The Fiscal Year 2023 State Budget was signed into law in late July and the 2021-2022 Formal Legislative Session concluded on July 31, 2022. Below are highlights relative to our Network housing and homelessness priorities.
FY23 State Budget
We have good news in multiple areas, especially regarding individual homelessness, including:
- $110 million for the Homelessness Individuals Assistance (shelters), higher than both the proposed House and Senate funding
- $7.1 million for Sponsor-based Permanent Supportive Housing
- $6.39 million for Home & Healthy for Good (funds Permanent Supportive Housing)
- $10 million for a new Shelter Workforce Development Initiative
- $5 million for the Rapid Transition of Homelessness Individuals into Sustainable Permanent Housing
- $2 million for housing assistance for a re-entry transition pilot program
On the family side, good news includes:
- changes to the HomeBASE program, providing up to $20,000 in subsidies over 2 years and allowing families to maintain funding for 12 months after exceeding income limit (set at 50% of median area income)
- 10% increase in TAFDC cash assistance grants
- RAFT was funded at $150 million (plus $50,000 in in carryover funds), with a cap of $10,000 in assistance (up from $7,000) and a requirement of a Notice to Quit or court summons. This is significantly more restrictive in both funding and eligibility criteria than the federal Emergency Rental Assistance program, placing families at greater risk of eviction.
- The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) was funded at $154 million and will set the tenant rent share at 30% of a household’s monthly adjusted income.
To see additional detail, please go to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’ budget chart HERE.
We thank our Western MA legislative delegation for their steadfast support of Network priorities to prevent and end homelessness in Western Massachusetts!
2021-2022 Legislative Session
While progress was made in advancing our legislative priorities, none of our priorities made it to the finish line for the end of the Formal Session (the “Informal Session” ends on 12/31/22 but requires unanimous consent for any legislation to pass). This is disappointing!
- The HOMES Act for eviction recording sealing got so close to passage as it was included in the Economic Development Bill, but the bill failed to pass at the 11th hour (for complicated political reasons that are beyond the summary nature of this report).
- Additional casualties of this bill’s failure to pass included the Flexible Housing Pool (to support permanent supportive housing) and the Cliff Effect bill.
- The Right to Counsel in Evictions, the Transfer Fee for Affordable Housing, and the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act also did not pass despite broad-based, statewide efforts by constituents, advocates and many legislators. We will utilize the base-building of this session to continue the work in the next Legislative Session (begins in January, 2023, but the groundwork begins in the fall, so please stay tuned).
Again, thanks to our many Western Massachusetts legislators who either led the charge or co-sponsored many of our priority bills. We are grateful to all of you for your support and leadership and look forward to continuing the work for housing justice this year and celebrating victories in this next session.