NLIHC’s Advocacy Guide for the
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.
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.
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!
The MA Legislature just voted on its FY17 budget, which now goes to the Governor’s desk, where he has 10 days to review and make any vetoes.
The news in relation to Network priorities is mixed, but given the current state fiscal picture, we also can be pleased. Please click here for line-by-line breakdown of our priorities and where they landed, but I will summarize key provisions here:
- Secure Jobs:Funded at $800,000 (minus an allocation from the Housing Trust Fund). This will require a sharp reduction in funding of our Secure Jobs program.
- Raising the individual shelter bed rate to $30/night: This did not pass. A small amount of additional funding was allocated in this line-item which will translate to very small increases to individual shelters.
- Local Consortiums (prevention/coordinated entry initiative): Not funded. This will mean that once any carry-over funds from FY16 are expended, this program ends.
- Youth housing and services:Funded at $1 million. In addition to the carryover from FY16, this funding will allow the youth initiative to continue through FY17.
- Expansion of RAFT to include individuals: PASSED. This is a huge victory!
- Expansion of HomeBASE eligibility to include families in domestic violence shelters: Another huge victory!
- Western MA Network to End Homelessness:Funded at $125,000. Once again, we are very grateful to all of our Western MA legislators, including Representative Peter Kocot as the lead sponsor, for their support of our Network.
Please reach out to your legislator to thank him or her for their hard work and support of many of our priorities (go here to find your legislator). Also, please contact the Governor’s office to urge his support of the budget in general and our priorities in particular.
Happy 4th of July!