On August 1, the State Legislature adopted its $56.2 billion Fiscal Year 2024 budget. It includes a lot of good news. We want to take this moment to thank our western Massachusetts delegation for their tremendous commitment to the work of preventing and ending homelessness in the region.
Below are a few of the FY24 Conference budget highlights (with more detailed information to come in the days ahead):
- Chapter 257 eviction protections (that had expired on March 31, 2023) were made permanent, allowing for the pausing of an eviction case while a rental assistance application is pending
- Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) funding increased to $179 million with more flexibility to use payment standards of either 110% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) OR 110% of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (SFMR) (this will give households a better shot at meeting area rents and actually utilizing their vouchers).
- HomeBASE (rehousing program for families) increased the cap to $30,000 (from $20,000) over 24 months with the option to renew in 12 month increments beyond the 24 month period
- Youth homelessness funding increased to $11 million (from FY23 funding of $9.5 million)
- Home and Healthy for Good for Permanent Supportive Housing increased to $8.9 million (from FY23 funding of $8.39 million)
- Public Housing Operating Subsidies increased to $107 million (from FY23 funding of $92 million)
- The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness funding increased to $150,000 (special thanks to Representative Lindsay Sabadosa and Senator Paul Mark for their leadership on this funding and to our delegation for their support!)
Unfortunately, while the RAFT program was funded at $190 million, language was included to limit the maximum annual benefit to $7,000 (previously at $10,000) and to require at least a Notice to Quit to become eligible.
In service of our mission, it’s important to note this budget’s 10% grant increase for TAFDC and EAEDC cash assistance starting April 2024. And above all to note the dramatic investments made in the areas of public transportation, early childhood education, public higher education and universal access to school meals. These investments were made possible by the passage of the Fair Share Amendment that amended the state constitution to include a 4 percent surtax on taxable income over $1 million to support education and transportation.
Now the budget goes to Governor Healey’s desk for signature or vetoes within a 10 day period. Please stay tuned for additional information in the coming days.