Advocacy

FY 2018

 Join Us to Increase Access to Massachusetts Identification Cards for People Experiencing Homelessness

Join Us to Increase Access to Massachusetts Identification Cards for People Experiencing Homelessness

Last updated December 8, 2017

Obtaining a state identification card is a critical first step for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to accomplish typical life tasks and access opportunities. ID is required for a broad range of life activities, such as:


·         Applying for jobs

·         Enrolling in education programs

·         Getting a library card

·         Picking up a package from the post office

·         Opening financial accounts

·         Entering certain government buildings

·         Accessing services

·         Interacting with law enforcement

Join our campaign to pass legislation to eliminate fees and reduce barriers to accessing Massachusetts identification cards by people experiencing homelessness: An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families, filed by Senator Harriette Chandler (Senate Bill 1906) and Representative Kay Khan (House Bill 2737).

The updated fact sheet is linked here as a PDF and posted below. 

ID card bill fact sheet 11 14 17 1


ID card bill fact sheet 11 14 17 2

 *If your organization would like to become an official endorser of this campaign, please 
complete this form. *

Current campaign endorsers (as of 11/14/17):

ACT UP/Boston
Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative
Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Cambridge and Somerville Housing and Welfare Coalition
DIAL/SELF Youth & Community Services
Domus Incorporated
Father Bill's & Mainspring
First Church Shelter, Cambridge
Gates of Hope Inc.
Hearts of Hope Inc.
Hildebrand Family Self-Help Center
Homeless Empowerment Project
Homeless Prevention Council of Lower Cape Cod
Homeless Youth Providers Engaging Together
Justice Resource Institute/YouthHarbors
LUK, Inc.
Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
MassEquality
Poor People's United Fund
Samaritans Steps
School on Wheels
Wayside Youth & Family Support Network
Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness
Y2Y Harvard Square


The Joint Committee on Transportation heard the bills at two hearings,  on November 13, 2017 and December 6, 2017. Read more about the November 13th hearing here and read testimonies from both hearing below: 

- Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, 11/13 testimony (and PDF) and 12/6 testimony
- Homeless Empowerment Project
- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
- Y2Y Harvard Square
- Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice

See related coverage on this issue:
- Washington Post: "The invisibles: The cruel Catch-22 of being poor with no ID" (6-15-17).
- American Bar Association:
"Proving I exist: Strategies for assisting youth in obtaining identification documents"(10-2-17).

For more information, please contact Kelly at kelly @mahomeless.org
Campaign to Establish a Bill of Rights for People Experiencing Homelessness

Campaign to Establish a Bill of Rights for People Experiencing Homelessness

Please Actively Support House Bill 695 and Senate Bill 46!

Last updated November 21, 2017

Please join us today (Tuesday, November 21st), at the State House for a hearing on the Senate version of the bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness, Senate Bill 46. 

bill of rights hearing for 11 21 17 1


Download the 2017-2018 legislative session bill fact sheet here (updated 6-19-17); fact sheet for 11-21-17 hearing.

Read the Coalition's testimony for the June 20th Housing hearing and for the November 21st Children and Families hearing, as well as testimony from people experiencing homelessness that was gathered last session: Sherry's testimonyCharlie's testimony, and shelter residents' testimony.

Add your organization as an official endorser of the campaign here.

Summary

An Act providing a homeless bill of rights (House Bill 695) and An Act creating a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness (Senate Bill 46) would establish a definition of homelessness and protect key rights of all residents, whether or not they are experiencing homelessness. The bills are modeled after landmark legislation passed in 2012 in Rhode Island. Similar legislation has passed since in Connecticut, Illinois, and Puerto Rico.

Bill Status

The bills were filed in January 2017 by lead sponsors Representative William Smitty Pignatelli and Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. House Bill 695 was sent to the Joint Committee on Housing, and was heard by the committee on June 20, 2017. It was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Housing on July 10, 2017. Now the bill is awaiting action by the House Committee on Ways and MeansSenate Bill 46 has been sent to the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, and will be heard on November 21, 2017.

The bills are nearly identical to House Bill 1129 from the 2015-2016 session. That bill was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Housing in December 2015 and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means. In spite of considerable support, the bill did not pass last session. We are hopeful that the momentum from last session and the pressing need to uphold human rights and dignity will propel the bills forward this session.

Why Is It Necessary to Create a Bill of Rights for People Experiencing Homelessness?

People experiencing homelessness often are subjected to discrimination and mistreatment based on their housing status. The bill of rights is a guide for state and local officials emphasizing that people experiencing homelessness are entitled to the same rights as any other resident of Massachusetts. The bill of rights seeks to outline those rights so as to prevent discrimination based on housing status. The legislation recognizes the increased prevalence of homelessness in Massachusetts due to widespread economic hardship, the insufficient availability of safe, affordable housing, and a weakened social safety net.

“No person’s rights, privileges, or access to public services may be denied or abridged solely because he or she is experiencing homelessness.”

The rights specifically included in the bill of rights are the right to move freely in public spaces, the right to equal treatment by municipal agencies (such as police departments), freedom from discrimination in employment, the right to emergency medical care, the right to register to vote and to vote, freedom from disclosure of records, and the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy of property.

The bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness seeks to have the rights outlined to be treated as a statement of legislative intent, as a guide for state and municipal agencies.

Click here for the legislative pages for the bill: House Bill 695 and Senate Bill 46.

List of Endorsing Organizations:

Allston Brighton Health Collaborative
American Friends Service Committee Material Aid & Advocacy Program
Arise for Social Justice
Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee
Boston Women's Fund
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance
Children's League of Massachusetts
City Life Vida Urbana
City Mission Boston
Community Works
Emmanuel Church in the City of Boston
Family Promise MetroWest
First Baptist Church, Everett
First Church Shelter
Horizons for Homeless Children
Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance
My Brother's Table
New Bedford Homeless Advocates Inc.
Poor People's United Fund
Roca
Samaritans Steps, Inc.
ServiceNet, Inc.
Somerville Homeless Coalition
South Congregational Church
Spare Change News/Homeless Empowerment Project (HEP)
Tapestry Health
Women's Lunch Place
Y2Y Harvard Square

(List as of 11-21-17)

Protect the Rights of All Residents of Massachusetts, Regardless of Housing Status: Actively Support the Bill of Rights for People Experiencing Homelessness, House Bill 695/Senate Bill 46!


The Senate Has Passed the RAFT Veto Override

The Senate Has Passed the RAFT Veto Override

November 2,. 2017

The Massachusetts Senate voted this afternoon to restore funding and expanded eligibility language to the RAFT homelessness prevention program so that unaccompanied youth/young adults, elders, and people with disabilities can access critical resources to avoid or exit homelessness. Thank you to everyone who has been weighing in in support of the veto override! Stay tuned for implementation updates here: www.mahomeless.org/advocacy
Legislative Action Day 2018: Save the Date and Plan to Join Us on Tuesday, February 27th

Legislative Action Day 2018: Save the Date and Plan to Join Us on Tuesday, February 27th


Legislative Action Day 2018 will be held on Tuesday, February 27th at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Registration is now open, and will once again be hosted by Representative Jim O'Day. The event is free and open to the public. Please plan to join us and raise your voice to help end homelessness!

More details and links will be posted here shortly.
The Senate Veto Override Debate Continues

The Senate Veto Override Debate Continues

September 28, 2017; last updated October 18th

** Please see our latest update at http://www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/raft-override **


The Senate continues to override FY'18 budget vetoes, while the House successfully overrode all of the Governor's vetoes in its chamber. 

During their September 28th veto override debate, the Senate overrode the Governor's elimination of funding for the unaccompanied youth and young adult homelessness line item, 4000-0007, by a vote of 35-2. This means that $675,000 now will be restored to the FY'18 budget to once again provide housing and wraparound support services for young people experiencing homelessness out on their own. It previously was overridden in the House on September 13th by a vote of 140-12.

On October 4th, the Senate also took action to override the Governor’s Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000) veto that would have reduced the annual children's clothing allowance from $300 to $250, and struck language requiring advanced notice before eligibility restrictions or benefits cuts are made. This override was particularly important as the Governor was looking to count Supplemental Security Income when determining eligibility for TAFDC which would have rendered an estimated 5,800 families ineligible for TAFDC and/or only eligible for reduced grants. The Senate vote was 35-2, and the House vote was 132-20.


The Senate will be back in formal sessions on October 19th. We will be advocating for the override of the Governor's Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) veto. A Senate override would restore the proposed $2 million increase to RAFT, and restore the language that would allow the program to keep serving unaccompanied youth, elders, people with disabilities, and other households without minor children.

During FY’17, 3,980 households were served by RAFT. This included 124 households who previously were ineligible under the more limited definition of family, 56% of which were households with disabilities. With $15 million in FY’18 (including the earmark of $2 million for households without minor children), we anticipate that the state would be able to prevent homelessness for an estimated 4,878 households, based on the average FY’16 RAFT expenditure of $3,075/household (including the $539 administrative fee for each household approved). According to the 2015-2016 RAFT report published by the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts, the state’s FY’16 RAFT investment of $12.5 million saved the Commonwealth an estimated $137 million. This veto override already was approved by a 135-20 vote in the House.

Please sign our updated online action on the RAFT veto override to State Senators here. Stay tuned for more details on this page; read more about our original list of veto override requests here.

RAFT veto override image for salsa
Take Action to Help Override Governor Baker's Vetoes to Key Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Budget

Take Action to Help Override Governor Baker's Vetoes to Key Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Budget

July 17, 2017; last updated August 17th; see also http://www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/senate-veto-override-debate for Senate debate updates.

Governor Charlie Baker just issued his FY'18 budget vetoes. Among the $320 million in vetoes were cuts to important language and funding related to homelessness, housing, and benefits programs. Fortunately, he does not have the final word. The Legislature can override his vetoes with 2/3 votes from both the House and Senate. Help make that happen by signing our one-minute online action to State Legislators.

What did he cut?

The Governor zeroed out the unaccompanied youth homelessness line item, 4000-0007, saying that the $675,000 appropriated by the Legislature was too small: "I am vetoing this item because it is too small to be effective at the enacted level of funding." (Fortunately, this veto did not cut the funding for the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission and the annual Massachusetts Youth Count. $150,000 will be provided for those initiatives through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services administrative line item-- even though there is no direct language/earmark.) See our latest campaign fact sheet here.

He also eliminated the $2 million increase to the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316), and struck the language that would allow the program to keep serving unaccompanied youth, elders, people with disabilities, and other households without minor children.

In the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000), the Governor reduced the annual children's clothing allowance from $300 to $250, and struck language requiring advanced notice before eligibility restrictions or benefits cuts are made. This is particularly concerning as the Governor is looking to count Supplemental Security Income when determining eligibility for TAFDC and render an estimated 5,800 families ineligible for TAFDC and/or have their grants reduced.

The Governor also eliminated language from the Department of Housing and Community Development administrative line item (line item 7004-0099) that allows families participating in the HomeBASE program (line item 7004-0108) to retain preferences and priorities for long-term state-funded subsidized housing opportunities.


In some good news, the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, line item 7004-9024, increase to $92.7 million was approved.

We already started to push for veto overrides and will push for supplemental funding for programs that were vetoed. As noted above, the Legislature can restore language and funding by 2/3 votes in both the House and Senate. 


** Please sign our online action to State Legislators, asking them to override these vetoes swiftly. **

Please also join the Coalition in letting Governor Charlie Baker know that you are disappointed in his cuts to key programs like youth homelessness, RAFT, and TAFDC. Click here for the Governor's contact information. ** You also can call your legislators via the State House switchboard: 617-722-2000.

If you have any feedback from the Governor's office or from your State Representative and Senator, please share it with us: kelly @mahomeless.org or call 781-595-7570 x17.

Thank you so much for your continued support and advocacy. Please stay tuned and engaged!


Related Budget Materials:

youth and raft veto override image to members 7 26 17








Take Action with Us to Restore Funding for Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Take Action with Us to Restore Funding for Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

Youth without homes can't wait

September 11, 2017, updated September 18th

Please invite your State Representative and Senator to join us this Tuesday, September 19th for a briefing at the State House on the need to restore funding for housing and wraparound services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness. See our campaign fact sheet, media advisory, and below for additional briefing details. To find out who your legislators are, use the Legislature's search feature  or go to www.wheredoivotema.com.


This event is organized by the Coalition and hosted by Representative Jim O'Day, Senator Harriette Chandler, Representative Kay Khan, and Representative Marjorie Decker. 

We also have room for a limited number of members and supporters to join us as well. RSVP here if you would like to attend.

If you haven't signed our online petition asking the Legislature to override the Governor's youth homelessness and other key vetoes, please click here and enter your address at the bottom to get started.

Who: Legislators, staffers, youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, providers, advocates, and others
What: Legislative briefing on restoring youth and young funding in the FY'18 state budget
When: Tuesday, September 19th, 1-2:30 p.m.
Where: Massachusetts State House, House Members' Lounge, 3rd floor (near the House Chamber)
RSVP: Online here or by emailing Kelly

youth budget campaign fact sheet, 9-18-17, page 1youth budget campaign fact sheet, 9-18-17, page 2
EAEDC Bill Hearing Recap: Taking Action to Improve Benefits for Elders, People with Disabilities, and Youth

EAEDC Bill Hearing Recap: Taking Action to Improve Benefits for Elders, People with Disabilities, and Youth

October 3, 2017; last updated October 25th

Join the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless for the bill hearing on An Act relative to assisting elders and people with disabilities in the Commonwealth (House Bill 2077/Senate Bill 2039)!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017
2:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Joint Committee on Elder Affairs Hearing
State House
Hearing Room A-1*
Boston, Massachusetts 02133


The Committee is chaired by Senator Barbara L'Italien and Representative Danielle Gregoire. Here is the full committee list and the list of bills that will be heard that day.

* If you are able to provide oral and/or written testimony, please RSVP here or contact Kelly. *

Relevant materials and links:
Testimony links:

RSVP image
It's Time for the Annual TAFDC Clothing Allowance!

It's Time for the Annual TAFDC Clothing Allowance!

August 30, 2017

Good news for families participating in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program: For the month of September, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is once again increasing the income eligibility limits and payment standards for the TAFDC program. This increase in the payment standard is known as the children's , and occurs only for September. 

Families currently participating in the TAFDC program will receive an additional $250/eligible child. Families that are not currently receiving TAFDC benefits but apply before the end of September and are approved also will receive the full clothing allowance benefit in the fall. If you are looking to access the benefit, here is a link to local DTA office locations and contact information.

Families may receive an additional $50/eligible child later, too, if the Legislature overrides a veto issued by Governor Baker that reduced the benefit from the $300 recommended by the Legislature back down to $250. The Legislature will begin to take up veto overrides after Labor Day. Learn more about the veto override efforts here and sign our online action to your state legislators to encourage them to take this important action.
Legislators and Advocates Speak Up and Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness

Legislators and Advocates Speak Up and Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness

August 22, 2017, last updated August 30th

Learn more about House Bill 659, An Act to protect families experiencing homelessness from having to sleep in unsafe places, here.

“Government policies or regulations should never deliberately put people, and especially children, in danger. This regulation without any nuance forces parents to place children in harm’s way in order to receive shelter. This is unjust and cruel.” - Representative Marjorie Decker, the bill's lead sponsor (D-Cambridge)


“I am proud to cosponsor H.659. Children and families who are facing homelessness shouldn’t be forced to risk their health and safety for even a single night before they are given access to Emergency Assistance shelter. I have supported this policy change for years, and I hope this session it will finally be enacted into law.” - Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton)

“Nobody should have to face the dangerous and undignified experience of sleeping in public areas, especially kids. This legislation affirms Massachusetts’ commitment to supporting families and providing all our kids with safe, happy childhoods. This starts with a roof over their heads, something which everyone deserves and which we will continue to pursue for everyone in the Commonwealth.” - Senator Barbara L'Italien (D-Andover)

“Being able to safely go to sleep every night with a roof over one’s head should be considered a basic human right. I cosponsored H. 84 and H. 659 because homelessness and housing instability remain chronic and still-too-common ills in our Commonwealth.  These important bills will take concrete steps to address and prevent homelessness and housing instability.” - Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester)

“I am proud to continue being a vocal advocate for increased investment in resources for families experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity. Preventing homelessness and ensuring that families are provided with support programs are imperative to the welfare of the Commonwealth.” - Representative David P. Linsky (D-Natick)

“The issue of ensuring safe shelter for our most vulnerable children and families experiencing homelessness is urgent and tragic. This bill would reduce the risk of harm to families by providing emergency housing assistance for those who would otherwise be sleeping in exposed, unprotected areas. The goal is to keep these families intact and their children safe.” - Representative Jim O'Day (D-West Boylston)

Organizational Testimony (PDF): 

For videos from the hearing, check out our YouTube playlist.

For audio from the hearing, check our new SoundCloud account.






Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness: Join Us for a State House Bill Hearing on August 22nd!

Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness: Join Us for a State House Bill Hearing on August 22nd!

July 27, 2017; updated August 25th

Massachusetts currently requires many families experiencing homelessness to prove that they already have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for a shelter placement through the state's Emergency Assistance (EA) program. In fact, between the policy's implementation in the fall of 2012 and June 30, 2017, at least 2,682 families with children first stayed in an unsafe place before ultimately being placed in shelter.

Please join us at the State House on Tuesday, August 22nd to show your support for House Bill 659, An Act to protect families experiencing homelessness from having to sleep in unsafe places. This bill was filed by Representative Marjorie Decker of Cambridge. See our bill fact sheet here and listen to the personal testimony of advocate/mother, Lynnette.

The Joint Committee on Housing will be taking testimony that day on this and other bills related to the Department of Housing and Community Development and manufactured housing. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m., and will be held in Room B-2. The committee is chaired by Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Kevin Honan.

Please contact Kelly if you are able to provide in-person, written, and/or video testimony in support of the bill. 

*Please also complete this form if your organization is able to be an official endorser of the legislation.*

Current endorsers include: 
  • Advocacy Network to End Family Homelessness
  • Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative
  • Arise for Social Justice
  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
  • Central West Justice Center
  • EMPath
  • Greater Boston Legal Services
  • Horizons for Homeless Children
  • Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
  • Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
  • MetroWest Legal Services
  • MLPB
  • National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter
  • Northeast Justice Center
  • Out Now
  • Partners HealthCare
  • Poor People’s United Fund
  • Project Hope
Important links: ea places not meant for human habitation chart 8 2 17 for website
Outcomes for Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Conference Committee Budget

Outcomes for Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Conference Committee Budget

July 10, 2017; last updated July 13th


7 13 gov with hyperlink

After some delays, the six members* of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Conference Committee released their recommendations, House Bill 3800, on Friday, July 7th for the fiscal year that began on July 1st. While both the House and Senate initially had released $40.8 billion recommendations, the Conference Committee budget reflected the newer consensus revenue estimate (lowered by $733 million) and included only $40.2 billion in spending. (See the previous $40.8 billion recommendations here: House Bill 3601 and Senate Bill 2076.) As anticipated, this meant lower appropriations and fewer positive language changes for many important line items, including some homelessness and housing programs.

To access a PDF of the budget without having to download it, click here. (The budget also is posted here, but the Legislature's website has been experiencing technical difficulties.)

On Friday afternoon, the House voted to approve the Conference Committee budget on a vote of 140-9, and the Senate voted to approve it 36-2. The budget was then sent to Governor Charlie Baker, who has 10 days to sign the budget and issue any vetoes. (In the meantime, the state has a temporary budget in place to cover July.)

Here are some quick highlights, with a full chart of outcomes for the Coalition's priorities here and a closer look at our top three priorities here (PDF):

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT, Line Item 7004-9316): We are happy to report that the Conference Committee adopted the Senate's language to continue to serve households of all sizes and configurations. The Conference Committee budget earmarks up to $2 million to serve households without children under the age of 21. The committee adopted the House's funding recommendation of $15 million, which is $2 million more than the FY'17 appropriation. Click here and see the image below for more details on the importance of RAFT.

Emergency Assistance family shelter and services (EA, Line Item 7004- 0101): Unfortunately, the Conference Committee did not include the Senate’s language that would allow certain otherwise eligible families to access shelter before having to stay in a place not meant for human habitation. The committee also adopted the House’s lower funding recommendation of $155 million. 

Housing and wraparound support services for unaccompanied youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness (Line Item 4000-0007): Unfortunately, the Conference Committee included a compromise appropriation of only $675,000 for the unaccompanied youth homelessness line item ($635,000 for the general programs funded by the line item and an earmark of $40,000 for Y2Y Harvard Square). This dramatic decrease in funding from the $2 million FY’17 level will mean that many programs across the state will lose funding. Stay tuned for advocacy next steps for midyear supplemental funding.

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, Line Item 7004-9024): The Conference Committee increased MRVP funding to $92.7 million, up from the FY'17 level of $86.5 million, but lower than the increase to $100 million that was included in both the House and Senate budgets.


** Please join the Coalition in asking Governor Charlie Baker to retain the RAFT language and funding increase, as well as the increased MRVP funding. Click here for the Governor's contact information. ** Read our letter to the Governor here.



Please also thank your State Representative and Senator for their work to support of the strongest possible budget for homelessness prevention, housing, and benefits programs. To find your legislators' contact information, please go to https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Related Conference Committee Materials:
If you have any feedback from the Governor's office or from your State Representative and Senator, please share it with us: kelly @mahomeless.org or call 781-595-7570 x17.

Thank you so much for your continued support and advocacy!

* The House conferees were Representative Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; and Representative Todd Smola of Warren, the Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Senate conferees were Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means; Senator Sal DiDomenico of Everett, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means; and Senator Vinny deMacedo, the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.








The Rental Arrearage and No Place Like Home Bills Are On the Move!

The Rental Arrearage and No Place Like Home Bills Are On the Move!

Posted July 14, 2017

Great news: Two of our homelessness prevention bills, House Bill 84 and House Bill 114, are on the move! H.84 is An Act to further provide a rental arrearage program, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker
and H. 114 is An Act to prevent homelessness among recipients of transitional assistance (a.k.a. the "No Place Like Home" bill), filed by Representative Denise Provost.

Special thanks to the lead sponsors and cosponsors, the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, Representative Kay Khan and Senator Jennifer Flanagan, and to the full committee. Both bills have been sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Please thank the Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities Committee members, and let House Ways and Means know that you want to see these bills moved forward. Links to their contact information are above, and the State House switchboard number is 617-722-2000.

Thank you!

For more information, please contact Kelly: kelly @mahomeless.org.
Advocating for Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Conference Committee Budget

Advocating for Homelessness and Housing Programs in the FY'18 Conference Committee Budget

June 1, 2017; last updated July 1st

Happy New Fiscal Year! Even though it is July 1st, the Conference Committee budget still has not been released. Stay tuned for further details next week. In the meantime, state government continues to fund services and programs through a temporary budget covering the month of July.

* Please sign our one-minute online action to your State Representative and Senator in support of key Conference Committee requests! *

House and Senate Leadership have named the six members of the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Conference Committee, who will be tasked with working out the differences between the House and Senate budget recommendations. (See their respective $40.8 billion recommendations here: House Bill 3601 and Senate Bill 2076.) The House conferees will be Representative Brian Dempsey of Haverhill, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means; and Representative Todd Smola of Warren, the Ranking Minority Member of the House Committee on Ways and Means. The Senate conferees will be Senator Karen Spilka of Ashland, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means; Senator Sal DiDomenico of Everett, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means; and Senator Vinny deMacedothe Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

The conferees will meet throughout the month of June to move closer to finalizing the Legislature's recommendations for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1st. Unfortunately, the conferees will be working with updated, lower consensus revenue estimates, which mean lower appropriations for many line items.

Please join the Coalition in asking your State Representative and Senator to weigh in with the conferees in support of the strongest possible budget for homelessness prevention, housing, and benefits programs. You also can advocate directly with the conferees. To find your legislators' contact information, please go to https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator. The conferees' contact information is available by clicking on their names above.

Conference Committee Materials:
If you have any feedback from your State Representative and Senator, please share it with us: kelly @mahomeless.org or call 781-595-7570 x17.

Thank you so much for your continued support and advocacy!

FY18 Conference Committee Advocacy






Thank Your State Senator for the Senate's FY'18 Budget Recommendations

Thank Your State Senator for the Senate's FY'18 Budget Recommendations


senate twitter thank you part 2

May 31, 2017


Here is a database of the key amendments, which Senators signed on, and their contact information. Please reach out to your State Senator today to thank them for their support of the key amendments and key priorities.  

Find out who your Senator is here, or call the State House switchboard: 617-722-2000.

For more in depth coverage of the FY'18 Senate budget, please follow this link.

Thank you for all of your work thus far to make the FY'18 budget as strong as possible on homelessness, housing, and benefits issues!
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