Category Archives: Advocacy

Thanks to our legislators for important overrides!

A huge thanks to our Western MA legislators for their leadership and their votes that resulted in an override of the Governor’s vetoes  of funding for unaccompanied homeless youth services and partial funding of the Mass Rental Voucher Program.  Homeless youth services and housing will now receive the $2 million in funding allocated in the Conference Budget and the MRVP will receive the full Conference budget funding of $90.9 million.

Please contact your own legislators to give them your personal thanks.  You can find their contact information here.

We are so thankful for our delegation’s leadership and vision and we look forward to continuing this work together in the year ahead.

Action Alert: Stop Governor’s Vetoes on Critical Homelessness Funding

Please see the action alert below from the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless.  Governor Baker has vetoed the long-sought funding for housing and support services for unaccompanied homeless youth, as well as the recommended additional funding for MRVPs.

Please contact your legislators to ask them to override these vetoes.  Let’s get our Western MA voices heard!

From the MA Coalition for the Homeless:

This afternoon, Governor Charlie Baker signed the FY’16 state budget into law, while also issuing numerous vetoes (veto letter and vetoes) and a request for supplemental funds to close out FY’15.
Disappointingly, among those vetoes were the $2 million for housing and services for unaccompanied youth in a brand new line item, 4000-0007, as well as $3 million of the recommended funding of $90.9 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP). While the overall budget includes much for which to be grateful, we cannot rest while these vetoes stand– because people without homes cannot safely rest!
As early as next week, the Legislature will take up veto overrides to restore some of the funding and language to the final budget. In order to do this, both the House and Senate must vote with a two-thirds majority to override a veto. Help us ensure that youth without homes do not lose their chance to access much-needed housing and services, and that the MRVP program has as much funding as possible to provide housing to families, youth, and adults who are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity! Please pick up the phone today to call your State Representative and State Senator.
For insights into how meaningful the youth homelessness funding will be to youth, please read these two powerful blog posts by Synthia Kennedy (“We are not the enemy. We are houseless, not homeless”)and Ayala Livny (“The things that matter”), two of our strong allies in the multi-year Youth Without Homes Can’t Wait campaign.
Legislators can be reached via the State House switchboard (617-722-2000) or directly through the links listed here.
Help us keep hope and progress alive!

Great Budget News for the Network and Ending Homelessness

We are so pleased to share that the Conference Committee’s FY2016 budget released yesterday included continued funding of $125,000 for the Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness “to facilitate regional coordination and implement the Western Massachusetts Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness. ”

Governor Baker now has 10 days to take action by signing the budget into law, vetoing the entire budget or vetoing line items within the budget.

We are so grateful to our Western MA legislative delegation, in particular Senate President Rosenberg, Senator Downing, Representative Kulik, Representative Kocot and Representative Vega for their steadfast support and leadership of the Network’s efforts.  We look forward to sharing in the good work that lies ahead.

Other good news in relationship to Network budget priorities:

  • The Secure Jobs program was funded at $750,000 (the higher Senate amount) with a directive to use Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Funds to support the program as well.
  • Unaccompanied homeless youth housing and support services secured $2 million in funding and Franklin County’s LGBTQ Housing First Program for youth was funded.
  • The MA Rental Voucher Program was funded at $91 million, which will maintain the current number of vouchers and allow for the release of about 800 new vouchers.

We will post access to more detailed updates as they become available.

Thanks again to our Western MA legislators for making these excellent outcomes possible!

Network Advocacy for Conference Committee Budget

The House and Senate Conference Committee has been named and is meeting now to determine its final FY16 budget.  The Network is continuing its advocacy for its priorities and asks you to join in communicating with your legislators directly.  The Conference Committee includes one Western MA legislator, Vice Chair of House Ways and Means Stephen Kulik (additional members are listed below).  It is useful to contact your senator and representative and ask them to weigh in with all the Conferees about Network priorities!  You can find your legislators by clicking here.

The Network requests the following:

1.  Adopt House funding of the $125,000 earmark for the Western MA Network to End Homelessness (Line item 7004-0102) in order for the Network to maintain its capacity to coordinate regional efforts and implement its soon-to-be-released Western MA Opening Doors Plan to End Homelessness in FY16.
2.  Adopt Senate language and funding level of the Secure Jobs program of $750,000 which will provide the greatest possible assistance to homeless families seeking economic and housing stability.
3.  Adopt House funding level of Housing Consumer Education Centers of $2.6 million (Line item 7004-3036)  to restore funding to the FY14 level, enabling the centers to provide critical homelessness prevention services across the region and Commonwealth.
4.  Adopt Senate funding of Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (Line Items 4000-0007 and 4000-0300) which will provide $2 million to implement the new unaccompanied youth homelessness law, Chapter 450 of the Acts of 2014; and Adopt the House earmark of $150,000 to support the continuation of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth. 

This year’s House Conference Committee members are Representatives Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill, Chair of House Ways and Means), Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington, Vice Chair of House Ways and Means), and Todd Smola (R-Warren, Minority Member of House Ways and Means). The Senate Conference Committee members are Senators Karen Spilka (D-Ashland, Chair of Senate Ways and Means), Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett, Vice Chair of Senate Ways and Mean), and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth, Minority Member of Senate Ways and Means).

Thank you for your advocacy!