Category Archives: Advocacy

Important Correction: Network Funding Cut

An announcement from the Western MA Network to End Homelessness Leadership Council Chair Andrew Morehouse:

I am writing to inform you that much to our surprise, the Network’s earmark funding for Fiscal Year 2017 was actually cut through the Governor’s 9C budget authority.

This cut had not been recorded in any public documentation, which was the source of the Network’s misunderstanding. After sharing the “false positive” news on this blog last week, we received a call from DHCD advising us of the administrative error. We have since received more verbal confirmation and still await written record of the actual correction. Our big mistake!

The Network Steering Committee and Leadership Council will start planning for this funding loss now.  Based on an analysis of expenditures, revenues to date and cash in reserves, the Network has funds to cover projected expenses for approximately three more months, which would bring us to the end of February.

While we may not know the final chapter on this year’s funding, the Network will plan accordingly.

We will be in touch as this process unfolds.

Best,

Andrew Morehouse
Executive Director
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts
97 North Hatfield Road
PO Box 160
Hatfield, MA  01038
413-247-9738  Ext. #115
www.foodbankwma.org

National Low Income Housing Coalition Advocacy Guide

NLIHC’s Advocacy Guide for the
Election Season

NLIHC Summer Issues Guide

Over the next few months, affordable housing and community development organizations have an opportunity to influence a number of critical issues before Congress and to help break through the noise of the Presidential campaigns to make affordable housing an election issue.

This summer and fall, Congress will be in their home districts and states between August 1 and September 6 and again between October 10 and November 11.

To help advocates make full use of this time, NLIHC has created a Summer/Fall 2016 Advocacy Guide, outlining the five key ways organizations can take action between now and the November elections to advocate for the issues that are most important to their mission, the people they serve, and their community.

The Advocacy Guide covers ways organizations can help:

  • Increase federal spending on key federal housing programs;
  • Expand and improve the Low Income Housing Tax Credit;
  • Ensure that housing needs are addressed in criminal justice reform;
  • Support the Make Room campaign—an initiative to demand that Congress make affordable housing a top priority; and
  • Use NLIHC Voterization resources to engage voters and candidates.

For more information and best practices on how nonprofit organizations and individuals can lobby their elected officials, see Lobbying: Individual and 501(c)(3) Organizations in NLIHC’s 2016 Advocates’ Guide.

Advocacy Alert: Override Votes This Weekend and Next

The formal House and Senate sessions for override votes will take place this Saturday, 7/23, and next weekend, 7/30 and 7/31 (the weekend timing is due to the national political conventions during both work weeks and the fact that overrides must be completed by 7/31).

The Network’s priorities for requested overrides include:

  • The Western MA Network to End Homelessness (7004-0102): restore funding of $125,000 in order to provide maximum collaboration and impact across the region’s four Western counties in the effort to prevent and end homelessness;
  • RAFT (7004-9316):  restore the eligibility expansion to include this vital prevention resource for the elderly, disabled and unaccompanied homeless youth; and
  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (7004-9024): restore the $2.4 million cut to bring this critical housing program to level funding of $90.9 million.

Also as an additional point of information, please note that funding for Craig’s Doors, which is the only individual emergency shelter in Amherst and the only behavior-based shelter in all of Hampshire County, was also vetoed by the Governor in the same line-item as the Network funding (in which all earmarks were vetoed).  While the Network has not had an opportunity to take a formal position on this veto, I wanted to make sure you were aware and ask you to consider your own action on the matter.

Please contact both your representative and senator to urge their support of these overrides. You can find your legislator contact info here: https://malegislature.gov/People

Thank you for your advocacy.

 

Action Alert: Urge Legislature to Override Governor’s Vetoes

Governor Baker submitted his vetoes for the Fiscal Year 2017 budget.  With regard to the Network’s funding priorities, we are seeking a legislative override for the following items:

  • RAFT (7004-9316).  Although the Governor left funding in place at $13 million, he removed language expanding eligibility for the program to serve elders, persons with disabilities and unaccompanied youth.
  • MRVP (7004-9024): The Governor cut $2,416,109 from the line-item for a total of $82,931,597.  This amount is $8 million less than FY2016;
  • Western MA Network to End Homelessness (7004-0102):  The Governor eliminated all earmarks (totaling $1 million) in the Homelessness Assistance Line-item, which included $125,000 for the Network.

For a review of all the Governor’s vetoes, click here.

Please contact your representative, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo and House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey to urge their support of these overrides (overrides begin in the House; Senate comes next).  Find your legislator here.

Thanks for your advocacy!