Category Archives: Advocacy

Action Alert: Sign petition and call to provide Mass IDs to people experiencing homelessness

ACTION ALERT from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless:

Please help us push the Massachusetts House of Representatives to ease access to Mass IDs for people experiencing homelessness by signing and sharing our latest call to action to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez. The one-minute online action asks them to strongly support passage of Senate Bill 2568, An Act to provide identification to homeless youth and families. The legislation would eliminate the $25 fee and reduce verification barriers to accessing Massachusetts identification cards by people experiencing homelessness.
The bill unanimously was passed by the Senate on June 28th and was assigned to the House Committee on Ways and Means on July 2nd. The Legislature is scheduled to end formal sessions on July 31st, so your swift action is vital. (The House version of the bill, House Bill 2737, also is awaiting action by the House Ways and Means.)
Why is passing this bill important? Obtaining a state identification card is a critical first step for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to accomplish typical life tasks and access opportunities. ID is required for a broad range of life activities, such as:
·        Applying for jobs
·        Enrolling in education programs
·        Getting a library card
·        Picking up a package from the post office
·        Opening financial accounts
·        Entering certain government buildings
·        Accessing services
·        Interacting with law enforcement
The bill calls on the Registry of Motor Vehicles to waive the $25 fee for Mass IDs for applicants who are experiencing homelessness, and to accept alternative verifications of Massachusetts residency from state agencies and social service agencies.
Special thanks to the lead legislative sponsors, Senate President Harriette Chandler of Worcester and Representative Kay Khan of Newton.
To read more about the #EveryoneNeedsID campaign, please go to www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/access-to-mass-id-cards.
As the Conference Committee budget also has not been released yet, our budget action from earlier this week still is active. See below for more details or click here.
Thank you for your collaboration.
With gratitude,
Kelly
Kelly Turley
Associate Director

MCH Conference Committee Call-In Day of Action TODAY!

Please see action alert from Mass Coalition for the Homeless:

Please participate in our Conference Committee call-in day action. We are looking to generate as many calls as possible to the lead budget negotiators, Representative Jeff Sánchez and Senator Karen Spilka. The official call-in day will be today, Monday, June 25th.
When you call, please ask the Chairs to ensure that the Coalition’s Conference Committee priorities on housing and services for youth/young adults experiencing homelessnessEmergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program, Emergency Assistance (places not meant for human habitation language and application access), Residential Assistance for Families in Transition, and the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program are reflected in their compromise budget.
Representative Jeff Sánchez: 617-722-2990
Senator Karen Spilka: 617-722-1640
To read more about the Coalition’s Conference Committee budget priorities, please follow the links above and click here.
After your call, please email us to let us know you called and to share any feedback.
Thank you!

FY19 Senate Budget Conference Committee Begins Today!

The House and Senate have appointed the conference committee for the FY2019 budget. The committee will hold its first meeting today!  In the House, the conferees are Chairman Sanchez, Rep. Kulik, and Rep. Smola.  In the Senate, the conferees are Chairwoman Spilka, Sen. Lovely and Sen. deMacedo.

CHAPA has provided the conference committee a letter on its budget priorities and a table that provides a quick overview of its requests.

Please use these resources as you reach out to the conference committee and to your own senator and representative to urge them to advocate to the committee for these priorities.

Any questions or comments? Contact Eric Shupin, CHAPA Director of Public Policy, at eshupin@chapa.org or 617-742-0820 ext 103.

Find your legislator here.

Thank you for your advocacy!

$1.8 Billion Housing Bond Bill Signed Into Law!

See below from CHAPA about this great news:

On May 31, Governor Charlie Baker signed the $1.8 billion Housing Bond Bill (H.4536) into law. The legislation, the largest housing bond bill in the state’s history, will increase the production of affordable housing, diversify the state’s housing portfolio, modernize public housing, preserve the affordability of existing housing, and invest in new, innovative solutions to address Massachusetts’ rising demand for housing.

The bill authorizes $1.8 billion in new capital spending over the next five years for the production and preservation of affordable housing for low- to moderate-income households, supportive housing, and housing serving vulnerable populations. It expands tax credit programs that support affordable housing, including the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the Community Investment Tax Credit, and the state Historic Tax Credit. It also extends the Brownfields Tax Credit and the Housing Development Incentive Program. Finally, it re-authorizes the Early Education and Out of School Time Fund, which supports quality early education centers for children.

The Governor signed the bill in Brighton at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg House, a development by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly. For a copy of his press release, click here.

“The housing bond bill expands opportunities for children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families at risk of homelessness to find safe, healthy, and affordable homes,” said Rachel Heller, chief executive officer of Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association. “This legislation is the result of strong partnerships among advocates, the Legislature, and the Administration who worked together to pass the bill. As one of the first bond bills filed and passed this session, the Housing Bond Bill demonstrates that creating and preserving more affordable housing is a top priority in the Commonwealth.”

CHAPA sincerely thanks the Governor and his administration, including Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary Jay Ash, and Undersecretary Janelle Chan, the Legislature, and all advocates who helped pass this legislation.

Particularly, thanks to the bill sponsors Rep. Kevin Honan and former Senator Linda Dorcena Forry; Senate President Harriette Chandler; Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo; Housing Committee Co-Chair Senator Joseph Boncore; House Ways and Means Chair Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez; Senate Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen Spilka; House Bonding Committee Chair Rep. Tony Cabral; and Senate Bonding Committee Chair Senator John Keenan.

For more information on the Housing Bond Bill, click here.