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It's Time to Ask Your Legislators to Override the Governor's Budget Vetoes!

It's Time to Ask Your Legislators to Override the Governor's Budget Vetoes!

Originally posted July 11, 2016; last updated July 31, 2016:

On Friday, the Governor issued his fiscal year 2017 budget vetoes, which included cutting out the RAFT expansion language and other priority funding/language we have been promoting since last fall. Please help us push the Legislature to take up override votes. In order to overturn a particular veto, 2/3 of the members in both the House and the Senate must vote in favor of that override. Veto overrides must start in the House. As formal legislative sessions will end for this biennial cycle on July 31st, time is short.

Key vetoes of concern:

  • Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT, line item 7004-9316): The Governor maintained the Legislature's $13 million appropriation, but vetoed language that would open access to RAFT to elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and households without children under the age of 21. RAFT override fact sheetCoalition's letter from last week to the Governor on the importance of this language; testimonies in support of the RAFT override
  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000): The Governor vetoed language in this line item that would have prevented the Department of Transitional Assistance from being able to count Supplemental Security Income when calculating TAFDC benefits for families with one or more members living with a disability. This could lead to over 8,500 families having their TAFDC benefits eliminated or greatly reduced. He also vetoed language that would have increased the TAFDC annual clothing allowance to $250 per eligible child (the Governor replaced that figure with the FY'16-level benefit of $200/child). TAFDC-SSI override fact sheet 
    • Update: Great news! The House and Senate overrode the Governor's veto on July 23rd! This means that the Governor will not be able to move ahead to limit acesss to TAFDC benefits and that the clothing allowance will increase in September. The override also adds back $23.6 million to the line item.
  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024): The Governor cut MRVP funding from $85.3 million to $82.9 million.
  • Public Housing Operating Subsidies (line item 7004-9005): The Governor cut public housing operating subsidies from $65 million to $64.5 million.
Its Time to Stand Up for Housing 1

Good news update on Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101): The state's budget website has been updated to reflect that the Governor did not veto language that would have required the Administration to provide 90 days advanced notice before implementing eligibilty changes and benefits reductions within this program that provides shelter and support services to families with children experiencing homelessness.

In better news, however, the Governor also submitted multiple supplemental budgets to the Legislature. One supplemental budget, House Bill 4506, is to address anticipated FY'17 budget shortfalls, and includes requests for $26.0 million more to support Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter and homelessness services (line item 7004-0101), $2.5 million more for HomeBASE (line item 7004-0108), and $1.9 million more for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program benefits (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000).

Another request is to close out FY'16, House Bill 4517, and includes requests for $1 million for the unaccompanied youth homelessness line item (line item 4000-0007), $3.6 million for MRVP (line item 7004-9316), and $1 million for the End Family Homelessness Reserve Fund (line item 1599-0017) .

** Please ask your legislators to support both the override requests and the supplemental budget requests. You can reach your legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000 or find additional contact information here: www.wheredoivotema.com. **

State House Call-In Day on Legislation to Promote Dignity for People Experiencing Homelessness and Poverty: House Bills 529 + 1129

State House Call-In Day on Legislation to Promote Dignity for People Experiencing Homelessness and Poverty: House Bills 529 + 1129

Take Action Today to Help Pass House BIlls 529 and 1129!

July 17, 2016

Thank you for helping to promote last week's legislative briefing on the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program and the campaign to establish a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness. The event focused on House Bill 529, An Act relative to assisting elders in the Commonwealth (fact sheet), and House Bill 1129, An Act providing a homeless bill of rights (fact sheet). Both bills are awaiting action by House Ways and Means. This week we need your help to make our State House call-in day on these two bills a success. 

Please make two calls today or tomorrow: One to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and one to House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey. Let them know that you stand with the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and you would like to see them take action to pass House Bills 529 and 1129.
  • Speaker DeLeo can be reached at 617-722-2500. You also can tweet him a message: @SpeakerDeLeo
  • Chairman Dempsey can be reached at 617-722-2990.
Need some inspriation before making your calls? Read moving testimonies from Cochise W. of Rosie's Place (on the Coalition's blog) and Christine Ciulla, whose poetry recently was featured on the Coalition's blog and whose personal story was featured in Spare Change News. Here is the Coalition's press release on the call-in day and briefing.
legislative briefing on House Bills 529 and 1129 7-14-16-page-001 1

legislative briefing on House Bills 529 and 1129 7-14-16-page-002
For more details or to share feedback from your outreach, please contact Kelly Turley: kelly (at) mahomeless.org or 781-595-7570 x17. 

Thank you!

briefing on h529  1129

 
State House Briefing on Legislation to Promote Dignity for People Experiencing Homelessness and Poverty: House Bills 529 + 1129

State House Briefing on Legislation to Promote Dignity for People Experiencing Homelessness and Poverty: House Bills 529 + 1129

Please invite your State Representative and Senator to join the Coalition and our legislative hosts, Representative Jim O'Day, Representative William Smitty Pignatelli, and Senator Pat Jehlen, for a legislative briefing on House Bill 529, An Act relative to assisting elders in the Commonwealth (fact sheet), and House Bill 1129, An Act providing a homeless bill of rights (fact sheet). Both bills are awaiting action by House Ways and Means. The event will take place on Thursday, July 14th from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the State House in the House Members Lounge.

Speakers will include our legislative hosts, Christine Ciulla, whose poetry recently was featured on the Coalition's blog and whose personal story was featured in Spare Change News, and Cochise W. of Rosie's Place.

Find your legislators contact information by going to www.wheredoivotema.com or calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000.

Legislative offices can RSVP by completing this brief form, emailing Kelly: kelly (at) mahomeless.org, or calling 781-595-7570 x17.

Thank you!

Pass House Bills 529  1129
Happy New Fiscal Year! FY'17 Conference Committee Budget Outcomes

Happy New Fiscal Year! FY'17 Conference Committee Budget Outcomes

Happy New Fiscal Year!
FY'17 Conference Committee Budget Outcomes for Key Housing and Homelessness Programs

Initially posted July 1, 2016

Yesterday, the House and Senate adopted House Bill 4450, the Conference Committee's budget recommendations for the new fiscal year that begins today. With the projections for state revenues decreasing over the past few weeks (with estimates ranging from $450 million - $950 million less than anticipated), the Legislature's Joint Conference Committee on the FY'17 budget engaged in difficult deliberations to work out the differences between the House and Senate proposed budgets for the year ahead. The compromise budget now has been sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature and line item vetoes. The Governor has 10 days to review the budget.

Thank you to everyone who weighed in with support for the Coalition's top priorities and full priority list with their own legislators and this year's six budget conferees*.

One highlight from the Conference Committee budget is an increase of $500,000 for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program, which is set to be funded at $13 million for FY'17. The Legislature included an important change that now will expand access to these critical homelessness prevention funds beyond just families with children under the age of 21 to include households of all sizes and configurations, including elders, unaccompanied youth, and people with disabilities. Until now, households without minor children have had very limited access to prevention resources from the state, which has led to increased evictions and foreclosures, heightened housing instability, and longer stays in homelessness. We are hopeful that with expanded access to RAFT and the allocation of increased funding, the state can continue to build out a network of homelessness prevention funding and housing stabilization services to help households avoid homelessness altogether when possible and greatly decrease how long families of all types spend without safe, permanent housing. 

Here are the outcomes for our top three priorities: 
  • Expanding access to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program: For the Conference Committee phase of the budget process, we were asking Legislators to support the Senate version of the RAFT line item (7004-9316), which would provide $13 million for the program. The Senate language would expand the definition of family to include elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and other household types and add $500,000 to serve these households, while retaining level funding of $12.5 million for families with children under the age of 21. The RAFT Conference Committee fact sheet and one-minute online action are here.
    • Outcome: The Conference Committee budget includes $13 million for RAFT and language clarifying that "family" includes households of all sizes and configurations! While the language does not match the Senate version, we will work with the Department of Housing and Community Development, RAFT providers, and advocates on an equitable implementation of the expanded RAFT program.
  • Allowing families to access Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter before they are forced to stay in places not meant for human habitation: For the Conference Committee phase of the budget process, we were asking Legislators to support the Senate version of the EA line item (7004-0101), which would allow otherwise eligible families to enter EA without having to prove that they already have stayed in an emergency room, car, campground, etc. The Emergency Assistance Conference Committee fact sheet is here. The recent front page Boston Globe coverage of the EA budget debate is here.
    • Outcome: Unfortunately, the Conference Committee budget did not include key language to ensure that families do not have to first stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing EA shelter. As the budget deliberations continued, the Baker Administration issued revised cost estimates for the language change. While we believe that the change would cost less than $300,000/year, the Administration cited inflated potential costs of $40.8 million - $54 million, which made the House conferees more reticent to accept the Senate language. We proposed compromise language that would have capped the potential expenses at $500,000, but given the intense need for conferees to find cost savings, this also was not included. The Conference Committee did include Senate language to require the Administration to provide 90 days advanced notice before implementing any benefits reductions or eligibility restrictions in the EA program. (The House initially proposed 60 days advanced notice.)
  • Funding housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults at at least $2 million: For the Conference Committee phase of the budget process, we were asking legislators to support the Senate version of the unaccompanied youth line item (4000-0007), which was $1 million more than the House version. The unaccompanied youth Conference Committee fact sheet is here.
    • Outcome: The Conference Committee included the House funding level of $1 million for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults, and the Senate version of the line item language requiring the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to track and report on a number of data points, including how many young people:
      • Are served by the programs funded under the line item and the services young people receive
      • Transition into stable housing and the zip codes of that housing
      • Stay in stable housing for at least 90 days
      • Are denied services
** Please join us in asking Governor Charlie Baker to retain the positive elements of the FY'17 budget, and avoid vetoing key language and funding. The Governor's office can be reached via the contact information listed here. Our letter to the Governor is here (PDF) and below:

mch letter budget letter 7-5-16-page-001

This page will be updated shortly with even more budget details. Stay tuned!

* This year's six budget conferees were: Representatives Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill, Chair of House Ways and Means), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington, Vice Chair of House Ways and Means), and Todd Smola (R-Warren, Minority Member of House Ways and Means) and Senators Karen Spilka (D-Ashland, Chair of Senate Ways and Means), Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Mean), and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth, Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means).

Update, July 11, 2016: On Friday, the Governor issued his vetoes, which included cutting out the RAFT expansion language. We will be sending out an action alert shortly. In better news, the Governor also submitted a supplemental budget to the Legislature. It includes requests for $26.0 million more to support Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter and homelessness services, $2.5 million more for HomeBASE + $1.9 million more for Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) benefits. Please ask your legislators to support these requests: www.wheredoivotema.com


In the Homestretch: Help Shape the FY'17 Conference Committee Budget! Advocate with Us for Housing and Homelessness Programs

In the Homestretch: Help Shape the FY'17 Conference Committee Budget! Advocate with Us for Housing and Homelessness Programs

In the Homestretch: Help Shape the FY'17 Conference Committee Budget!
Advocate with Us for Housing and Homelessness Programs

Initially posted June 2, 2016

Though the Senate and House both have gone through their initial budget recommendation and debate processes for fiscal year 2017 we're not done yet! After the Senate's adoption of its version of the FY'17 budget on May 26th, we have now moved to the next phase of the budget process: Conference Committee. 

Once the House and the Senate vote on their respective budgets, each branch appoints three members to a joint committee (the "Conference Committee") to work out and resolve all differences between the two budgets. The compromise budget that comes out of Conference Committee is then brought to the House and Senate members for a final vote before being sent to the Governor.

This year's House Conference Committee members are Representatives Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill, Chair of House Ways and Means), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington, Vice Chair of House Ways and Means), and Todd Smola (R-Warren, Minority Member of House Ways and Means). The Senate Conference Committee members are Senators Karen Spilka (D-Ashland, Chair of Senate Ways and Means), Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Mean), and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth, Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means). 

In order to ensure that the Conference Committee's budget has the best language and highest levels of funding possible for housing and homelessness issues, we need you to help urge the committee members to create a compromise budget that prioritizes these programs. We will update this page shortly, so you can contact your own legislators and ask them to convey their support to the Conference Committee and to Leadership for the language and funding levels to be detailed in our upcoming Conference Committee letter. Read our letter to the conferees here, outlining our complete Conference Committee priorities, and our preliminary action alert and follow-up alert. See below for more details on our top three priorities.

Top priorities:

raft advocacy image
Advocate Along with Us to Improve the Senate Version of the FY'17 State Budget

Advocate Along with Us to Improve the Senate Version of the FY'17 State Budget

Support key amendments to the Senate Ways and Means budget recommendations

(Initially posted May 17, 2016)

Today, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means ("SWM" or "Senate Ways and Means") unveiled its fiscal year 2017 budget recommendations for the Commonwealth, with the theme of building "resilient children, families, and communities". This $39.5 billion budget marks the next step on the path to developing the state budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1st. Thursday afternoon at 5 p.m. (Thursday, May 19th) will be the deadline for Senate members to file amendments to the SWM budget, with the Senate budget debate scheduled to begin next Tuesday, May 24th.

Read our Senate Ways and Means budget action alert: web version and PDF.

As this is only the next of several proposals on the way to the final FY'17 budget, your voice will be critical to helping to protect housing, homelessness, and safety net programs for families, individuals, and youth.

To learn more about the Coalition's FY'17 budget priorities, please click here.

We are truly grateful that you are advocating with us to protect and promote investment in these programs!

Important links:


Quick List of Outcomes and Lead Sponsors on Key Housing, Shelter, Homelessness Prevention, and Cash Assistance Amendments
(Updated May 26, 2016; 4:30p.m.)

Thank you for all of your advocacy!




Youth Count 2016

Youth Count 2016

Take part in the 2016 Massachusetts Youth Count survey as a participant and/or volunteer!

May 2, 2016 

Today's the day! The 3rd annual Massachusetts Youth Count is now underway to better understand the housing and service needs of unaccompanied youth and young adults under the age of 25. Findings from this survey will continue to inform state policies and funding allocations so that Massachusetts can better meet the needs of young people who are experiencing homelessness and housing instability, outside the care of a parent or guardian.

Youth Count 2016 will run until the end of the day on Sunday, May 15th.

Please share these links with young people you know who are under 25 and who have experienced housing instability.

The online survey in English and Spanish is here.

Downloadable versions are below:

English

Spanish

Haitian Creole

Completed paper versions can be returned to Kelly: kelly@mahomeless.org

Continuums of Care, youth providers, youth ambassadors, and other partners also will be distributing the survey over the next two weeks to youth and young adults throughout the state.


Data from last year's survey is available here and Spare Change News coverage of this year's count is here.

The Coalition is proud to be a lead partner in the Massachusetts Youth Count, a project of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Learn more on the Youth Count Facebook page or by emailing kelly@mahomeless.org

Thanks! 
Advocate Along with Us to Improve the House Version of the FY'17 State Budget

Advocate Along with Us to Improve the House Version of the FY'17 State Budget

Support key amendments to the House Ways and Means budget recommendations

(Initially posted April 14, 2016)

Yesterday, the House Committee on Ways and Means ("HWM" or "House Ways and Means") unveiled its fiscal year 2017 budget recommendations for the Commonwealth. This $39.5 billion budget marks the next step on the path to developing the state budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1st. Tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m.(Friday, April 15th) will be the deadline for House members to file amendments to the HWM budget, with the House budget debate scheduled for the week of April 25th.

See the sections linked here for preliminary information on the House Ways and Mean's budget proposals for housing, shelter, homelessness prevention, and cash assistance programs. 

*Please contact your State Representative today to ask her/him to support the key amendments listed below, notably the amendments to expand RAFT, restore funding for housing and services to unaccompanied youth, and to prevent families from having to stay in places not meant for human habitation. You can find your State Representative's contact information by going to malegislature.gov/People/House or www.wheredoivotema.com, or by calling the State House switchboard: 617-722-2000.*

Stay tuned in the days and week ahead for a more detailed analysis and additional information about amendments.

As this is only the next of several proposals on the way to the final FY'17 budget, your voice will be critical to helping to protect housing, homelessness, and safety net programs for families, individuals, and youth.

To learn more about the Coalition's FY'17 budget priorities, please click here.

We are truly grateful that you are advocating with us to protect and promote investment in these programs!

Important links:

Expand Access to Homelessness Prevention Resources in FY'17

Expand Access to Homelessness Prevention Resources in FY'17

Expand Eligibility and Funding for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316)

Please join the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless in asking your State Representative and State Senator to support the expansion of the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program to change the definition of family to cover households of all sizes and configurations so as to allow unaccompanied adults and those without children in the household to also access homelessness prevention resources. Please also join us in asking the Legislature to expand RAFT funding from $12.5 million to $18.5 million to fund the expansion and to ensure that RAFT resources are available year-round.

testimonies; testimonies in support of RAFT expansion (also viewable below)

* One-minute online action: Click here to send a letter in support of the RAFT expansion to your State Representative and State Senator.* 
Testimonies for override campaign 7-20-16-page-001

Testimonies for override campaign 7-20-16-page-002









Help Us Expand Access to Emergency Assistance Family Shelter

Help Us Expand Access to Emergency Assistance Family Shelter

Help Change Policies Forcing Families to Stay in Places Not Meant for Human Habitation

Join the Coalition in asking your State Representative and State Senator to provide adequate funding for the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program (EA, line item 7004-0101) in the fiscal year 2017 budget and include key language to provide shelter to families who are at imminent risk of staying in a place not meant for human habitation.

Under current EA regulations, otherwise eligible families who are within 24 hours of staying in places not meant for human habitation can be turned away from shelter, even if DHCD believes that the family will be forced to stay in a car, emergency room, or transit station. Massachusetts can and must do better for its most vulnerable families.

Between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 (all of FY’15), 494 families with children were approved for EA only after first staying in a place not meant for human habitation. For the first seven months of FY’16, 364 families first stayed in places not meant for human habitation before being approved for shelter (an average of 52 families/month).

Learn more here: EA fact sheet

Sign our one-minute online action to legislators, on Emergency Assistance and other issues: FY'17 budget priorities online action







Legislative Action Day 2016

Thank you to the 296 people who joined us at the State House for our annual Legislative Action Day, to be held on Thursday, March 3, 2016! We are so grateful for your participation and engagement. Special thanks to all of our amazing speakers who inspired the crowd with their calls to action.

As a follow-up, please take a minute to participate in our online letter action to State Representatives and State Senators, and check out our follow-up email alert.

See our list of FY'17 budget priorities, current bill priorities, and agenda here, and check out our promo video on YouTube.

We will be posting photos soon. If you have any pictures from Legislative Action Day, please share them with us.

screenshot lad video

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Legislative Action Day training call on Wednesday, February 17th (flyer). Didn't make it? Here are some tips for meeting with legislators and aides.

After your meetings, please take a few minutes to share feedback on those meetings with us. Please complete this online legislative response form or the PDF version and send it back to us.




lad 2016 flyer 1-14-16

Youth Without Homes Can't Wait: FY'17 Budget Campaign Organizational Endorsers

Action for Boston Community Development

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC)

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

Cambridge and Somerville Housing and Welfare Coalition

Children's League of Massachusetts

Citizens' Housing and Planning Association

DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services

Homeless Youth Providers Engaging Together

Homes for Families

Horizons for Homeless Children

Justice Resource Institute/YouthHarbors

LUK, Inc.

Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy

Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

MassEquality

Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership

Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts

Promise Place School

Samaritans Steps

School on Wheels

Somerville Homeless Coalition

Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness

Y2Y Harvard Square

* A campaign fact sheet can be found here.
enduring voices justin
2015-2016 Legislative Session Bill Priorities

2015-2016 Legislative Session Bill Priorities

Help Advocate with Your Legislators with and for Bills to Better Serve Families, Youth, and Unaccompanied Adults

Our major legislative priorities for the 2015-2016 legislative session are described in this overview sheet and below.

House Bill 529 MCH EAEDC Campaign front

1.) Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) bill:
     An Act relative to assisting elders and people with disabilities in the Commonwealth
     House Bill 529
     Lead sponsors: Representative James O’Day and Senator Patricia Jehlen
     Fact sheet and legislative page
     Online action alert in support of House Bill 529
 
2.) Bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness:
     An Act providing a homeless bill of rights
     House Bill 1129
     Lead Sponsor: Representative William Smitty Pignatelli
     Fact sheet and legislative page

3.) Bill to protect families who are being evicted from subsidized housing or terminated from shelter:
     An Act to end child homelessness
     House Bill 119
     Lead sponsor: Representative Denise Provost
     Legislative page
 



Action Alert Archives

Action Alert Archives, 2011-2015

Please see http://mahomeless.org/advocacy/policy-alerts for our current action alerts and updates.

October 27, 2015: Please invite your legislators to join the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance for an Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Advocacy Day this Thursday, October 29th! (PDF and web version)

October 21, 2015: 
Join us next Tuesday at the State House to show your support for House Bill 529 to strengthen the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) (PDF and web version)


October 1, 2015: 
Sign Up Today for Next Week's Basic Benefits Training on Helping Families Access Emergency Assistance and Related Benefits! (PDF and web version)

September 25, 2015: 
Hot Off the Press: Update on the Campaign to Stop Eligibility Restrictions on Access to Family Shelter (PDF and web version)

September 14, 2015:
 One-Minute Activism: Stand Up with Families without Homes: Ask Your Legislators to Oppose EA Restrictions in the Supplemental Budget

September 10, 2015: Stand Up with Families without Homes: Ask Your Legislators to Oppose EA Restrictions in the Supplemental Budget (PDF and web version)

September 3, 2015: Accessing the Clothing Allowance: Increased TAFDC Benefits and Eligibility for the Month of September (PDF and web version)


July 31, 2015:
  Success! Thank You for Helping to Secure the Veto Overrides to Restore Funding for Unaccompanied Youth + MRVP! (PDF and web version)


July 15, 2015: Stand Up for Equal Rights! Join Us at the State House on 7/28 for a Hearing on a Bill of Rights for People Experiencing Homelessness

July 8, 2015: Budget Update: The FY'16 Conference Committee Report Includes Many Increases for Key Housing, Homelessness, and Benefits Programs! 

June 25, 2015: Update: Thank You for Asking Your State Legislators to Participate in the Unaccompanied Youth Sign-On Letter to the Budget Conferees!

June 17, 2015:
Quick Action: Please Ask Your State Legislators to Participate in the Unaccompanied Youth Sign-On Letter to the Budget Conferees!

May 28, 2015: Help Shape the FY'16 Conference Committee Budget! Advocate with Us for Housing and Homelessness Programs


May 22, 2015: Senate Budget Update: Thank You for Helping Us Advocate for Key Senate Budget Amendments to Better Serve People Experiencing and At-risk of Homelessness! 


May 15, 2015: The Senate Amendments Have Been Filed. Now Help Advocate for Their Inclusion in the Final Senate Budget!for Their Inclusion in the Final Senate Budget!

March 19, 2015: Update: More Action Is Needed! Please Help Ensure Adequate Funding for Family Homelessness Programs in the Pending Supplemental Budget (PDF and web version)

March 13, 2015: Take ActionPlease Help Ensure Adequate Funding for Family Homelessness Programs in the Pending Supplemental Budget

March 12, 2015: Gratitude and Updates: Thank You for Your Support on Legislative Action Day + Analysis of the Governor's Budget Recommendations for Key Housing and Homelessness Programs

March 4, 2015:Youth Without Homes Can't Wait! Help Us Obtain $4 Million in the FY'16 State Budget to Create Housing and Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

February 18, 2015: Just Over Two Weeks to Go! Register Today to Join Us at the State House on March 5th for Legislative Action Day 2015! (PDF and web version)


December 17, 2014: Help Support the Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill! Please Ask Your Senator to Sign onto the Letter to Senate Ways and Means Today!

December 11, 2014: Great News! The Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill Has Passed in the House and is Moving onto the Senate!

December 1, 2014: Support the Coalition This #GivingTuesday and Throughout the Holidays!

November 25, 2014: Thanksgiving Week Gratitude and Simple Actions You Can Take to Help Address Homelessness!

November 17, 2014: Reminder: Join in Our Call-In Day Today to Help the Youth Homelessness Bill Move Even Closer to the Finish Line!

November 4, 2014: Join Us to Improve Benefits and Quality of Life for EAEDC Program Participants!

September 5, 2014: Youth Without Homes Can't Wait: Participate in Our Photo Action to Help Pass House Bill 135!

October 22, 2014: Important Housing Notice: Waiting List Openings for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program

August 26, 2014: Helping Families Access the TAFDC Children's Clothing Allowance: Increased Welfare Benefits and Eligibility for the Month of September

June 30, 2014: The Conference Committee Members Have Released Their FY'15 Budget Recommendations

June 18, 2014: Last Call! Help Shape the FY'15 Conference Committee Budget by Advocating with Us for Housing and Homelessness Programs!

June 9, 2014: Youth Without Homes Can't Wait! Please Ask Your Legislators to Sign onto Rep. O'Day's Letter to Chairman Dempsey in Support of House Bill 135!

June 5, 2014: Youth without homes can't wait! Help us end youth homelessness by supporting House Bill 135!

June 4, 2014: Looking Ahead to Fiscal Year 2015: The Conference Committee is Meeting Now to Iron Out the Differences Between the House and Senate Versions of the FY'15 State Budget

May 27, 2014: Outcomes from the Senate budget debate: Please thank your State Senator for supporting key housing and homelessness amendments!

May 15, 2014: Take action! Please call your State Senator to support amendments to the Senate Ways & Means budget!

February 25, 2014: Standing together, taking action to end homelessness: Weigh in with your State Legislators as we mark the Coalition's Legislative Action Day!

February 20, 2014: "Standing Together, Taking Action to End Homelessness": Sign up today to join us next Thursday for Legislative Action Day 2014!

February 13, 2014: Weigh in Today with Your State Senator to Push for Important Provisions in the Pending Supplemental Budget!

February 12, 2014: Updates and Actions: Pre-Legislative Action Day Training Call, Supplemental Budget Advocacy, and More

February 4, 2014: State House Call-In Day This Thursday, 2/6 to Pass the Youth Homelessness Bill!

January 30, 2014: Join Us for our Month of Action to End Homelessness

January 24, 2014: Help Secure Funding for Two Key Programs Serving Families Experiencing Homelessness!

January 23, 2014: Governor Patrick Has Released His Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Recommendations

November 19, 2013: Stand with Low-Income Families: Take Action as the Legislature Gets Ready to Vote on Welfare Reform Measures!

November 14, 2013: Ask Your Legislators to Take Action to Continue to Protect Families Experiencing Homelessness by Extending the New SDTEA Program

November 5, 2013: Update on the House Welfare Debate: Please Contact Your State Representative Today in Support of Rep. Decker's Critical Welfare Reform Amendment! (For a version with active hyperlinks, click here.)

October 2, 2013: Please Invite Your State Legislators to Mark World Homeless Day with the Coalition Next Thursday, October 10th!

August 22, 2013: Campaign to Strengthen Assistance for the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC)

August 20, 2013: Important Information for Families Timing Out of the HomeBASE Rental Assistance Program

August 8, 2013: Save the Date! Forum on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness, November 8th in Worcester 

July 25, 2013: Implementation of Key Housing and Homelessness Provisions Within the Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget

July 1, 2013: Happy New Fiscal Year! The Legislature Has Finalized the FY'14 Budget

May 20, 2013: Please Ask Your State Senator to Actively Support Key FY'14 Budget Amendments!

May 15, 2013: Looking Ahead to FY'14: The Senate Ways & Means Committee Has Released Its Budget Recommendations for the Upcoming Year

May 6, 2013: Tomorrow: Participate in a Call-In Day to the State Senate in Support of Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE!

April 25, 2013: The House Has Finalized Its FY'14 Budget Recommendations. Now It Is on to the Senate!

April 22, 2013: Take Action Today! Ask Your State Representative to Actively Support Key Amendments to the House Ways & Means Budget!

April 11, 2013: Looking Ahead to FY'14: The House Ways & Means Committee Has Released Its Budget Recommendations for the Upcoming Year


December 20, 2012: Save the Date! Please Plan to Join Us at the State House on February 27th for Our Legislative Action Day/Youth on the Hill Day

December 5, 2012: Early December News: Implementation of New Shelter Regs, FY'14 Budget Hearings, FY'13 Budget Cuts and Requests, and More

November 19, 2012: Participate in a Statewide Call-in Day Tomorrow, 11/20 to Push Back Against New Family Shelter Eligibility Restrictions!

October 4, 2012: Call to Action: Public Hearings on 10/22 and 10/25 on New Family Shelter Eligibility Restrictions

August 20, 2012: August Updates: RAFT Homelessness Prevention Program is Back and First Phase of Family Shelter Restrictions Are in Effect

July 18, 2012: Your Action Needed to Halt DHCD's Proposed Eligibility for Emergency Assistance Shelter!

July 9, 2012: Governor Patrick's Budget Signing Decisions + New Supplemental Budget Request

June 28, 2012: Contact the Governor to Ask Him to Support Key Elements of the Conference Committee Budget!

June 18, 2012: Last Call! Speak Up for Housing and Homelessness Issues in the Conference Committee Budget!

June 11, 2012: Speak Up for Housing and Homelessness Issues in Conference Committee!

June 1, 2012: Outcome of Priority Budget Amendments for Housing and Homelessness Issues

May 22, 2012: Senate Debate Alert: Please Call Your Senator Today to Support Key Housing and Homelessness Amendments

May 17, 2012: Time to Take Action! The Senate Ways and Means Committee Has Released Its FY'13 Budget Recommendations

May 1, 2012: The Final Outcome of the House Budget Debate. Your Advocacy is Needed on the Senate Side!

April 23, 2012: Weigh in Today with Your State Representative to Win Key Improvements to the House Budget Proposal!

April 12, 2012: Time to Take Action! The House Ways and Means Committee Has Released Its FY'13 Budget Recommendations


February 28, 2012: Our Legislative Action Day is TOMORROW! Will you "Leap into Action to End Homelessness"?

February 21, 2012: Countdown to Our 2/29 Legislative Action Day! Will You Join Us to "Leap into Action to End Homelessness"?

February 13, 2012: Reminder: Join Us Tomorrow for Our Unaccompanied Youth Call-in Day and on 2/29 for Legislative Action Day!

February 8, 2012: Reminder: Have a Heart for Unaccompanied Youth! Participate in our Valentine's Day Call-in Day to House Ways and Means!

February 1, 2012: Have a Heart for Unaccompanied Youth! Participate in our Valentine's Day Call-in Day to House Ways and Means!


January 26, 2012: Time to Take Action: Governor Patrick Has Released His Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Recommendations

December 29, 2011: Please Consider Making a Year-End Donation to Help Support the Coalition's A Bed for Every Child Initiative!


December 21, 2011: Online, On TV, and At the State House: Exciting Updates from the Coalition

December 14, 2011: EOHED Announces Public Hearings on FY'13 Budget

November 29, 2011: Executive Office of Health and Human Services to Hold FY'13 Public Budget Hearings

November 23, 2011:  Good News for Thanksgiving! Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill Receives Favorable Report

November 7, 2011: Budget Update: Legislature Approves Supplemental Funding for the Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE Programs!

October 20, 2011: Update on Your Advocacy to Protect Access to Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE for Families Experiencing Homelessness!


October 19, 2011: Take Action to Protect Access to Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE for Families Experiencing Homelessness!

September 29, 2011: Legislative Briefing on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Next Wednesday

September 1, 2011: Children's Clothing Allowance Campaign Victory and Public Hearings on DHCD's HomeBASE Program Regulations

August 18, 2011: Public Hearing on DHCD's HomeBASE Program Regulations, Monday, 9-12, in Boston

August 9, 2011: Coalition's Highland Kids Initiative Will Be Featured on Chronicle This Thursday, 8-11!

July 28, 2011: HomeBASE Information from DHCD

July 26, 2011: Next Steps on Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill

July 18, 2011: HomeBASE Information Session Has Been Rescheduled: Join Us at DHCD Next Monday, 7-25, in Boston

July 14, 2011: The Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill Will Be Heard at the State House Next Tuesday; Help Fill Gardner Auditorium!




Past Policy Campaigns

Past Policy Campaigns

Past Policy Campaigns

Information on the Coalition's FY'17 Budget Campaigns 
Please follow these links to sections on our website with more details on the FY'17 budget process:
Overall FY'17 budget priority fact sheet(updated 5-6-16), including the Coalition's requests for line items such as Emergency Assistance, HomeBASE, youth homelessness, RAFT, Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, EAEDC, etc.

Expanding the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) homelessness prevention program: Campaign fact sheet (updated 4-21-16); downloadable organizational endorsement formonline organizational endorsementtestimony from Susan O. in support of the RAFT expansion

Providing $4 million for housing and services for unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness: Campaign fact sheetcurrent organizational endorser list (as of 4-15-16); campaign endorsement formmore information about youth homelessness and the work of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Provide Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter and resources to families expreriencing homelessness before they have to stay in places not meant for human habitation: Campaign fact sheetsupplemental budget campaign fall 2016/winter 2017

Increasing funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, line item 7004-9030): Campaign fact sheet

Maintaining TAFDC benefits for families with disabilities: Campaign fact sheet

  • The Baker Administration plans to start counting SSI benefits when calculating welfare benefits for families in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC). The proposal, announced at the same time as the Governor's FY'17 budget recommendations were released, would lead to an estimated 6,900 families with children losing their TAFDC benefits completely, and another 1,600 families facing drastic cuts to their benefits. Such a policy would have dramatic impacts on the quality of life for those families (all of which have at least one member with a severe disability) and on the rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Join with us in speaking up against this proposal!

Check back frequently for updates and additional campaign information.

Information on the Coalition's 2015-2016 Bill Campaigns 
  • Overall bill priority fact sheet (updated 2-26-16)
  • Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) bill: An Act relative to assisting elders and people with disabilities in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Jim O'Day and lead Senate sponsor Senator Patricia Jehlen (House Bill 529): Fact sheet (updated 4-8-16), legislative pageinfographic; status: House Bill 529 was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means on December 10, 2015. The bill remains in House Ways and Means. The Coalition is working to move forward elements of the bill during informal legislative sessions, which will run from August 2016-January 2017.
  • Bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness: An Act providing a homeless bill of rights, filed by Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (House Bill 1129): Fact sheet (updated 4-8-16), legislative pageflyer for 7-28-15 bill hearing at the State House; Rep. Pignatelli's December 2016legislative sign-on letter text; status: House Bill 1129 was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Housing and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means on December 17, 2015. The bill remains in House Ways and Means. The Coalition is working to move the bill forward during informal legislative sessions, which will run from August 2016-January 2017.
  • Bill to protect families with children who are being evicted from subsidized housing or terminated from shelter from having to stay in places not meant for human habitation: Filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 119): Legislative page; status: The bill was heard by the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities on October 20, 2015, where it is awaiting further action.
  • Sample of the Coalition's letter to legislators to request co-sponsorship of these three bills
  • The Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children bill: An Act relative to ensuring the well-being of all children in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Jay Livingstone (House Bill 429) and Senator Mark Montigny (Senate Bill 94): Fact sheet from the Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children Coalition; legislative pages for House Bill 429 and Senate Bill 94; status: The bill initially was assigned to the Joint Committee on Education, and then was sent to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. That committee heard the bill on October 20, 2015, and the bill is awaiting further action.
Information on the Coalition's FY'16 Budget Campaigns 

Conference Committee budget outcomes (7-8-15)

Overall budget priority fact sheet (updated 4-15-15); letter to FY'16 budget Conference Committee members

Senate budget amendment fact sheet 

Housing and services for unaccompanied youth (updated 5-7-15)

Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program (EA) (updated 3-26-15); House budget amendment fact sheet

HomeBASE re-housing and homelessness diversion resources for families: Senate budget amendment fact sheetHouse budget amendment fact sheet

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)

Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP)

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependment Children program (TAFDC) House budget amendment fact sheet

To read our analysis of Governor Baker's FY'16 budget proposal, which was released on March 4, 2015, please click here.