Today at 5 pm is the deadline to file amendments to the House Ways and Means Budget. I have summarized below (or find here to print Network Co-Sponsorship Requests) the amendments pertaining to Network priorities and the relevant representatives on each. Our job is to either thank those who have filed the amendments or to ask for our representatives to join as co-sponsors.
Top on our list to thank from our region:
Representative Peter Kocot (Northampton) – Peter.Kocot@mahouse.gov – for sponsoring the amendment to continue Network funding at $125,000 (this funding is critical to allow us to continue our work as a Network) and for his support of Secure Jobs and all Network priorities!
Representative Joseph Wagner (Chicopee) –Joseph.Wagner@mahouse.gov – for sponsoring the amendment to level fund the Secure Jobs program at $2 million.
Representative Aaron Vega (Holyoke) – Aaron.Vega@mahouse.gov – for his ardent support of Secure Jobs (and I trust the other amendments as well, I just have not heard back from him yet).
Representative John Scibak (South Hadley) John.Scibak@mahouse.gov, Representative Farley-Bouvier (Pittsfield), Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov, Representative John Velis (Westfield), John.Velis@mahouse.gov – for immediately signing on as co-sponsor to all of our amendments. I’m sure there will be more but that is who we know for now!
Then I would ask that you contact your own representative to ask him/her to add their names in co-sponsorship to each of the amendments below. Please contact ASAP as some offices have deadlines sooner than 5 pm.
Finally, the great news on one of our priorities – funding the Housing Consumer Education Centers at FY14 levels – made it into the House Ways and Means budget. So the thing to do there is thank Rep. Kulik –Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov – for his leadership on this!
Thanks for your support and your advocacy. I will keep you posted!
Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness – Line item 7004-0102 (Representative Kocot): This amendment of $125,000 to the Network is vital to the continuation of the Network’s efforts to facilitate regional coordination and implement the Western Massachusetts Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness.
Secure Jobs Initiative – Line Item 7004-9322: (Representative Wagner) – This initiative has proven tremendously successful in the Western region and the state in providing homeless families with job opportunity and stable housing. In order to level fund this initiative and its 7 programs statewide, this amendment will fund these partnerships at $2,000,000.
Individual Homeless Emergency Shelters: Line Item 7004-0102 (Representative Mahoney): This amendment would increase funding from $43,200,335 to $48,5000 to address the funding gap for Western Massachusetts shelters while serving to better meet the need of all individual emergency shelters statewide. We are continuing to advocate for an amendment to increase the nightly bed rate to the average of $32/night from the current $25/night and will keep you posted if an amendment to that effect is filed.
Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (Representative O’Day):(1) Amendment to EOHHS administrative line item, 4000-0300: This amendment would provide $1.5 million for support services to unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, and (2) Amendment to DHCD administrative line item, 7004-0099: This amendment would provide $2.5 for housing to unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. Together, these amendments will enable the Commonwealth to fulfill its commitment to better meet the housing and service needs for the increasing numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth across our region and state.
Tenancy Preservation Project: Line Item 7004-3045(Representative Brady): This amendment will increase funding to the Tenancy Preservation Project from $500,000 to $1 million statewide to provide eviction prevention services to disabled individuals and families