The Senate Ways and Means Committee released its FY13 budget on Wednesday, May 17. The Governor’s proposal to fund the regional networks at $1 million is not in their budget (nor is it in the House). The only remaining hope is a senator’s sponsorship of an amendment, which at this point to the best of my knowledge (and advocacy) is not happening (and deadline for amendments is today). When you call your Senator to weigh in about the budget as a whole, please include the call for an amendment to include Governor’s House 2 Budget Line item 7004-0109 for $1 million in network funding.
I am also copying below a “Dear Senator” letter from Sean Caron of CHAPA that provides an excellent model for your advocacy over the next week. He welcomes your adaptation for our collective advocacy purposes.
Please call your Senator ASAP. Phone numbers are below the letter.
We appreciate the thoughtful approach included in the Senate Ways and Means budget and thank the Committee members and staff for their support.
Despite some notable investments, the Ways and Means proposal funds a handful of affordable housing and community development programs at levels that are lower than House Two and the House budgets. Please cosponsor the following amendments that increase funding for programs that support affordable housing and strong communities for working families and seniors.
- Senator Pat Jehlen will be filing an amendment to increase Mass. Rental Voucher Program funding (7004-9024) to the amount included in the House budget and Governor’s budget proposal. This amendment will allow an additional 400-450 working families, fixed-income seniors and persons with disabilities to afford the high cost of housing. Please contact Heather Mills to sign on and support $46 million for MRVP.
- Senator Jamie Eldridge will be filing an amendment to restore funding for Public Housing Operating Subsidies (7004-9005) to the Governor’s budget proposal of $66.5 million. Public housing remains a critical resource for 47,000 Massachusetts households, 2/3 of which are comprised of seniors or persons with disabilities. Please contact Melissa Garlick to sign on.
- Senator Cynthia Stone Creem will be filing an amendment to stabilize the Community Preservation Act and bolster the state CPA match. Please contact Catherine Anderson to sign on.
- Senator Michael Moore will be filing an amendment to provide $9 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned properties and eliminate neighborhood blight. The distressed properties that have propped up throughout the foreclosure crisis are dragging down property values and reeking havoc on community stability. Please contact Julie DelSobral to sign on.
- Senator Eldridge will also be filing an amendment to fund Home and Healthy for Good (7004-0104) at $2.2 million, consistent with the Governor’s budget proposal. This program enables chronically homeless individuals to secure stable, affordable housing.
- Senator Sal DiDomenico and Senator Dan Wolf will be filing technical language amendments to HomeBase (7004-0108) and RAFT (7004-9316) to address small but important issues that may hinder the program’s ability to effectively serve the lowest income families. Please contact Christie Getto Young in Senator DiDomenico’s office to sign on to the HomeBase amendment and Kaitlin Lynch in Senator Wolf’s office to sign on to the RAFT amendment.
- Senator Katherine Clark will be filing an amendment to create a Commission to explore how to effectively serve unaccompanied homeless youth with housing and services. The Commission is also included in the House budget. Cosponsors can contact Paul in her office.
Thank you for supporting affordable housing by signing on to these and other critical affordable housing and homelessness prevention amendments. A decent, affordable home is the cornerstone of a productive and healthy life and these amendments will help make that dream possible for residents across the Commonwealth. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
Sean Caron, Esq.
Director of Public Policy
Senator Contact Information
Senator Candaras, 617-722-1290, 413-599-4685 Gale.Candaras@masenate.gov
Senator Ben Downing, 617-722-1625, 413-442-4008 ( Benjamin.Downing@masenate.gov
Senator Michael Knapike, 617-722-1415, 413-562-6454, Michael.Knapik@masenate.gov
Senator Stan Rossenberg, 617-722-1532, 413-584-1649, Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
Senator Jim Welch, 617-722-1660, James.Welch@masenate.gov