From Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless:
Last Thursday, the Massachusetts House of Representativescompleted their debate on the FY’19 state budget. While theinitial budget coming out of the House Committee on Ways and Means was strong in many ways (the proposed elimination of the homelessness penalty in the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program, and proposed funding increases for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition homelessness prevention program and the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program), the Coalition and our allies were working for even stronger recommendations related to homelessness prevention, housing, and benefits programs. Thank you for all of your calls to Representatives asking them to cosponsor key amendments and to actively support those amendments in the caucuses, on the House floor, and in conversations with House leadership.
While very few amendments made it into the final House budget (on any subject matter), a major step forward was the inclusion of language from Representative Marjorie Decker’s amendment to eliminate the family cap rule in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC;see the related bill fact sheet here) so that more children can receive TAFDC benefits. House leadership modified the proposed implementation date to beJuly 1, 2019, the start of fiscal year ’20, instead of July 1, 2018, the start of FY’19. Congratulations to our partners from Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and Greater Boston Legal Services who have been leading a large coalition to advocate on this critical campaign. We will keep supporting their efforts so that the final budget includes lifting the “cap on kids”.
Read more below about amendment outcomes and check out our database of amendment cosponsors and outcomes here. (The database has two tabs, key amendments and other important amendments.)
Please thank your Representative if she/he signed onto these amendments. You can reach them via the State House switchboard, 617-722-2000, or by looking them up on www.wheredoivotema.com. *House members still will have a say in the development of the final FY’19 budget, so their ongoing support is crucial.*
Next Thursday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to release their budget recommendations. We will need your help in securing Senate amendment cosponsors and in getting Senators to actively support key amendments. In the meantime, let your Senator know that you want to see the strongest Senate budget possible on homelessness, housing, and benefits issues. A call script is below.
Thanks for all of your efforts to strengthen access to homelessness prevention resources, housing, and benefits. Please let us know if you receive any feedback from your legislators in response to your outreach.