
with a sign that says, ‘Hi, I’m Homeless.’ They do their best to hide it,” he said.
These youth are homeless for a variety of reasons. Some may have decided
to leave home on their own or were kicked out. They may have been abused or not accepted for who they are because they are identifying as LGBT. Some may
be dealing with mental health issues.
When Lilly sees these youth on the streets of Boston, he does not walk by and ignore them. Instead, he stops to talk and get to know their stories. He has met some great people with big dreams, and Lilly wants to help them succeed.
“It bothers me how little help there is. Right now, there are just not enough resources for these youth and it is a growing population,” said Lilly. Lilly suggests that if anyone wants to help, one can become educated about youth homelessness, volunteer with these youth, or even buy one of them a gift card to a local Dunkin Donuts.
One can write letters or call his or her legislators and tell them it is important to get House Bill 135 passed. “Everyone has a different story. These are just people like you, people with dreams. The only difference is they’re homeless,” said Lilly. Hopefully one day Boston will be a city where everyone will have a place to call home.