FY19 Budget Update and Action Steps from the MA Coalition for the Homeless

From the MA Coalition for the Homeless:

On Thursday, July 26, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law parts of the FY’19 state budget, vetoed other sections, and amended certain outside sections. You can see the full $41.7 billion budget here.
Thank you to everyone who took action, encouraging the Governor to preserve key investments and policy changes proposed by the Legislature in their FY’19 budget. Your hard work and advocacy have paid off! There are many victories to celebrate, including increased funding to address youth and young adult homelessness; more funds to prevent homelessness among families with children as well as elders, youth, and people with disabilities; the elimination of the homelessness penalty in the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC), and increased funds for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), to name just a few.The chart with our full list of priorities and outcomes is being updated now.
While the Governor issued very few vetoes when he signed the FY’19 budget yesterday (for a total of $48.9 million in cuts), we are working with legislative and advocacy allies to override vetoes and reject language changes related to Emergency Assistance family shelter and services (EA, via the Department of Housing and Community Development administrative line item, 7004-0099) and Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000 and outside sections). The Legislature must take swift action, as formal sessions for this two-year legislative cycle end this Tuesday, July 31st.
– Make sure that DHCD has sufficient staff available to accept in-person EA application in the 10 cities and towns where DHCD had staff as of January 1, 2018
– Allow DHCD to accept in-person applications in additional cities and towns that are geographically convenient for families experiencing homelessness
– Require DHCD to report to House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means on their plans, financially and operationally, for maintaining these local offices and on any plans to increase the use of phones in the EA application process
Our EA fact sheet is here. Please share it with your state legislators.
The Governor also vetoed language and issued outside section amendments related to lifting the family cap rule in TAFDC, trying to tie lifting the family cap with a terrible proposal to count the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of adults with disabilities when calculating TAFDC benefits– adults with disabilities so severe that they qualify for federal benefits. As with previous iterations of this proposal, this change would leave thousands of children and families without TAFDC assistance or with dramatically reduced grants. (See TAFDC veto text and outside section amendments.)
                                                            
Please see our action step below and stay tuned for end-of-session updates on the budget and Senate Bill 2568, An Act to provide identification to homeless youth and families.
Action Steps:
Please contact your State Representative and Senator TODAY to push Legislative Leadership to override the Governor’s vetoes and reject the TAFDC income-counting proposal.
You can find your legislators’ contact information via www.wheredoivotema.com or call the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000.
Please also keep signing and sharing our one-minute online #EveryoneNeedsID action to Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Sanchez in support of Senate Bill 2568.
Thank you!

Governor Signs FY19 Budget – good news!

Below is an update from CHAPA – overall good news for housing and homelessness programs!

Also, in related good news: the Network received its $125,000 earmark in this budget as well.  A huge thanks to our Western MA delegation for their support, particularly House Ways and Means Vice-Chair Stephen Kulik and Representative John Scibak for their advocacy for Western MA!

Now from Eric Shupin of CHAPA:

This afternoon, Governor Baker  signed a $41.2 billion FY2019 budget. The governor returned the budget with $48.9 million in spending vetoes. For information on the Governor’s actions on the budget, please click here. In the menu on the side of the page, you can access a full list of the budget vetoes.

For our Building Blocks Priorities, the Governor vetoed $500,000 from the Foreclosure & Housing Counseling line-item (7006-0011) along with language directing these funds to counseling services. To view the changes to the program language, click here.

There were no vetoes to any of our other budget priorities! For a table showing the vetoes to our priorities, click here.

THANK YOU for all of your tireless advocacy for these affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development priorities. It truly makes a difference for thousands of families, children, seniors, persons with disabilities, and others in Massachusetts!

 

 

Help Pass Zoning Reform Bill This Week!

See below from Great Neighborhoods:

Any day now the House is likely to vote on a zoning reform bill and send it to the Senate. We don’t want to waste this opportunity to do more to address the housing crisis and help curb sprawl. Can you take a moment to ask your legislators to add more to the Governor’s Housing Choice bill?

Just click on the button below to use our easy online tool to call or send a customized message to your legislators.

To learn more about the package of six items that we want added to the Governor’s Housing Choice bill read below or click on the button to go to our online action center.

I WANT A STRONGER BILL

Make this a stronger bill!

The House is likely to vote this week on what the Governor has proposed—allowing a simple majority vote for zoning changes that promote housing and smart growth practices and allowing a simple majority for certain types of development project applications. We want the House to vote yes on this, but also vote to amend the bill by adding:

  • Rules to allow certain homeowners to create accessory apartments (“Accessory Dwelling Units,” or “ADUs”) within their single-family homes
  • Standards for Open Space Residential Development (OSRD or cluster) to preserve more open space in subdivisions while producing the same number of homes
  • Three common-sense ways to improve the permitting process
  • Expand local training opportunities for zoning and planning board members
  • Authorize site plan review for issues like landscaping and road circulation
  • Faciliate mediation at local level
  • Sensible reforms to discourage frivolous appeals

Please ask your legislators to support adding these six items to the Governor’s Choice bill.

One-Minute Advocacy Action from the MA Coalition for the Homeless

Please see below from the MA Coalition for the Homeless:

The Legislature’s FY’19 budget is very strong on homelessness, housing, and benefits issues… but key language and funding may be cut by Governor Baker through the veto process.
Please sign our online action and then share it with family and friends today, asking the Governor to preserve key investments and policy changes: http://tinyurl.com/mch-gov-action
The Governor has ten days (until Saturday, July 28th) to issues his vetoes. If he takes the full time, the Legislature only will have a few days to override any vetoes before they finish formal sessions on Tuesday, July 31st.Preventing vetoes before they are issued is very critical.
Thank you for taking action with us!
With gratitude,
Kelly
Kelly Turley
Associate Director