HUD Archives: News Releases

Kristine Foye
(617) 994-8218
For Release
January 25, 2007

Program has helped hundreds of area at-risk youth get a new start

Young people who lack basic education face a lifetime of underemployment and can be at higher risk of
homelessness. Today, Just a Start Corporation, a Cambridge-based community development agency that helps low-income residents become self-sufficient, got a boost with the announcement of a grant that will bring skills, diplomas and renovated affordable housing to Chelsea and Cambridge.

The $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be used to continue the successful YouthBuild program. The grant, which was announced by HUD Regional Director Taylor Caswell, is part of $45.5 million in funding nationwide to help thousands of low-income young people who never finished high school return to school to earn their diplomas, while training them for a future in the construction trades and other careers. YouthBuild grants provide funding to offer job training and leadership skills to more than 3,000 young adults in a nationwide network of more than 200 programs that challenge unemployed and undereducated residents ages 16-24 to work toward their GED or high school diploma while learning construction skills by building or renovating affordable housing for low-income and homeless individuals.

"The YouthBuild program serves a population that needs a bridge between youth and adulthood," said Caswell. "Just
a Start has an excellent track record using this funding to help these teenagers earn their diplomas and start them
on a new career path. At the same time we are renovating affordable homes for low-income families, which creates another advantage for the community." With this funding, Just a Start, Inc. will partner with the Chelsea Housing Authority and Chelsea Restoration, Inc. to provide education and life skills training to 65 teenagers while renovating two houses in Chelsea. The event was held at one of the Chelsea Housing Authority properties where the current YouthBuild students are assisting with repairs.

Since the Just a Start YouthBuild program's inception, more than 300 people - who previously lacked basic education skills - have successfully gone through the program and 200 units of housing have been newly constructed or renovated. Just a Start's YouthBuild program serves Chelsea and Cambridge, training 40 people per year from Metro North Boston. The students earn AmeriCorps education awards of $3,623 for performance of 900 hours of housing services in the community. Just a Start, which was established in 1968, serves the interest of low and moderate income individuals and families. Programs include education/training/employment, and development and operation of affordable housing.

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and


Content Archived: March 17, 2011