Category Archives: Advocacy

Join CHAPA’s 3rd Housing Day at the State House – Sept. 14, Boston

The Western Massachusetts Network to End Homelessness is proud to co-sponsor:

CHAPA’s Housing Day at the State House
Massachusetts State House, Great Room
24 Beacon Street, Boston
Thursday, September 14, 2017
9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

(Registration begins at 9 a.m.)

BREAKFAST AND LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED.
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED SO THAT WE CAN COORDINATE MEETINGS WITH LEGISLATORS.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Please join CHAPA for our 3rd Housing Day at the State House on Thursday, September 14, 2017. As the need for affordable housing grows, we hope you will attend with other housing advocates and policy makers to support the resources and policies that will help every person in Massachusetts have a safe, healthy, and affordable home.

A speaking program will begin at 9:30 a.m. when we will hear from legislators and housing leaders. This will be followed by meetings with legislators between
11:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. that CHAPA will arrange for attendees.

At Housing Day, we will advocate for legislation and programs that will help producepreserve, and plan for more affordable housing. Our priorities will include:

The Housing Bond Bill – H.675An Act Financing the Production & Preservation of Housing for Low & Moderate Income Residents

This legislation invests $1.7 billion through the capital budget in affordable housing over five years, providing critical funding to produce, preserve, and modernize public and affordable housing in communities across the Commonwealth. The bill also extends the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit and expands its annual allocation by $5 million to preserve affordable housing at risk of being lost.

Funding Affordable Housing & Homelessness Prevention Programs in the State Budget

The FY2018 budget passed by the Legislature demonstrated strong support for many affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development resources. Unfortunately, many of these programs face cuts because of vetoes. At Housing Day, we will ask the Legislature to override these vetoes and restore funding to these critical housing resources.

The Housing Production Bill – H.3845, An Act Relative to Housing Production

Massachusetts needs 17,000 new homes each year to meet our housing needs. This bill provides the tools necessary to meet this demand, support economic growth, and provide a range of housing options in communities across the state. This legislation includes zoning reform measures, such as required that all cities and towns allow for the development of multifamily housing and accessory dwelling units; financial incentives to support community as they work to meet our housing needs, and the removal of programmatic barriers to development.

Great Neighborhoods Campaign – H.2420 & S.81

This legislation reforms our state’s planning, zoning, and permitting laws to support communities that work for families and seniors. Great neighborhoods offer housing choices, are vibrant and healthy places that protect open space and natural resources, and allow cities & towns to plan for the future.

If you have any questions,  please contact Eric Shupin at eshupin@chapa.org.

Input requested on Federal Plan to End Homelessness Re: Racial Inequity

Please read below from the US Interagency Council on Homelessness:

The current federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness built upon strategies and actions taken across multiple administrations. The original plan and its amendments also reflected your expertise, your recommendations, and your lived experiences, gathered through conversations in communities, listening sessions at national events, and on-line opportunities.
It’s time again for us to revise and strengthen the federal plan. As we begin, we know we have a lot of work to do to drive greater progress, including a profound and urgent need to end racial inequities and other disparities in the risks and experiences of homelessness in our country.
We’re turning to you again for your insights and expertise. We’ve just launched a page on our website where you can give us your recommendations for revising the plan and for tackling the hard work ahead of us. In the months ahead, we’ll also be hosting in-person input sessions in many communities across the country. Within these processes, we are committed to discussing these issues and to bringing forward and listening to the voices of people who have experienced homelessness and people directly engaged in the delivery of housing and services.
In my remarks at this year’s National Conference on Ending Homelessness, I spoke about the essential values and truths that have helped to drive the progress we’ve been seeing and that we must remain focused on. For the team at USICH, that includes staying focused on the truths about the systemic inequities that cause stark and unacceptable disparities in people’s experiences of and risks for homelessness.
We are committed to doing more to understand and to take actions to address how biases and prejudices, overt discrimination, systemic and institutional racism, and many other related and intersectional forces impact our responses to homelessness andcollectively help cause and create homelessness in our country.
For example:
  • We know that African-Americans and Native Americans are at much higher risk of homelessness and that we must do much more to address the causes head-on. We must confront racism within ourselves and within our communities, we must diversify representation in leadership and staffing, and we must address the inequities and failures within public systems that can feed into and perpetuate homelessness.
  • We also know that LGBTQ youth are also at much higher risk of homelessness. We must continue to tailor and target our strategies for these young people, and we must ensure that LGBTQ people can find support no matter where they live or to whom they turn for assistance.
But we also know that we’ve not done nearly enough to act on this knowledge to date – and that we must do much, much more moving forward. And we know that we can strengthen the federal plan, and increase its impact, through bringing a much greater focus on actions that address such inequities.
We want to learn about the work you are doing in your communities to address these and other issues, and what federal agencies can do to support more action and to help drive greater progress toward ending homelessness. Please share your input, ideas, and recommendations with us. 

Veto Override Advocacy Alerts for Today!

The Legislature’s overrides of the Governor’s vetoes must originate in the House of Representatives with two-thirds of the body voting in support.  Then the Senate must follow with a two-thirds vote as well.  Now is the time to contact your Representative to urge him/her to support overrides of our Network priorities impacting homelessness (go here to find your legislator).

Please urge your representative to override the Governor’s vetoes to:

  • The Network ($125,000 veto)
  • Berkshire Regional Housing Authority ($150,000 veto)
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Housing and Services ($675,000 veto, thereby eliminating the program)
  • RAFT ($2 million veto, eliminating expanded eligibility to the elderly, persons with disabilities and unaccompanied homeless youth)
  • Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs) ($180,000 veto from the line-item eliminating earmarks and more from Foreclosure Prevention Counseling line-item veto of $800,000)
  • Tenancy Preservation Project ($125,000 veto)
  • Home and Healthy for Good: $40,000 veto

Also, please click here to participate in the MA Coalition for the Homeless’ one minute action.

Thank you for your advocacy!

 

 

The Governor’s Vetoes: Network funding vetoed as well as other Network priorities

Please see this post below from CHAPA regarding the Governor’s vetoes.  In addition to what is summarized below, the Governor vetoed the Network’s earmark for $125,000 as well as the Berkshire Regional Housing Authority earmark for $150,000.

I am in conversation with our legislators now and will update you about veto override advocacy very shortly.

Thanks to CHAPA for this update:

Yesterday, Governor Baker signed a $39.4 billion FY2018 budget. The Governor made $320 million worth of vetoes, including $222 million from MassHealth and $42 million in line-item reductions. For an overview on the funding vetoes for CHAPA’s affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development priorities, please click here.

The final FY2018 budget includes a $6.2 million increase for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and $150,000 more to implement public housing reforms. Also, the Governor signed the budget authorizing the statewide expansion of Housing Court. This means that 2 million people in 84 cities and towns in Barnstable, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Dukes, and Nantucket counties will now have access to a Housing Court.

Unfortunately, many of our other priorities faced budget and language vetoes, including:

  • Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP): $400,000 veto;
  • Public Housing Operating Subsidy: $1.5 million veto;
  • Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)$2 million veto and elimination of expanded eligibility to allow the elderly, persons with disabilities, or unaccompanied homeless youths to access the program;
  • HomeBASEveto of language that prevents families from being ineligible for the program because of a violation of a self-sufficiency plan;
  • Foreclosure Prevention Counseling: $800,000 veto, eliminating support for HCECs from the line-item;
  • Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs): $180,000 veto from the line-item eliminating earmarks;
  • Tenancy Preservation Program: $125,000 veto;
  • Home & Healthy for Good$40,000 veto;
  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Housing & Services: $675,000 veto, which eliminates the program from the budget; and
  • New Lease: $125,000 veto, which eliminates the program from the budget.

For a full analysis of all our budget priorities in the FY2018 budget signed by the Governor, click here.

As you know, these vetoes can be overridden by a 2/3rds vote by the House and Senate. We will be working with the Legislature to restore funding and language to the programs. I will keep you updated as the override process moves forward, including sharing any letters and materials that we send to the Legislature.

Also, in case you weren’t aware, Rep. Brian Dempsey, Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, is resigning to join ML Strategies. Speaker DeLeo has appointed Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, who represents Jamaica Plain and Brookline, as the new Ways & Means Chair.

Thank you and I look forward to being in touch soon to work together to override these vetoes.

Sincerely,

Eric Shupin
Director of Public Policy