The House Ways and Means Committee released its FY18 budget last week and will be debating it next week.  The Network Leadership Council met last week to adjust the Network budget priorities in relation to the House budget proposal, which are copied below.  Please contact your state representative (click here to find your legislator) to ask them to co-sponsor the budget amendments pertaining to these priorities and/or to thank them for their support.
Specifically, Representative Peter Kocot (Northampton) has submitted an amendment for the fourth consecutive year to support the Network itself. Also co-sponsoring this amendment are: Representatives Goldstein-Rose (Amherst), Mark (Peru), Puppolo (Springfield), Tosado (Springfield), Vega (Holyoke) and Williams (Springfield).  Representative Joe Wagner (Chicopee) is sponsoring the Secure Jobs Amendment to provide sufficient funding to maintain the Secure Jobs program statewide.  Many of our legislators are attaching their names to various Network priorities, so please don’t hesitate to ask your legislator to confirm their co-sponsorship of these amendments.
We can be pleased and proud of our Western MA delegation on homelessness issues and this is an important opportunity to both ask and thank.
Below are the Network’s funding priorities in order of their priority:
  • Youth program funding: please co-sponsor Rep. Jim O’Day’s amendment to fund youth programs $4 million ($0 in HWM budget)
  • Local Consortium funding (homelessness prevention funds): please co-sponsor Rep. Kay Kahn’s amendment to fund the Local Consortiums $1 million ($0 in HWM budget)
  • Western MA Network to End Homelessness earmark: please co-sponsor Rep. Peter Kocot’s amendment (#849) for $125,000 ($0 in HWM budget)
  • Secure Jobs Initiative: please co-sponsor Rep. Joe Wagner’s amendment for $2 million ($500,000 in HWM budget)
  • Tenancy Preservation Program: please co-sponsor Rep. Byron Rushing’s amendment (#531) to fund TPP $1 million ($500,000 in HWM budget)
  • RAFT language to include individuals: please co-sponsor Rep. Marjorie Decker’s amendment (#90), particularly regarding the insertion of language that provides eligibility for individuals.
Of course the Network’s other priorities – from MRVP to HCECs to individual shelter funding to the sub-regional earmarks for Craig’s Doors and Berkshire overflow winter shelter, are extremely important to the Network’s goals and we are encouraging our legislators to support them as well.  The Network Leadership Council analyzed the additional statewide or local support available for these other initiatives in determining their top Network priorities.
For additional House budget analyses, please go here:
CHAPA budget overview; and breakdown of CHAPA Amendments
Any of the above links offer great ways to stay immediately up to date on budget developments, and I will also keep you posted as the budget process unfolds
Pamela Schwartz, Director
Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness

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