Public Policy

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless has a rich three-decade history as a leader in the fight to prevent and end homelessness here in the Commonwealth. The agency is steadfast in our belief that homelessness can be resolved by supplying safe, affordable, permanent housing for the lowest income households and providing opportunities for families and individuals to build economic stability. To achieve these goals, the Coalition and our members undertake campaigns in support of affordable housing, homelessness prevention, income and benefit programs, and access to education.

Are you registered to vote? If you are eligible to vote, registering to vote and showing up on Election Day can be key advocacy tools for addressing homelessness and housing insecurity here in Massachusetts. Register to vote online (or begin the process) through the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.

Current Policy Campaigns

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** Thank you for joining us for our 2018 Legislative Action Day at the State House on Tuesday, February 27, 2018. Learn more here. **

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You can reach your legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000, and can look up their contact information on the Legislature's website or at www.wheredoivotema.com.


FY'19 Budget Campaigns:

* Please take one-minute to sign our latest online action to support deeper investments in homelessness prevention, housing, cash assistance, and emergency services, as lawmakers develop the fiscal year 2019 state budget*

On January 24, 2018, Governor Baker released his FY'19 budget recommendations. Track the Coalition's priorities and outcomes here

Stay tuned, as this section is being updated.

Overall budget fact sheet

Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101): Include language to ensure that families experiencing homelessness are not required to stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing shelter; FY'19 budget fact sheet (PDF, updated 2-21-18)

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Housing and services for unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness (line item 4000-0007): Increase funding to $4 million from the FY'18 funding level of $675,000; FY'19 fact sheet (PDF, updated 2-13-18)

Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000): Provide full grants to participants experiencing homelessness by eliminating the homelessness penalty. Have your organization 
endorse the EAEDC budget and bill campaigns; FY'19 budget fact sheet (PDF, updated 3-21-18)

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT,  line item 7004-9316): Increase funding for the RAFT homelessness prevention program; 
FY'19 budget fact sheet (PDF, updated 3-6-18); FY'17 statewide RAFT report from the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts (and PDF, released 2-27-18)

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024): Increase funding for the MRVP program to $120 million from the FY'18 funding level of $92.7 million and make language changes to improve the program for participants, such as allowing households to use the subsidies in units at the current fair market rent as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, instead of the 2005 HUD fair market rents; FY'19 budget fact sheet (PDF)

Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, line item 7004-9030): Increase funding for the AHVP program to $7.7 million from the FY'18 funding level of $5 million to assist people living with disabilities secure long-term, stable housing; FY'19 budget fact sheet (PDF)

2017-2018 Bill Campaigns:
  • The Coalition's 2017-2018 bill priority webpage
  • Bill status updates (updated 2-5-18)
  • Overview fact sheet on bill priorities (PDF, updated 2-22-18)
  • 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 (House Bill 2077) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (Senate Bill 2039); fact sheet (updated 2-21-18); additional data fact sheet (updated 9-26-17); have your organization endorse the EAEDC budget and bill campaigns
  • Bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness: An Act providing a homeless bill of rights, filed by Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (House Bill 695) and An Act creating a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness, filed by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (Senate Bill 46); fact sheet (updated 6-14-17); advocacy page
  • Homelessness prevention bill to create a rental arrearage program for families, individuals, and unaccompanied youth, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 84); fact sheet (updated 2-23-18)
  • Bill to ensure that families experiencing homelessness are not required to stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing shelter, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 659); fact sheet (updated 2-23-18)
  • 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: An Act to end child homelessness, filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 115)
  • No Place Like Home bill: An Act to prevent homelessness among recipients of transitional assistance, filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 114)
  • Bill 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); fact sheet (updated 2-22-18); advocacy page
  • Bill to eliminate the family cap rule in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program: An Act relative to the well-being and care of a child,  filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (Senate Bill 34) and Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 85); fact sheet (updated 2-16-18)
  • Bill to put the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program in state statute: An Act relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge (Senate Bill 719)
  • Bill to support the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund: An Act to promote public health through prevention and wellness trust fund, filed by Senator Jason Lewis (Senate Bill 643) and Representatives Aaron Vega and Tackey Chan (House Bill 2480); fact sheet
More details on the Coalition's 2017-2018 bill campaigns are on this page.


Past Policy Campaigns 

FY'18 Budget Campaigns:

Overall FY'18 budget priority fact sheet with full list of budget priorities

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT,  line item 7004-9316): Increase funding for the RAFT homelessness prevention program;
campaign fact sheet (updated 7-15-17); "RAFT in Review" FY'17 report from Metro Housing|Boston (December 2017); "RAFT in Massachusetts 2015-2016" report from the Regional Housing Network of Massachusetts (PDF)

Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Line Item (line item 4000-0007): Expand housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness; campaign fact sheet (updated 9-18-17)

Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101): Ensure that families experiencing homelessness are not required to stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing shelter; Conference Committee campaign fact sheet (updated 6-14-17); organizational endorsement formvideo testimony from Lynnette Martin, a mother from Framingham

Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000): Provide full grants to participants experiencing homelessness by eliminating the homelessness penalty; have your organization endorse the EAEDC budget and bill campaigns

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024): Restore funding to $120 million to provide increased access to housing vouchers and funds to develop housing for very low-income households; fact sheet

HomeBASE (line item 7004-0108): Increase funding to $39.2 million, allow families who are in compliance with HomeBASE requirements to renew their HomeBASE benefits at the end of the first 12 month period, if otherwise facing a return to homelessness, and allow families who have been terminated from the program to apply for benefits again after 12 months, instead of the current, excessive 24-month bar on receiving further assistance. 

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000): Eliminate the family cap rule that pushes TAFDC participants deeper into poverty and reject the Governor's proposal to eliminate or greatly reduce TAFDC benefits for an estimated 5,800 families headed by a parent receiving SSI benefits due to a disability; fact sheet

Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, line item 7004-9030): Increase funding to $7.5 million to serve more individuals under the age of 60 who are living with disabilities to meet their housing needs; at this funding level, the state would be able to provide 800 AHVP subsidies instead of the current 549 subsidiesfact sheet

Click here to see the Coalition's analysis of Governor Charlie Baker's FY'18 budget proposals, released on January 25, 2017.
 

* Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2017 Legislative Action Day event on Monday, February 27th. Click here for more details. *

Please also see http://www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/past-policy-campaigns