The Governor released his proposed Fiscal Year 2022 Budget last Wednesday, January 27. It contained many cuts to housing and homelessness programs, which is cause for great concern for the Network. This is just the start of the FY22 budget process, as the House of Representatives will release its budget in April, and the Senate in May. Our work to sustain and grow critical protections has just begun. Please stay tuned for next steps.
Meanwhile, many thanks to the MA Coalition for the Homeless for this detailed report on the Governor’s proposed budget below:
“Even though the Legislature just finished taking up veto overrides to the fiscal year 2021 state budget earlier this month, the FY22 budget process is now well underway. Last Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker released $45.6 billion in budget recommendations for the new fiscal year that will begin on July 1st in a budget known as “House 1”. See what he recommended for homelessness, housing, and benefits programs in our FY22 budget chart. The chart compares his FY22 House 1 recommendations with our preliminary FY22 requests and the final FY21 budget outcomes. The Governor’s full proposal and related documents can be found on the Mass.gov website.
While the Governor recommended level funding many line items, we are particularly concerned that, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and anticipated slow recovery for the lowest income families, youth, and individuals, the Governor recommended:
- Cutting $3 million for housing and wraparound services for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, undoing the increase just implemented for FY21
- Rolling back newly instituted increases in monthly benefits under the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) and Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program (TAFDC). Starting earlier this month, program participants began receiving 10% increases to monthly benefits, based on FY21 budget language passed by the Legislature. If Baker’s proposal is adopted, those much-needed increases will end on June 30th. The increases were the first for EAEDC participants since 1988 and for TAFDC participants since 2000.
- Reducing funding for key programs, including:
- Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness prevention program
- Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) for people with disabilities
- Home and Healthy for Good housing first program for unaccompanied adults
- Shelters for unaccompanied adults
- Maintaining the one-year cap on HomeBASE benefits, which would mean that many families participating in this short-term transitional housing program would face evictions and a return to homelessness without alternative interventions and resources
Some additional line items appear to be underfunded, such as the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), but Administration officials have indicated that they would combine direct appropriations and unspent funding carried over from FY21 to match FY21 funding in FY22. We are working to get greater clarity on these proposals.
Action: Let the Governor know your concerns and feedback on his budget recommendations by phone at 1-888-870-7770 or by email.
Please keep reading below for more details about our upcoming virtual Legislative Action Day and our pre-event training. Please register today to join us online for Legislative Action Day on February 24th, and click here to RSVP for the February 17th training.“