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Ashley Barnes-Cocke

Ashley Barnes-Cocke


Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston


Rappaport Public Policy Fellow



Rappaport Public Policy Fellows spend 10 weeks each summer serving within the highest levels of state and municipal governments in the Greater Boston Area. The program includes students from graduate and professional programs at local universities.

Graduate School
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Undergraduate School
Hamline University

Megan Costello, Rappaport/Boston Urban Scholar

City of Boston, Department of Neighborhood Development

Courtney Trudell, Assistant Director of Supportive Housing

Description of Fellowship
Ashley Barnes-Cocke’s project focused on increasing identification and support for students experiencing housing instability and not in the care of a legal guardian. Working at the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) and partnering closely with Boston Public Schools (BPS), they conducted interviews of BPS and DND staff, community partners, and young people who experienced homelessness and attended Boston Public Schools. They used this information to visually map BPS’ resource referral process and to create a resource referral tool for BPS staff to identify students in need and more effectively connect students to services that address those needs. Ashley compiled their findings in reports to both BPS and DND, focusing on opportunities for policy changes and collaboration in the following areas; increasing identification of students with housing instability; ensuring appropriate resource referrals are made; coordinating entry access; and suggesting future opportunities for youth-focused housing resources. In addition, Ashley supported several non-profit agencies to refine grant applications and clarify proposed program models for youth-specific housing programs funded by DND.