Please contact your own legislator and our key Western Mass. legislators in leadership or on the Conference Committee to advocate for the priorities listed below:

Senator Rosenberg:  
Email: [email protected]

Senator Brewer
Email:  [email protected]

Senator Knapik:    
Email: [email protected]

Senator Kulik
[email protected]

And find your own legislator at:

Update from Mass. Coalition for the Homeless:

Though the Senate and House have both gone through their initial budget recommendation and debate processes for fiscal year 2014, we’re not done yet! After the Senate’s adoption of its version of the FY’14 budget on May 23rd, we have now moved to the next phase of the budget process: Conference Committee.


Once the House and the Senate vote on their respective budgets, each branch appoints three members to a joint committee (the “Conference Committee”) to work out and resolve all differences between the two budgets. The compromise budget that comes out of Conference Committee is then brought to the House and Senate members for a final vote before being sent to the Governor.


This year’s House Conference Committee members are Representatives Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill, Chair of House Ways and Means), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington, Vice Chair of House Ways and Means), and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth, Ranking Minority Member of House Ways and Means). The Senate Conference Committee members are Senators Stephen Brewer (D-Barre, Chair of Senate Ways and Means), Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Mean), and Michael Knapik (R-Westfield, Ranking Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means).


In order to ensure that the Conference Committee’s budget has the best language and highest levels of funding possible for housing and homelessness issues, we need you to help urge the committee members to create a compromise budget that prioritizes these programs. Please contact your own Legislators and ask them to convey their support to the Conference Committee and to Leadership for the language and funding levels detailed in the sections below.



House and Senate FY’14 Budget Recommendations for Housing, Shelter, Homelessness Prevention, and Cash Assistance Programs


Key FY’14 Budget Conference Committee Issues

1. Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) 

 Conference Committee Request:

 Adopt the Senate’s line item language, with minor improvements, to create a temporary accommodations program for extremely vulnerable families within RAFT, and adopt the Senate’s recommended appropriation of $11.1 million for RAFT. 

  The Senate budget would require DHCD to refer extremely low-income families at imminent risk of staying in places not meant for human habitation to the RAFT providers (while ensuring that families eligible for the Emergency Assistance program still are served by EA). The Senate included an earmark of $500,000 within the RAFT line item to provide those temporary accommodations.

The Senate budget also would require DHCD to notify the Legislature 60 days before the allotted funds are anticipated to run out, so that the Legislature can take action. The Senate’s proposed appropriation of $11.1 million would provide much needed increased funding for this program.

We are asking the Conference Committee to adopt the Senate proposal after strengthening it to require that families at imminent risk of having to stay in a place not meant for human habitation who are referred to the RAFT program actually be placed in temporary accommodations, if needed.

 Additional Action Opportunity!

The Coalition to Protect Homeless Families (which is led by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and Massachusetts Law Reform Institute) is circulating an organizational sign-on letter to the budget conferees on the RAFT proposal and in support of the Senate’s recommended appropriation for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. A draft of the letter is available here. Please contact Kelly Turley at the Coalition by Wednesday, June 12th at 11 a.m. if your organization would like to sign-on by sending the name of the organization, the signer’s name, and the signer’s title.

2.  Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Resources (via line item 4000-0300)

 Conference Committee Request:

 Adopt the House’s earmark to support unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness.

The House budget included language and funding to add $150,000 to the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) administrative line item, 4000-0300. The funds would be used to 1.) pilot a survey of unaccompanied youth in 3-5 areas within Massachusetts and conduct youth outreach; 2.) fund a part-time staff person or consultant to oversee implementation, to analyze data, and to report to the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, and, if funding permits, 3.) fund 3-6 demonstration projects to identify service and housing models appropriate to support unaccompanied youth in their education and successful transition from childhood to adulthood.

Additional Action Opportunity! Please ask your State Representative and State Senator to participate in a legislative sign-on letter in support of this unaccompanied youth homelessness budget request. It is being circulated by Representative Jim O’Day and Senator Katherine Clark. Legislators can sign on between now and Wednesday, June 12th at 2:00 p.m. by contacting Robert Oftring, Staff Director for Rep. O’Day at [email protected]. The text of the letter can be found here: legislative sign-on letter.

Please follow these links for the unaccompanied youth homelessness fact sheet (from the Senate campaign) and the inaugural report of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.

3. HomeBASE Program (line item 7004-0108) 

Conference Committee Request:

Adopt the Senate’s line item language for HomeBASE. With an estimated 5,600 families set to time out of the HomeBASE rental assistance program during FY’14, the Senate budget included additional protections for families who otherwise would be facing a return to homelessness.

The final Senate budget included language to allow certain families to re-enter EA shelter, if needed, or to access a combination of HomeBASE household assistance and RAFT benefits. In addition, the final Senate budget included language to restore the homelessness preference for state-funded public housing resources for families participating in the HomeBASE rental assistance program. (Under DHCD’s current regulations, families are not eligible for this preference because their subsidies were designed to last more than 12 months.) By restoring this preference, some families may be able to transition into permanent affordable housing when their HomeBASE subsidies expire.

Click here for the HomeBASE fact sheet.


4.  Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP,

line item 7004-9024)

Conference Committee Request:

Adopt the Senate’s recommended funding level of $57.5 million for MRVP, a dramatic $15.5 million increase over the FY’13 allocation. The Senate funding level would allow the program to serve 1,000 more households with permanent housing subsidies.







Other Important Conference Committee Requests  

  • Emergency Assistance Family Shelter and Services Program and Motel Program (line items 7004-0101 and 7004-0103): Adopt the House’s higher combined recommended appropriation of $106.5 million for EA shelters and motels.
  • Shelter and Services for Unaccompanied Adults At-Risk and Experiencing Homelessness (line item 7004-0102): Adopt the House’s recommended appropriation of $40.5 million, which would be level funding with the FY’13 appropriation.
  • State-Funded Public Housing Authority Operating Subsidies (line item 7004-9005): Adopt the House’s recommended appropriation of $64.4 million.
  • McKinney-Vento Funding for the Transportation of Students Experiencing Homelessness (line item 7035-0005): Adopt the Senate’s higher recommended appropriation of $7.35 million.
  • Home and Healthy for Good Program (line item 7004-0104): Adopt the House’s recommended funding level of $1.8 million and language that would create a pilot program to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) unaccompanied young adults.
  • Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children Program (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000): Adopt the Senate’s recommended funding level of $93.1 million.
  • Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children Program (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000): Adopt the House’s recommended funding level of $306.2 million. Adopt the House language to provide a $40/month rental subsidy for program participants living in market-rate housing.
  • Related Welfare Issues: Adopt the Senate’s $40/month transportation reimbursement within the Employment Services Program (line item 4401-1000). Reject the House’s proposal to require photos on the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards of participants in cash assistance and nutritional assistance programs.


Action Steps

1.) Please contact your State Representative and State Senator to ask them to convey their support to the Conference Committee members of the above language and funding levels for housing, homelessness, and safety net programs.


2.) Please also ask your State Representative and State Senator

to sign onto the unaccompanied youth homelessness sign-on letter being circulated by Representative O’Day and Senator Clark. Legislators can sign on by contacting Robert in Rep. O’Day’s office: [email protected].


3.) Ask your organization to participate in the RAFT/family homelessness organizational sign-on letter. Please contact Kelly Turley by Wednesday, June 12th at 11 a.m. if your organization would like to sign-on by sending the name of the organization, the signer’s name, and the signer’s title.


Thank you for your continued advocacy. We are in the home stretch now!

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