Mixed reactions with a big bright spot: Access to Counsel is in the budget!
On January 24, Governor Healey filed her Fiscal Year 2025 budget, totaling $56.1 billion. For a big picture view, please see Mass. Budget and Policy Center’s “first look” analysis.
For an overview of many of the Network’s priority budget areas, please see CHAPA’s analysis here. Also see the breakdown of how the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless’ budget priorities fared here.
Reactions are quite mixed, with some areas receiving increases (amounting to very little given inflation), some areas receiving level funding (amounting to cuts given inflation) and some areas receiving cuts outright (such as Home and Healthy for Good – for permanent supportive housing – and Housing Consumer Education Centers – our front door for RAFT). Also of particular concern is level funding for individual homelessness given the continually increasing demand for shelter and no remaining shelter capacity anywhere.
On the big plus side: Access to Counsel for low-income tenants facing eviction and low-income owner-occupied landlords is included in the budget at $3.5 million. This is a very important foot in the door! And we will continue to widen it as best we can (our statewide ask is for $7 million to get the pilot off the ground). CHEERS for this exciting step forward towards greater housing justice.
The Network is convening county-based meetings with our western MA legislators in the weeks ahead. We look forward to this opportunity for our Network partners to share our region’s priorities and to help maximize the state’s response to this housing and homelessness crisis that continues unabated.
Stay tuned for more on next steps – we are just out of the gate!