I am pleased to provide an update on the Network’s legislative activity that culminated in hearings on Beacon Hill yesterday regarding 5 of the Network’s legislative priorities:
- Right to counsel for tenants facing eviction proceedings
- Eviction sealing (HOMES Act)
- Reducing cliff effects (access to necessary state data and a pilot program); and
- Act of Living – Civil and human rights protections for people experiencing homelessness
We also had amazing legislative leadership and support for these priorities so first and foremost, THANK YOU to our Western MA delegation.
A few special thanks are in order on both a state and local level to:
- Senator Jo Comerford for both her lead sponsorship of the data transparency bill in relation to cliff effects and for testifying in support of Right to Counsel and the HOMES Act (while chairing her Public Health Committee hearing simultaneously!). Check out her testimony on Right to Counsel and HOMES that draws on the Network’s commitment as fueling her mission.
- Representative Lindsay Sabadosa who provided powerful testimony on Right to Counsel based on her first-hand experience as an observer in Housing Court.
- Senator Eric Lesser and Representative Aaron Vega for their lead sponsorship of the cliff effect pilot program that will provide a model for families gaining stability while their employment income increases.
- Senator Adam Hinds for submitting testimony in support of HOMES and Representative Mindy Domb for standing in support of Right to Counsel and HOMES.
- And to the other members of the Network Leadership Council – Senators Anne Gobi and Jim Welch, and Representatives Natalie Blais, Dan Carey, Michael Finn, Carlos Gonzalez, Paul Mark, Smitty Pignatelli, Jose Tosado, John Velis and Bud Williams – for their co-sponsorship of one or more of these bills.
- Northampton City Council for its Resolution in support of Right to Counsel and HOMES bills
- Springfield City Council for its Resolution in support of Right to Counsel
- Mayor David Narkewicz on behalf of the City of Northampton in support of the Cliff Effect bills
- Our Network partners, including Berkshire Regional Housing Authority, ServiceNet, United Way of Hampshire County, Way Finders and more, for taking the time to individually express their support as well.
Of course this process will continue to unfold – it’s not too late to submit your organization’s testimony! – and the Network will continue to collaborate with our elected leaders and partners to ensure Western Massachusetts’ voices reach Beacon Hill. We are being heard, and we are making a difference together.
Senator Comerford and Representative Sabadosa testifying before the Judiciary Committee on the Right to Counsel and HOMES bills.