Please read this notice below from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless and please act!
Thursday, the State Senate took up the pending FY’15 supplemental budget, which includes desperately needed funds for family homelessness programs (via Senate Bill 21).
As we reported in our last budget alert, the House had taken up Governor’s $350 million FY’15 supplemental request last week. Among many items needing mid-year increases are the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program (EA line item 7004-0101) and the HomeBASE homelessness diversion and re-housing program for families (line item 7004-0108). The Governor (via House Bill 60) and the House (via House Bill 65) each included $44.2 million in much-needed funding for EA in their versions of the budget, but if the final supplemental budget includes that amount, the account still will be underfunded by $8 million. Similarly, the HomeBASE program will need an additional $4.0 million to $4.2 million to be able to continue to provide diversion and re-housing resources to eligible families through the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2015). The Governor proposed adding $300,000 in the supplemental budget for HomeBASE, and the House did not include any funds.
We are grateful that so many of you reached out to your State Senators to advocate for increased funding. In their version of the supplemental budget, the Senate included $51.5 million for Emergency Assistance and $3 million for HomeBASE, much closer to the amounts needed by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), which oversees these programs.
Now the House and Senate have to work out the differences between the two versions of the supplemental budget. Due to the emergency nature of the supplemental budget, this may happen very quickly. Please reach out to your State Representative as soon as possible to ask her/him to support the Senate’s proposed supplemental appropriations of $51.5 million for Emergency Assistance and $3 million for HomeBASE. See below for a sample script.
In the first half of this fiscal year, the 3,319 families with children entered the Emergency Assistance and HomeBASE programs. Please help us ensure that the doors to EA and HomeBASE remain open for families and children confronting homelessness!
Thank you for your advocacy and partnership!