Governor Baker signed into law the FY20 budget of $43.32 billion yesterday without any spending vetoes. This is great news for the Commonwealth in general and for housing and homelessness priorities in particular. A reminder on a few of the highlights (see full breakdown here):
- Mass Rental Voucher Program: an increase to $110 million (plus $6 million carryover from FY19), and adoption of language that allows monthly rent levels to match current fair market rents for subsidies issued after August 1, 2019
- Individual shelter funding: $53.35 million, a $5 million increase from last year (with the gap in equitable funding for Western MA still remaining)
- RAFT: an increase to $21 million, which will include a pilot program to help households further upstream, prior to facing eviction
- Youth and Young Adult Homelessness: an increase to $5 million ($1.7 million above FY19) to support housing and wrap-around services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness
- Secure Jobs Initiative: an increase to $2 million for this workforce development program for families and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness
Regionally, Berkshire County secured $125,000 for its winter overflow shelter capacity. And the Network itself secured $75,000 to continue its work coordinating efforts across the region. Special thanks to Senator Jo Comerford for shepherding the Network’s funding allocation and for all of our Western MA delegation for their steadfast support of the Network and all of the priorities reflected in this budget. We are so fortunate to have their leadership and commitment.
We look forward to seizing the opportunities this budget offers and moving ever closer to the system change that is necessary to create lasting housing stability for all.