The State Senate adopted its Fiscal Year 2023 budget last week. It includes many significant investments in housing and homelessness. Thanks to all who made calls and sent emails – it all makes a difference!
At the same time, unfortunately, most of the Network’s key amendment priorities were not adopted, including our two highest priorities: (1) additional Safe Havens beds to provide intensively supported shelter for chronically homeless individuals; and (2) expanding access to RAFT to address the substantial loss in eviction prevention resources with the end of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). See the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’ advocacy letter that you can still sign and share!
On the plus side, the Senate budget:
- adopted a $1 million increase in youth homelessness funding;
- improved HomeBASE so that participating families will have the opportunity to increase their income without fear of being terminated from HomeBASE;
- improved the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) so that tenant’s utility payments are included in the calculation of their rent share and rent and utilities would be capped at 30% of income instead of the current general standard of 40% of income for rent
For a breakdown of how other individual homelessness priorities fare, please see the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance’s summary HERE.
For a comprehensive summary of many Network priority outcomes, please see the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’ recap HERE.
Next: The House and Senate budgets move to the Conference Committee which will reconcile the differences between them. Advocacy opportunities will continue through this process so please stay tuned!