Advocacy

Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness! Join Us in Boston on 10/18

No One Should Have to Sleep in a Place Not Meant for Human Habitation

Stand Up with Families Experiencing Homelessness! Join Us in Boston on 10/18
Posted October 7, 2016; last updated November 30, 2016

Please join us on Tuesday, October 18th in Boston for an event to call for a change in state regulations so as to better serve families experiencing homelessness. Since 2012, many families experiencing homelessness have had to stay in places not meant for human habitation before being able to access shelter and rehousing services through the state's Emergency Assistance (EA) and HomeBASE programs.

According to the most recent report from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), for the first two months of FY'17, 141 families entered shelter only after first staying in an emergency room, car, campground, transit station, or other unsafe place not intended to be used for human habitation. These families were 22% of all families entering the EA system. We will be gathering on the 18th to amplify the call to end this policy, so families experiencing homelessness can access resources before having to subject themselves to such extreme living conditions.
 We also will be gathering to continue to call for deeper investments in housing that is affordable for the lowest income families and for more homelessness prevention resources.

We are asking the Legislature to include language in the pending FY'17 supplemental budget (House Bill 4506, line item 7004-0101) to require DHCD to provide shelter and services to otherwise eligible families who lack feasible, alternative housing before families are left to stay in places not meant for human habitation (updated fact sheet, 11-30-16). While the Senate included such language in their version of the FY'17 budget, the language was not approved by the House this summer. We hope that the Legislature will reconsider this decision so as to prevent further traumatization and suffering of children and families.
  
Scheduled speakers include:

  • Families who have stayed in places not meant for human habitation
  • Video testimony from Lynnette Martin, a mother from Framingham
  • Representative Marjorie Decker of Cambridge, lead House sponsor of proposed budget language change
  • Representative Denise Provost of Somerville, lead sponsor of related legislation, House Bill 119, 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
  • Dr. Mia Kanak, pediatrician from Boston Medical Center and Boston Children's Hospital: Written testimony here
  • Dr. Amanda Stewart, pediatrician from Boston Children's Hospital
  • Kelly Turley, Director of Legislative Advocacy at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
  • Providers and advocates working on the front lines
Follow these links for the event agenda (PDF) and press release (PDF).

Please see the image above for additional details, and RSVP here or on the Facebook event page

** Please also share this invitation with your state legislators. You can find their information via www.wheredoivotema.com.**

Refreshments will be served.

The event wil be hosted by the Coalition, City Mission Boston, First Church Shelter, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee, and Poor People's United Fund.

Update:

Check out the Coalition's YouTube channel, EndHomelessnessMA, for videos from this event: