This week is the time to push for improvements to the State Senate’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget. The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its proposed budget last week with many important advances in it (read about it here) – and we can do even better. The full Senate will debate and vote on the budget next week, so THIS WEEK is the time.
Contact your State Senator to urge them to co-sponsor key amendments to further address the housing and homelessness crisis. This list below captures what our region and state need (and is compiled in concert with our statewide partners). Please copy and paste and send it to your Senator (find the contact info here) and simply say:
Please co-sponsor the following amendments:
- #215 – Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) (Sen. Gomez): Retain the current $10,000/year cap on benefits, instead of reducing the cap to $7,000/year. Increase RAFT funding by $55 million to provide $250 million.
- #422 – RAFT improvements (Sen. Rausch): Prohibits DHCD from imposing a notice to quit requirement on households; requires direct-to-tenant payments in cases where the landlord is not cooperative; directs DHCD to provide forward rent payments for households without rent arrearages; Directs DHCD to provide multiple months of assistance as long as the award cap does not exceed the 12-month benefit cap
- #217 – Emergency Assistance (EA) Improvements (Senator Gomez): Increase the income eligibility limit from 115% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPB) to 200% fo families applying for EA ; restore the FY2 language to establish an ombudsperson; eliminate the EA asset limit; pursue every effort to place families in their own room
- #397: Rental Bridge Subsidies for Older Adults (Sen. Jehlen): Add $10 million to a new line-item, 9110-XXX, to establish a short-term housing bridge subsidy program for up to 1,000 low-income older adults facing housing instability
- #323 – Improvement to HomeBASE (Sen. Jehlen): Increase HomeBASE benefit up to $30,000 for every 24 month period; remove income increases as terms for ineligibility
- #176 – Tenancy Protections (Sen. Edwards): Build on Chapter 257 protections to add language to direct the court to dismiss a landlord’s claim if the tenant has been approved for emergency rental assistance and paid off their arrearage in full; it will also allow those tenants to petition the court to seal their eviction records, after any appeal periods have expired
- #195 – Local Public Housing Authorities (Sen. Miranda): Increase funding for public housing operating subsidies by $18 million to $125 million to provide more for the operating and maintenance of the 43,000 homes provided by public housing
- #555 – Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (Sen. Kennedy): Increase funding for youth homelessness by $1 million to $12 million
- #851 – Identification for youth and adults experiencing homelessness (Sen. Kennedy): Establish a fee waiver and documentation standards for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to access free standard Mass IDs from the Registry of Motor Vehicles
Thank you for your action!