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Support for homeless youth

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The Board of Aldermen has given its official support to a bill before the Legislature that would boost support for homeless youths. The bill was cosponsored by state Representative Carl Sciortino, who represents part of Somerville. “Unaccompanied youth are some of the most vulnerable, at-risk people in our society,’’ said Alderwoman Rebekah Gewirtz, in a statement issued by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. “My colleagues on the Board of Aldermen and I are committed to doing all we can to help unaccompanied youth in Somerville and across the Commonwealth.’’ The bill would define homeless youth as people 22 or younger without a place to stay or the care of a parent or guardian. There are an estimated 6,000 youths in the state who meet the criteria, according to the coalition. “We have kids who for a variety of unfortunate reasons end up living on the streets in need of basic care and support,’’ Sciortino said. “I appreciate the Board of Aldermen’s support of this important legislation, and look forward to the bill’s passage.’’ Youths often become homeless after telling family they are gay, announcing a pregnancy, or making life choices that parents don’t condone, the group said. The bill is under consideration by the House Committee on Ways and Means. - Matt Byrne

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