Advocacy

FY 2019

FY'19 Budget Advocacy: Amendments to Improve Homelessness Prevention, Housing, and Benefits Programs

FY'19 Budget Advocacy: Amendments to Improve Homelessness Prevention, Housing, and Benefits Programs

April 13, 2018, last updated April 18th

Friday, April 13th, was the deadline for State Representatives to file amendments to the House Committee on Ways and Means ("House Ways and Means" or "HWM") fiscal year 2019 budget recommendations. We are working with Representatives Marjorie Decker and Jim O'Day to file key amendments related to the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program (EA, line item 7004-0101), housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults (line items 4000-0007 and 4000-0300), and the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition homelessness prevention program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316).

Please ask your Representative to cosponsor the amendments listed below today. You can find out your Representative's name and contact information via www.wheredoivotema.com. If you do reach out to your Representative, let us know the response. Here is our April 18th action alert.

Key Amendments

Overview sheet for Representatives 

* See a list of amendment cosponsors on this House amendment Google Doc. This document will be updated frequently. *

- The HWM budget would increase funding for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) from $15 million to $17 million, but it does not include the expanded definition of family so that unaccompanied youth, elders, and people with disabilities also can access RAFT homelessness prevention resources. RAFT amendment fact sheet (updated 4-18-18)

Representative Marjorie Decker has filed a RAFT amendment, Amendment #1328, to restore the expanded definition of family, increase overall funding to $18.5 million, and make sure that at least $3 million will be made available to households without children under 21.

Follow the amendment link above to see if your Representative has signed on already. If not, p
lease ask your Representative to cosponsor this amendment through the online LAWS system. 


- The House Ways and Means budget would retain harmful, current eligibility language that allows the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to deny Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101) shelter access to families that have not yet stayed in places not meant for human habitation.

Representative Marjorie Decker has filed two Emergency Assistance amendments: Amendment #1301 to create a $300,000 pilot to allow otherwise eligible families to access EA before having to prove that they have stayed in places not meant for human habitation and Amendment #1308 to ensure that DHCD does not further restrict families' rights to apply for EA in person by maintaining in-person application sites (in addition to telephonic options.) EA amendment fact sheet

Follow the amendment links above to see if your Representative has signed on already. If not, please ask your Representative to cosponsor these amendments through the online LAWS system. 



- The House Ways and Means budget would provide $1 million for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults under the age of 25 who are experiencing homelessness out on their own (line item 4000-0007). This would be an increase over the $675,000 FY'18 funding level, but less than the amount needed to provide adequate statewide resources. 

Representative Jim O'Day has filed two youth homelessness amendments: Amendment #1173 to increase the funding for youth housing and services to $4 million in line item 4000-0007 and Amendment #1177 to include specific language in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services line item to provide $150,000 for the work of the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth in line item 4000-0300. Youth homelessness amendment fact sheet

Follow the amendment links above to see if your Representative has signed on already. If not, please ask your Representative to cosponsor these amendments through the online LAWS system. 


- Currently, the Coalition is working with Representative Kay Khan and Senate President Harriette Chandler to move forward legislation to ease access to Massachusetts IDs for people experiencing homelessness (House Bill 2737/Senate Bill 1906). Both bills are pending in their respective Committee on Ways and Means.

Representative Khan has filed an amendment, Amendment #802, to incorporate the bill language into the FY'19 budget. Mass ID amendment fact sheet

Follow the amendment link above to see if your Representative has signed on already. If not, please ask your Representative to cosponsor this amendment through the online LAWS system. 

Please also see our House Ways and Means budget page for our preliminary analysis of how key homelessness prevention, housing, emergency services, and benefits programs fared in the HWM budget, as compared to our budget priorities.

Check back on this page for more details on additional related House budget amendments. The full House will debate the budget the week of April 23rd.


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Legislative Action Day 2018: Thank You for Joining Us on Tuesday, February 27th

Legislative Action Day 2018: Thank You for Joining Us on Tuesday, February 27th

Last updated March 1, 2018

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Legislative Action Day Follow-Up Action: Please take one-minute to sign our latest online action to support deeper investments in homelessness prevention, housing, cash assistance, and emergency services.*

Thank you to everyone who participated in Legislative Action Day 2018 on Tuesday, February 27th! The event was held at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, hosted by Representative Jim O'Day. We are grateful to everyone who raised their voice to help end homelessness!

Click here to download the flyer (PDF).

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The day began with registration and a light breakfast at 9 a.m. The legislative speakers included Representative Jim O'Day, Senate President Harriette Chandler, Senator Pat Jehlen, Senator Joe Boncore, and Senator Jamie Eldridge, and State House staffer, Cinda Danh. We also had speakers from Worcester Fellowship, Boston Youth Advisory Board, the Massachusetts Poor People's Campaign, Glass House Shelter Project, Boston Center for Independent Living, Women's Lunch Place, and other allied organizations who shared their lived experiences of homelessness and housing instability. The agenda is available here. (Please note that due to the untimely death of Representative Peter Kocot, a true friend of the Coalition, several of the previously scheduled legislative speakers were be unable to attend.)

Photos from the day are available here. (Thank you to our main photographer, Kevin Lilly!)

Read our press release and media advisory.

Here is some of the Legislative Action Day media and online coverage:

 - Homeless advocates to converge on Massachusetts State House

 - Chandler: State Senate 'ready to go' on housing bill
 - "Homeless, not worthless"

Fact sheets for our overall budget priorities, top four budget priorities (Emergency Assistance, housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults, Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program, and the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program), and details about our bill priorities are on the Current Policy Campaigns page. We also have an online spreadsheet with details and status updates on our bill priorities.

A key part of the day were meetings with state legislators and their staff to talk about why participants support investments in housing, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, income support programs, and related resources. If you are doing additional meetings, here are some tips to help guide your legislative meetings (PDF).

If you met or called your legislators as part of Legislative Action Day, please complete this online response form to share your feedback.


Thank you also to everyone who participated in our training call on Tuesday, February 13th to help participants prepare for the day. 



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