Category Archives: Advocacy

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Final push for MA ID Access Bill – before January 1!

See this alert from the MA Coalition for the Homeless – thanks for taking action if you can!

The 2017-2018 legislative session officially ends on Tuesday, January 1, 2019, so it’s time for our final push to pass the Mass ID access bill! Thank you for making calls, signing our petitions, writing letters, posting on social media, and visiting the State House. Your efforts have a positive impact and we are so grateful for your support.

In these last two weeks of the session, we need your continued help to encourage House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Sánchez and House Speaker Robert DeLeo to move Senate Bill 2568, An Act to provide identification to homeless youth and families. The bill would direct the Registry of Motor Vehicles to waive the $25 Mass ID fee for applicants experiencing homelessness, and make it easier for applicants experiencing homelessness without an address to prove Massachusetts residency.

We are asking you to to do two things:
Sign and share our #EveryoneNeedsID online petition
Call Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Sánchez, urging them to take action to pass Senate Bill 2568 during informal sessions (before January)
Speaker DeLeo’s number: 617-722-2500
Chairman Sánchez’s number: 617-722-2990

Once you are done, post these two easy steps on social media, tag the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless using the links above, and encourage others to do the same! With enough momentum, we can get this bill passed!

Thank you to everyone who already has taken action on this bill, including those who added your organization as an official endorser of the #EveryoneNeedsID campaign. We now officially have 67 endorsers for this campaign! See our latest fact sheet with an updated list of endorsing organizations here.

If you would like to check in about the ID bill, please don’t hesitate to contact Kelly.

Thank you for your collaboration, and best wishes for the holidays!

In solidarity,
Molly Schulman
Community Organizer/Legislative Advocate
molly@mahomeless.org

Kelly Turley
Associate Director
kelly@mahomeless.org

ACT by Dec. 10 to weigh in on federal “public charge” rule

On October 10, the Trump administration announced a proposed regulation that would dramatically broaden the “public charge” test, forcing immigrant families to choose between permanent legal status and their ability to access basic needs like safe housing, healthy food, and health care. Please see these Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

The Western MA Network to End Homelessness has taken a position to oppose this rule change due to the devastating impact it will have on immigrants’ access to federal housing programs and related needs. We are encouraging all partners and members to take action  by clicking here and submitting your public comment on or before December 10.

The Administration is required to review every single comment. A coalition of partners under the umbrella Protect Immigrant Families urges us to join in this action to create the pressure necessary to stop this rule from being enacted. Our few minutes will make a difference.  Please forward and spread the word.


Action Alert: MA ID Action Campaign Day of Action

Please see below from the MA Coalition for the Homeless and take action if you can!

Thank you for your continued support of the passage of the Massachusetts ID Access bill. Today we are coming together to take action to tell House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo that it’s time to pass this bill!

There are three ways you can take action today.

  1. Contact Chairman Sánchez and Speaker DeLeo to urge them to take action to pass Senate Bill 2568.

By phone:

  • Chairman Sánchez: 617-722-2990
  • Speaker DeLeo: 617-722-2500

By mail:

  • A sample letter with room to add your own thoughts can be downloaded here. I have also attached a copy of the letter to this email. Print out two copies to mail to the State House.

By email:

  1. Post on social media. One of the best ways to put pressure on our legislators is to show that people in their district and around the state are talking about this bill and want it to be passed.

Please download and share our campaign logo from the attached file or from here with the hashtag #EveryoneNeedsID and a link to our online action .

For longer posts, use the text below as a sample:

In order to complete typical life tasks such as opening a financial account, applying for jobs, and enrolling in education programs, people often need a state-issued ID card. As of right now, not only does it cost $25 for people to get a Mass ID, but there is also a requirement for applicants to prove Massachusetts residency to receive the card. This creates huge barriers to access for people experiencing homelessness in our communities. Senate Bill 2568, An Act to Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families, unanimously passed the Senate and is awaiting action by the House. This bill would waive the fee to get an ID card and create a process for people experiencing homelessness to use alternative proof of residency to get an ID. This is critical to giving rights and access to members of our community. Help us call on House Ways and Means Chair @jeffrey_sanchez and House @SpeakerDeLeo to move forward Senate Bill 2568. #EveryoneNeedsID

  1. Send testimony to myself, Molly Schulman,at molly@mahomeless.orgto share why you think it’s important for this bill to be passed. You can use the letter template to help you get started . I will bring your letters to the State House on Monday to make sure your voice is heard!

Once you have taken action, please share feedback by completing this simple feedback form or contacting me.

Thank you again for your continued support of this campaign!

In solidarity,

Molly Schulman
Community Organizer and Legislative Advocate
Pronouns: She, her, and hers
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

Legislature Overrides Vetoes and Finalizes FY19 Budget

Please see the message below from Eric Shupin of CHAPA:

Last week, the Legislature finalized the FY2019 state budget and overrode the Governor’s veto of the foreclosure prevention and housing counseling program (7006-0011). The House and Senate both voted to restore $500,000 to the program and re-insert language allowing grants to be made to support housing counseling programs.

Together, we helped to secure increased investments for 12 of our Building Blocks budget priorities – for an overview of our priorities in the final budget, click here. We also achieved important programmatic changes that will help make these resources more effective.

Again, thank you for your advocacy throughout the entire budget process. Thank you for every meeting, email, phone call, and hearing!

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association    ·    18 Tremont Street, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: 617-742-0820    ·    http://www.chapa.org

To unsubscribe from future mailings please click here.

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