The impact of upstream prevention of homelessness on youth educational and developmental outcomes

Boston College of Social Work and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley will address homelessness for youth and families.

With roughly 4,500 homeless students in the Boston Public Schools and another 900 at risk of homelessness, the Boston College of Social Work and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley aim to refine, expand, and evaluate a recently-piloted intervention to prevent homelessness and mitigate the disruptions it causes at school. The partners will conduct early stage work to determine the feasibility of implementing the intervention, using two matched comparison groups to examine the outcomes that are likely to be affected and how the intervention performs relative to a current approach. The grant will also enable the partnership to build the capacity of local agencies to participate and use research to improve service delivery, with the potential to scale across the state to its 83 member organizations. The School of Social Work will build on its history of collaborative work by directing resources toward solidifying the partnership with United Way and the processes for working together. Boston College has also proposed a series of changes to strengthen both infrastructure for and recognition of faculty engaged in partnership research, including providing physical space, pursuing funding to create an endowed fund to support collaborative fellows, offering teaching releases for those engaged in partnership research, identifying university-wide funding to support research opportunities, and creating a permanent position to support global and local research partnerships. This project will also receive support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Spencer Foundation.

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