First, thanks to all who engaged with your state senators through this process. Your contact makes a difference!
Secondly, the final FY24 Senate budget around housing and homelessness issues essentially reflects what was initially proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. There are many increased investments in key programs – e.g., RAFT and MRVP – and you can read more about that in our prior blog post here.
Thank you to our western MA senators for their support: Senator Jo Comerford, Senator Anne Gobi, Senator Adam Gomez, Senator Paul Mark, Senator Jake Oliveira and Senator John Velis. We are grateful for their commitment and look forward to continuing to the next steps together. Please join in the thanks by reaching out to your senator directly. You can find their contact info here.
One additional thanks to Senator Paul Mark for his sponsorship of the Network’s earmark for $75,000 that will allow us to continue our work (and to Representative Lindsay Sabadosa for an additional $25,000 of Network funding in the House budget). We are deeply appreciative!
The one housing budget amendment that was adopted relates to eviction record sealing and Chapter 257 eviction protections and is a complicated one: on the positive side, the amendment creates an opportunity for tenants to petition the court to have their eviction records sealed under certain circumstances. On the negative, it also would require tenants to file rental assistance applications in good faith in order to be eligible for Chapter 257 protections, among other changes. This good faith language in the redrafted amendment would make access to the protections more subjective and difficult.
The FY24 budget process now enters the Conference Committee phase, where the House and Senate work out the differences between both budgets and and agree on a final version to be voted upon by both chambers and then sent to the Governor’s desk. Please stay tuned on next advocacy steps to inform the Conference Committee.