Below are 2 messages from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, the first on the Governor’s budget and the second on two bills to be filed regarding homeless youth and homelessness prevention.
The Budget Message
Governor Deval Patrick unveiled his fiscal year 2014 budget recommendations for the Commonwealth. This $34.8 billion budget is known as the “House 1” budget (as we are in the first year of the new two-year legislative cycle), and marks the first step on the path to developing the state budget for the fiscal year that will begin on July 1st.
As House 1 is only the first of many proposals on the way to the final FY’14 budget, your voice will be critical to helping to protect housing, homelessness, and safety net programs for both families and individuals.
To advocate with us to protect and promote investment in these programs, follow this link to learn more about our upcoming Legislative Action Day/Youth on the Hill Day at the State House on Wednesday, February 27th.
|The Governor’s FY’14 Budget Recommendations for Housing, Shelter, Homelessness Prevention, and Cash Assistance Programs
To access the Governor’s complete budget recommendations, please go to Governor’s FY’14 Budget Recommendations.
A Quick Look at Selected Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Line Items
1. The Governor’s budget would increase funding for the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program (line item 7004-0101) from the current FY’13 appropriation level of $80.0 million to $91.7 million for FY’14, leaving eligibility the same as the current standards, while decreasing funding for EA motel placements (line item 7004-0103) from $16.6 million to $10 million.
FY’13 funding level: Currently $96.6 million for the 2 accounts (not including the pending $39 million supplemental budget request re-filed by the Governor this month). Click here to learn more about the Coalition’s FY’13 EA supplemental budget request.
FY’14 House 1 funding proposal: $119 million for EA shelters + $10 million for EA motels = $129 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: Adequate funding so as to restore access to families at imminent risk of having to stay in places not meant for human habitation and to avoid the need for further eligibility restrictions
2. The Governor’s budget would decrease funding for the HomeBASE program (line item 7004-0108) to $58.8 million, reflecting the upcoming “timing out” of many families in the rental assistance portion of the program. This program provides short-term transitional subsidies, diversion, and moving assistance for certain EA-eligible families.
FY’13 funding level: Currently $83.4 million (not including the pending $5.3 million supplemental budget request re-filed by the Governor this month)
FY’14 House 1 funding proposal: $58.8 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: Adequate funding to continue serving current participants and to be able to offer household assistance and moving assistance to new families in FY’14 and to be able to extend benefits to families timing out of HomeBASE rental assistance who lack feasible alternative affordable housing
3. The Governor’s budget would slightly decrease funding for the line item that provides funding for shelter and services for unaccompanied individuals at-risk and experiencing homelessness (line item 7004-0102) to $40.3 million.
FY’13 funding level: $40.5 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: $40.5 million
4. The Governor’s budget would fund the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024) at $46.5 million, a $4.5 million increase from the FY’13 allocation.
FY’13 funding level: $42 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: At least $46.5 million (Stay tuned for more details on the joint MCH/Housing Solutions Campaign funding request.)
5. The Governor’s budget would provide level funding for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) at $8.8 million.
FY’13 funding level: $8.8 million
FY’14 House 1 funding proposal: $8.8 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: $8.8 million
6. The Governor’s budget would provide $64.4 million in funding for public housing authority operating subsidies (line item 7004-9005), a slight decrease from the FY’13 level. In addition, the Governor has proposed
far-reaching reforms for how public housing is administered.
FY’13 funding level: $64.5 million
FY’14 House 1 funding proposal: $64.4 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: $71.0 million
7. The Governor’s budget would provide level funding for the Home and Healthy for Good Program (line item 7004-0104) at $1.4 million. This program employs a Housing First model to provide housing and services to unaccompanied adults who have experienced chronic homelessness.
FY’13 funding level: $1.4 million
FY’14 House 1 funding proposal: $1.4 million
FY’14 MCH funding request: $2.2 million
8. The Governor’s budget would create a new Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund (Outside Section 14), to be used to flexibly address unmet housing needs mainly via recaptured savings from other housing line items. The Coalition fully supports further investments in housing and prevention, but would like to learn more about this proposal. Two initial concerns are how to ensure that any “savings” are not accrued by unintentionally harming other low-income families and individuals, and how to make sure that the Legislature remains closely engaged in the dialogue about how state housing funds are allocated.
Advocacy Message on 2 bills:
As you may know, the new legislative session began earlier this month. Legislators have filed bills for the 2013-2014 session, and have the opportunity to seek co-sponsors for their bills until this Friday, February 1st at 5 p.m.
The Coalition is working closely with key legislators on two important bills:
- An Act to provide housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth (House Docket #364)
Please follow the links and see below for more details, and then reach out to your State Representative and State Senator to ask them to co-sponsor these bills.
To advocate with us on these bills and other issues, follow this link to learn more about our upcoming Legislative Action Day/Youth on the Hill Day at the State House on Wednesday, February 27th.
Thank you for your support and advocacy!
|Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill
The Coalition and our allies have been working closely with Representative Jim O’Day and Senator Katherine Clark to file An Act to provide housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youth (House Docket #364). Please follow this link for a bill summary.
This bill is similar to the youth bill we worked on last session, with some main differences:
As of last night, we were at 25 co-sponsors. Help us reach our goal of 50 co-sponsors by calling your State Representative and State Senator today.
If your legislator is on this list, please thank her/him for already signing on:
“No Place Like Home” Homelessness Prevention Bill
The Coalition is pleased to once again be working with Representative Denise Provost to re-file the “No Place Like Home” bill: An act to prevent homelessness among recipients of transitional assistance. Please follow this link for a fact sheet.
As of Friday, the bill also was co-sponsored by Representative Jim O’Day, so we need your outreach and advocacy to build up more support.
Please contact your State Representative and State Senator to ask for their support for these two bills. Ask them to co-sponsor the House Docket #364 and #639 by this Friday’s deadline.
State Representatives and Senators can be reached through the State House switchboard: 617-722-2000, or directly through the numbers listed here: Directory of Representatives and Directory of Senators.
To search for your elected officials based on your address, please click here.