Rosi was accompanied by Kelly Irving, case manager, Rhonda Dunn and Clarissa Thomas, recipients of assistance from HFI. Joining were Sam Margolius, of Youth Harbor, and Cyril Fonrose, who was helped by Youth Harbor.
Youth Harbor assists homeless, unaccompanied high school students with housing and individual life skills in order to become self-sufficient. There has been a request for $2 million put into the budget. Margolius thanked Senator Lewis for the support. Youth Harbor has not had public funding before.
For the record, there are an estimated 5,000 homeless, unaccompanied high school students in Massachusetts.
Fonrose told his story of being left on his own as a teenager. He was in Malden High School and was referred to Margolilus, the high school representative of Youth Harbor. Margolius was able to help Fonrose get housing and assisted him with college admissions.
The group first met with Representative Paul Donato. Later, they were able to meet with Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Broeder and Representative Steve Ultrino which included aides Abigail Armstrong and Patrick Pendergast.
With consent from Rhonda Dunn, Rosi told her story of homelessness with four children. There were behavioral issues with Dunn’s children that caused her to be evicted. Rosi explained that with the appropriate funding, the children could have received services needed, that HFI could have worked with the landlord and the family could have stayed in there home.
Therefore, funding is also being requested to work with families and landlords to prevent homelessness.
Another need expressed for more funding is in the area of after-school programs. HFI has been designated as a front-runner in its after-school program, and other states are looking at it. The numbers of children needing this has been increasing quickly. More funding is needed.
Along with the testimonies, Rosi presented the legislators with written requests outlining exactly what monies are needed and exactly how the monies will be spent.
The legislators did ask for more written information detailing how Youth Harbor will use the funding as well. Rosi and Margolius assured them that the information will be forthcoming.