Tag Archives: homeless youth

Elliott and Worcester’s troubled kids

By Rosalie Tirella

This song, this Elliott Smith video, makes me think of a lot of Worcester kids but especially the homeless kids I saw yesterday hanging out under the Green Street bridge in the city’s Canal District while delivering the new issue of CECELIA.

yesterday: under the Green Street bridge. pics: Rose T.

New Christmas CECELIA

Tragic on a number of fronts: 1. Elliott Smith WAS A MUSICAL SHINING STAR, but he was also an addict. He was addicted to, for most of his life (he stabbed himself in the heart and died at 34): alcohol, heroin, anti-depressent meds, crack cocaine, cutting himself. … They say at the end of his life he was wandering the streets with a comforter over his head, totally disoriented. He was gentle, sweet, strong in his love for making his music – but haunted. He said in a few interviews, obliquely, he had been sexually abused by his stepfather when he was a child. At 14 Smith ran away, moved to Portland, OR, to live with his dad – to escape his sexually abusive stepdad. Smith said, when he left TX, he felt he had abandoned his mom, whom he loved. All of this personal trauma is reflected in his beautiful, melodic songs, often sung by Smith in a range just barely above a whisper! Smith’s beautiful songs, so Beatlesque Rubber Soul/Revolver in their musicality, have lyrics that cut like a knife, often filled with raw despair yet just as often perfect short stories – sung by him:



2. The kids hanging out under the Green Street bridge in the Canal District are not like the late Elliott Smith – even without his musical genius. They are, with their dog-eared poetry books at their feet: without jobs/careers, without knowledge that can lead to good paying jobs (Smith graduated from Hampshire College in Amherst), without material goods/apts (Smith came from an upper-middle class background): couch-surfing junkies nodding off under the Green Street bridge (Smith always had friends and girlfriends to live with). The addict part of the Green Street bridge kids rubs the Canal District small business owners the wrong way – they feel the addict kids get in the way of promoting the city – ugly knick knacks set in a freshly painted room. They spoil the aesthetics. The young Canal District entrepreneurs don’t like the homeless street kids hanging around Water, Harding and Green streets – even though the kids under the Green Street bridge are often cold and hungry – and a lot like them. That is why they are hanging under the Green Street bridge – they naively think they will be welcomed, even embraced, by their peers. (They won’t.) Like the young biz owners of the Canal District, they in their 20s and early 30s, hopeful for their futures, at their prettiest/most handsome looking … and, I believe, idealistic!

The Green Street kids differ from the young Canal District biz owners in that most homeless youth, studies show, are horribly alone – with no real support systems – at least the family/good friends kind. They run away from their homes to FLEE THEIR HOMES. TO ESCAPE sick, violent, negligent and often sexually abusive parents or guardians. Horrible abuse! That can only be if you, as a kid, decide to leave YOUR FAMILY AND CAST YOUR FATE TO STRANGERS, HOMELESS SHELTERS, STREET CREEPS WHO PREY ON YOUTH …TO HANG OUT UNDER THE GREEN STREET BRIDGE.

To be exposed to drug dealers, sex abusers, the lowlifes of the world who will – often for sex – FURTHER TRAUMATIZE THESE KIDS.

It AMAZES ME: Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus and the Worcester City Council don’t really give a damn – they say they do, but the first thing you will notice about Worcester when you drive in to our city is all our homeless people – older, middle-aged and young. We have no BIG CITY-WIDE PLANS TO SOLVE THE ISSUE. Which is: BUILD MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING, CREATE SAFE GROUP HOMES FOR OUR STREET KIDS, BUILD SUPERVISED SRO-TYPE BUILDINGS for the poorest of the poor who are never gonna get shelter in the new, gentrified Worcester.

There are so many sick people in the world. Why expose a scared, on the run, TRUSTING and NAIVE, 14 year old to them? An Elliott Smith without the songs?

CECELIA file photo: Rose T.

LUK and more parked in Yum Yums …

The 2016 State of Massachusetts Homeless Youth Count is set to take place May 2-15.

The Youth Count is an annual survey intended to capture data about the housing situations of young people throughout the state.

The Compass Network will be hosting a training/preparation session TODAY, Thursday, April 7, from 10am – 11:30am at LUK, Inc. (40 Southbridge St., Rm. 427) to discuss the importance of the Youth Count, provide basic training around administration of the survey and to coordinate a plan to make this year’s count in Worcester a success.

If you want to attend, please RSVP to Tom Baker at tbaker@luk.org.

Tom Baker

RHY Network Coordinator

LUK, Inc.

Worcester Flyer 16.04









And don’t forget: The Worcester Tree Initiative celebrates Arbor Day April 29!


Come join us at Elm Park by Standing up for Homeless Kids!

A vigil for Homeless Youth Awareness Month

Friday,  November 22

5 pm – 6 pm

On the Park Ave. side of Elm Park

Bring a sign stating a statistic or fact or/and an Agency Banner.
Let’s try to get all the youth service agencies represented.
RSVP the number of people coming from your agency to donnakat@standupforkids.org, so we can get an idea of number of candles or lights needed.

Let us remember the 13 kids that die every day on the streets of America.
Let us honor the children and youths who have survived the streets.
Let us bring awareness to help the children and youth who are presently homeless.

Homeless youth in Massachusetts need your help!

In the State of Massachusetts, it’s estimated that more than 6,000 students
under the age of 24 are experiencing homelessness without the support of a
parent or legal guardian. These are the unaccompanied youth. Without a safe,
permanent place to sleep at night, young people are far more likely suffer
from poor academic performance, to drop out of school, to be exploited or
sexually abused, take part in high risk behavior such as substance use, and
experience some kind of bodily harm or violence.

As the number of young people experiencing homelessness continues to grow,
finding adequate housing options and supportive services becomes more

But there is hope! House Bill 135 is a bill currently under review that
would provide funding to begin addressing the tragic circumstances of
unaccompanied youth. This Bill would allow providers in Massachusetts to
offer the kinds of services that unaccompanied youth desperately need to end
the cycle of homelessness.

On July 16th, House Bill 135 will presented at hearing at the State House in
Boston, Room B2, at 1pm. This is an important part of the Democratic
process, wherein members of the community can come and speak directly to the
legislators, explaining why it’s important to pass this Bill.

We need your help! We cannot do this without you!

If you know a youth who would like to give testimony, would like to give
testimony yourself, or are available to show up and stand in solidarity,

We need people to speak and we need people just to stand in the room with

If you need help putting together your testimony, we are enthusiastic to
help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

But if you can’t be there that day, you can still help! Call your senators
and local representatives, urging them to support this Bill. Write a letter
to the editor, explaining why it’s imperative that your representatives
support this bill. Let people know that this is happening, spread the word!

Please contact your legislators and ask them to convey their support to the
Conference Committee and to Leadership to actively support the bill!

To find out who your representative is, follow this link!



Ali Brauner or Exa Mendez at Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

781 595 7570 ex 16



Here is a bit of information regarding House Bill 135!

To view the language of the Bill:


For a written fact sheet regarding the provisions of this Bill:


For information regarding the Budget:

Budget Campaign fact sheet