Horizons for Homeless Children sponsored the 3rd Annual Young Children Without Homes National Conference in Boston Massachusetts, April 15-17. With a host of Plenary speakers and workshops, this conference offered providers, advocates and researchers an opportunity to explore innovative and effective ways of working to end family homelessness and mitigate the negative effects of homelessness on parents and children. Application of the McKinney Vento Education for Homeless Children clause was a major focus of the conference with a variety of workshops centered around advocacy and techniques for providing effective education for homeless children. With representation from 33 states across the nation, the Young Children Without Homes National Conference provided a forum through which a multitude of ideas could be shared and a base of support for major advocacy could grow.
Massachusetts proved to be a prime location to hold the conference where support to end family homelessness is evident throughout all levels of the state up to the governor’s office. With the lieutenant governor serving as an active member of the Commission to End Homelessness, from the top down, the message has spread that homelessness in Massachusetts will be end in 10 years. The sincerity of this message is evident in the state’s reorganization and creation of departments and councils to deal more effectively with homeless issues.
With the hard work of advocates from across the state, New Jersey too can reach this level of support and coordination in efforts to end homelessness.