Rep. Elugardo and Boston Housing Authority Launch Community Youth Jobs Program

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State Rep. Nika Elugardo, the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), and the Main Street organization teamed up at the end of the year to launch a youth jobs program for BHA residents and other low-income youths

Elugardo (D-15th Suffolk) secured a $500,000 earmark for the program during the state's supplemental June budget.

“Historically we’ve found the key to prosperity and public safety at the community level is youth employment,” said Elugardo via press release. “Youth with good jobs bring leadership and vibrancy to their communities."

The following businesses and organizations provided youths jobs: Three Squares Main Streets; Home Basix; La Patrona Mexican Grill; Chocolate Hair; Married to the Mop; Break Bread Transportation; Miami Restaurant; Mildred Hailey Youth Center; Tails; City Feed & Supply;
The First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain; 4 Corners Yoga & Wellness; and
JP Centre/South Main Streets.

"We’re working with people in the community to make sure the youth who often fall through the cracks are the first in line for these jobs," said Elugardo.

Elugardo said that legislators working with housing authorities, city and community leaders, and local businesses, are an "underused framework" that can be a model for grassroots community development.

The first phase of the youth jobs program launched in December to provide 68 new seasonal jobs for BHA residents and other low-income youth in Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale, Chinatown, and Dorchester.

Youths earn $15 per hour and gain workforce experience while local businesses benefitted from extra staffing during difficult economic times.

“This program is a win-win,” said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-2nd Suffolk). “Not only does it provide another pathway for young people to earn an income—which can be a lifeline for families—but it also provides important educational and community support during a time when young people’s education experiences have been so drastically altered.”

Boston Housing Authority Administrator Kate Bennett said the program provided short term help during the pandemic that has financially affected many people.

Additionally, in the same supplemental budget, Elugardo secured $500,000 to provide COVID-19 testing to BHA residents of all ages who work outside of their home, regardless of the presence of symptoms.

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