On Thursday, May 2, the Leadership Council of the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness voted by overwhelming majority to support the following positions in the Senate budget debate:
- Change the RAFT budget language to permit use of funds to pay for emergency accommodations for families at imminent risk of homelessness for a maximum of 7 nights. Funds could be used for this purpose without a prior determination that the family will be eligible for either Emergency Assistance or RAFT.
- Funds used to pay for emergency accommodations will not reduce a family’s maximum RAFT allocation (currently at $4,000).
- Increase the RAFT appropriation by $500,000 to account for the projected cost of emergency accommodations.
3. Fully fund the Tenancy Preservation Program to ensure adequate homelessness prevention services to disabled tenants.
The Leadership Council will continue to discuss and advocate on additional issues impacting homelessness (e.g., MRVP and HomeBASE programs), but was able to gain organizational clarity on these positions right now.
We are encouraging all Network partners to advocate for the positions outlined above. Please contact Senate leaders and members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee:
Senate President Therese Murray, 617-722-1500, Therese.Murray@masenate.go
Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg, 617-722-1532, Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
Chair, Senate Ways and Means: Senator Stephen Brewer: 617-722-1540, Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov
Senator Gail Candaras: 617-722-1291 Gale.Candaras@masenate.gov
Senator Ben Downing: 617-722-1625 Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov
Senator Michael Knapik, 617-722-1415, Michael.Knapik@masenate.gov