Senate Ways and Means Budget: Thanks and some critical amendments!

The Senate Ways and Means (SWM) Committee released its Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal yesterday.  Please click here for a complete summary of how the Network priorities fared in the budget.

This budget proposal contains some great news for homelessness programs, including:

  • Youth homelessness demonstration project: $2.5 million ($2 million more than House budget; .5 million more than FY17 funding)
  • RAFT: $18.5 million (up from $13.5 million in FY17 and includes $2 million for expanded eligibility to include individuals as well!)
  • Secure Jobs: $800,000 (level with FY17 funding; up from $500,000 in House budget)
  • Housing Consumer Education Centers: $2.7 million (up from $2.6 million in FY17; and up from $2.3 million in House budget)
  • Mass Rental Voucher Program (MRVP): $100 million (up from $86.5 million in FY17; consistent with FY18 House budget funding)
  • Craig’s Doors Shelter: $200,000 earmark to maintain FY17 level funding (up from $0 in House budget)
  • Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness: $125,000 earmark (consistent with FY18 House budget and level for FY17, which was actually cut this year due to the Governor’s 9C cuts).

These are significant investments that will make a meaningful difference in our efforts to prevent and end homelessness.  Please thank your Senator!

At the same time, we have some extremely important work to do in the next 2 days to close a couple of critical gaps:

  • Local Consortium prevention funds (Line Item 1599-0017) for families and individuals were zero funded. The region currently receives a total of $250,000 in prevention funds that would disappear without an amendment (the House budget also failed to fund this item).
  • The Berkshire Regional Housing Authority’s earmark for $150,000 (Line item: 7004-012) was not funded in the SWM budget (and is not funded in the House).  These funds provide critical emergency shelter and other services through the winter months to Berkshire area shelter providers.
  • Tenancy Preservation Project (Line Item 7004-3045) was funded at $500,000 while receiving an increase to 750,000 in the House budget.  We are hopeful the Senate will support an amendment to increase TPP funding to $750,000.

Please reach out to your Senator to both thank them and urge their support of these amendments.  I will forward more amendment information as I receive it.  But please call or email now to express your support and your urgency.

If you’re uncertain who your senator is, go here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator.  And if you are reaching out on behalf of the people you serve, please contact them all!

Senate President Stan Rosenberg: 413-584-1649, Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov (as Senate President, it is worthwhile to contact him AND your own senator if he is not one and the same)
Senator Eric Lesser: 413-526-6501, Eric.Lesser@masenate.gov
Senator Adam Hinds: 413-344-4561, Adam.Hinds@masenate.gov
Senator Don Humason: 413-568-1366, Donald.Humason@masenate.gov (Senator Humason is on the SWM Committee, so you can thank him especially for his work on this budget proposal.)
Senator Jim Welch: 413-737-7756, James.Welch@masenate.gov

Thank you for this important work!

 

 

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