Advocacy

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
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