Category Archives: Advocacy

Advocacy Alert for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Please see message below from Mass. Coalition for the Homeless:

We are grateful for the Legislature’s efforts earlier this winter to pass An Act promoting housing and support services to unaccompanied homeless youths (Chapter 450 of the Acts of 2014). Now we need your help to secure the funding needed to implement this law, so that thousands of young people in Massachusetts can have a safe place to sleep and can access the services needed to develop as healthy, productive, housed adults.

Please take action by signing this petition directed to your Representatives and Senators:
https://secure2.convio.net/mch/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=207

Thank you for helping us make sure that youth experiencing homelessness are provided with housing options and adequate services.

Mass Budget Analysis: Workforce Development for Low-Income Families

The Fireman Foundation funded the reports below by Mass. Budget and Policy Center to further dialogue around state policies pertaining to workforce development for low-income families.  Please read on!

How can the state help low-income parents succeed in the workforce? 

Two decades ago Massachusetts and the US adopted reforms aimed at shifting our welfare programs towards supporting work. The goal was to help more low income parents to get and keep jobs that pay enough to support a family. To accomplish this, the state would shift funding away from cash assistance and towards important work supports like child care and job training. Since parents with young children can’t leave their kids home alone when they go to work, they need access to affordable early education and care for their kids. Those programs also play a very important role in preparing young children for success in school, and in life. Many low income parents also need access to job training and education programs to develop the skills they need to reach their potential. And those who can’t afford a car need access to reliable public transportation to be able to get to work.

While Massachusetts increased investments in some of these areas immediately after the welfare reforms of the mid-1990s, there have been deep cuts and chronic underfunding since then. Funding for child care is down 24% since 2001 and funding for the Employment Support Program, which provides job training and related supports for low income parents has been cut 78% since 2001. Our public transportation system has been chronically unable to make the investments needed to ensure reliability, as has become painfully clear in recent weeks.
Declines in Support for Low Income Working Parents, provides an overview of what the state has and has not been doing to provide the support low income parents need to succeed in the workforce.Funding for the TANF Program in Massachusetts provides greater detail on the history of funding of funding for these programs.
Massachusetts has taken important steps to improve the wages and working conditions of low wage workers by significantly increasing the state minimum wage and by protecting the ability of workers who are too sick to work to be able to take a sick day without being fired. Our Commonwealth could build on that progress by providing low income parents with the job training, child care, and reliable transportation they need to succeed in the workforce.

 

Senators’ Listening Tours: Feb. 4 in Western MA!

Senators’ Listening Tour

There are two forums scheduled for Western Mass., both on Wed. Feb. 4: in Great Barrington from 10 am – 12 noon, and at Holyoke Community College from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. The HCC forum will be held in the Kittredge Center, People’s Bank Conference Room, Room 301. Parking available in Lots D and E.

The speaking protocols are still being developed, but it is my understanding that from 6:30 – 8 pm, testimony will be provided by invited guests representing regional businesses, non-profits, etc., with public testimony scheduled for 8 – 8:30 pm.

Senators expected to participate are:

Senate President Stan Rosenberg
Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester)
Eric Lesser (D- Longmeadow)
Ben Downing (D-Pittsfield)
Don Humason (R-Westfield)
Jim Welch (D-West Springfield)

Below is a brief article that provides a bit more detail about the entire program:

State House News Service: SENATORS PLAN AGENDA-SETTING MEETINGS AROUND THE STATE

By Andy Metzger

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 23, 2015….Massachusetts senators can look forward to field trips starting the first week in February and lasting into March.

The first Senate gatherings designed to gather input from around the state for agenda-setting will be held Feb. 4 in Western Massachusetts. The first event will feature forums in Sen. Benjamin Downing’s district and Sen. Donald Humason’s district, as well as visits to local businesses. Sen. Eric Lesser, a freshman Democrat from Longmeadow, will be heading up the first session.

Eight sessions will be held around Massachusetts, and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, an Amherst Democrat, has encouraged senators to attend the “Commonwealth conversations” outside their own districts.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat, said that at a meeting before the new legislative session he brought up the idea, modeled on statewide economic development forums held in 2003, and said Rosenberg “liked it so much” he tasked Rodrigues with spearheading the effort.

Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Rosenberg have agreed to attend each of the sessions, according to Rodrigues, who said the state has been divided into eight regions and senators from each of the regions will arrange the logistics and agendas for the forums.

Rodrigues will lead the South Coast conversation, and he said he plans to take senators to the SSTAR substance abuse treatment center on Stanley Street, in Fall River.

Future forums will be led by Sen. Daniel Wolf for the Cape Cod area on Feb. 9, Sen. Harriette Chandler for the Worcester area Feb. 11, Sen. Kenneth Donnelly for the North Shore area Feb. 23, Sen. John Keenan for the South Shore area Feb. 25, Sen. Jamie Eldridge for the Metrowest area March 2, Sen. William Brownsberger for the Boston area March 4, and Rodrigues will lead the South Coast forum on March 11.

Advocacy Alert from Mass. Coalition for the Homeless

An Advocacy from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless:

There’s Still Time!
Help Us Address Homelessness and Poverty:
Please Ask Your State Senator and State Representative to Co-Sponsor Three Important Bills!

The deadline for House co-sponsors and initial Senate co-sponsors has been extended until Monday due to the blizzard.

As the 189th Legislative Session begins, we are asking for your help in reaching out to your State Senator and State Representative to ask for their support for three bills addressing critical gaps in resources for people experiencing homelessness and other low-income households.  

Specifically, we are requesting that you ask your legislators to co-sponsor the three following bills:
  • An Act Relative to Assisting Elders and People with Disabilities in the Commonwealth 

    Lead sponsors: Representative James O’Day and Senator Patricia Jehlen

    House Docket Number 2741

    An Act Providing a Homeless Bill of Rights

    Lead Sponsor: Representative William Smitty Pignatelli

    House Docket Number 691

  • An Act to End Child Homelessness

    Lead sponsor: Representative Denise Provost

    House Docket Number 231

Additional information about these bills is below. To find out who your elected officials are, please go to www.wheredoivotema.com. The State House switchboard number is 617-722-2000.
Please reach out to your legislators as soon as possible. The deadline for House members to co-sponsor bills has been extended until Monday, February 2nd at 5 p.m. The Senate just changed their rules to allow for a longer co-sponsorship window, but we are hoping to get as many initial co-sponsors as possible to show broad-based support of these bills.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the bills or co-sponsorship.

As this new legislative session gets underway, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you to make greater strides toward reducing and ending homelessness across the Commonwealth!