Category Archives: Advocacy

Help Pass Zoning Reform Bill This Week!

See below from Great Neighborhoods:

Any day now the House is likely to vote on a zoning reform bill and send it to the Senate. We don’t want to waste this opportunity to do more to address the housing crisis and help curb sprawl. Can you take a moment to ask your legislators to add more to the Governor’s Housing Choice bill?

Just click on the button below to use our easy online tool to call or send a customized message to your legislators.

To learn more about the package of six items that we want added to the Governor’s Housing Choice bill read below or click on the button to go to our online action center.

I WANT A STRONGER BILL

Make this a stronger bill!

The House is likely to vote this week on what the Governor has proposed—allowing a simple majority vote for zoning changes that promote housing and smart growth practices and allowing a simple majority for certain types of development project applications. We want the House to vote yes on this, but also vote to amend the bill by adding:

  • Rules to allow certain homeowners to create accessory apartments (“Accessory Dwelling Units,” or “ADUs”) within their single-family homes
  • Standards for Open Space Residential Development (OSRD or cluster) to preserve more open space in subdivisions while producing the same number of homes
  • Three common-sense ways to improve the permitting process
  • Expand local training opportunities for zoning and planning board members
  • Authorize site plan review for issues like landscaping and road circulation
  • Faciliate mediation at local level
  • Sensible reforms to discourage frivolous appeals

Please ask your legislators to support adding these six items to the Governor’s Choice bill.

One-Minute Advocacy Action from the MA Coalition for the Homeless

Please see below from the MA Coalition for the Homeless:

The Legislature’s FY’19 budget is very strong on homelessness, housing, and benefits issues… but key language and funding may be cut by Governor Baker through the veto process.
Please sign our online action and then share it with family and friends today, asking the Governor to preserve key investments and policy changes: http://tinyurl.com/mch-gov-action
The Governor has ten days (until Saturday, July 28th) to issues his vetoes. If he takes the full time, the Legislature only will have a few days to override any vetoes before they finish formal sessions on Tuesday, July 31st.Preventing vetoes before they are issued is very critical.
Thank you for taking action with us!
With gratitude,
Kelly
Kelly Turley
Associate Director

More on FY19 Conference Committee Budget

Please see this update from Kelly Turley of the Mass Coalition for the Homeless:

After an extended period of budget negotiations, the FY’19 Budget Conference Committee has completed its work, and has sent their recommendations to the full House and Senate. The $41.88 billion Conference Committee budget, House Bill 4800, incorporates many positive recommendations. Here is a preliminary look at the budget:
·         Senate-proposed funding of $3.3 million for housing and wraparound services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness (line item 4000-0007), matching the Coalition’s Conference Committee request
·         Senate-proposed language on maintaining the expanded definition of family for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition homelessness prevention program (RAFT, line item 7004-9316), and $20 million in funding, exceeding the House’s and Senate’s initial recommendations, as well as the Coalition’s request of $18.5 million
·         Senate-proposed language on the Emergency Assistance family shelter and services program to ensure that the Department of Housing and Community Development continues to take in-person applications in the ten cities and towns with offices as of January 1, 2018, as well as Senate-proposed language to protect families that exceed the income eligibility limit for fewer than 90 days from being terminated (EA, line item 7004-0101), matching parts of the Coalition’s Conference Committee request
·         House-proposed language and funding on eliminating the homelessness penalty in the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000), so that participants experiencing homelessness will receive the full EAEDC grant: $303.70/month for a household of one, instead of the reduced grant of $92.80/month for a household of one, matching the Coalition’s Conference Committee request
·         House-proposed funding of $100 million on the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024), matching the Coalition’s Conference Committee request
·         Senate-proposed language to increase the maximum benefit under the HomeBASE program (line item 7004-0108) from $8,000/year/family up to $10,000, matching the Coalition’s Conference Committee request
·         House and Senate improvements to the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC, line item 403-2000 and Outside Sections): House and Senate language on eliminating the family cap rule, Senate-proposed language on implementing the family cap repeal by January 1, 2019, Senate-proposed language on increasing the annual children’s clothing allowance to $350/child, and House-proposed language to increase the TAFDC asset limit from $2,500 to $5,000.
Unfortunately, the Conference Committee did not include Senate-proposed language to prevent families from having to stay in places not meant for human habitation before being able to access EA. (Related legislation, House Bill 659, still is pending in House Ways and Means.)
Once the Conference Committee budget is approved by both the House and Senate, it will head to Governor Charlie Baker. He will have 10 days to sign the budget and issue any vetoes. With the Legislature scheduled to end formal sessions for this two-year legislative cycle on Tuesday, July 31st, there will not be much time for legislators to override any gubernatorial vetoes, so please reach out to Governor Baker today to ask him to preserve the important investments and budget language listed above. The Governor’s contact information is here: www.mass.gov/orgs/office-of-the-governor.
In addition, please also take a few minutes to thank your State Senator and Representative for their efforts to create a strong budget, and ask them to push for any needed veto overrides. You can look up your elected officials on www.wheredoivotema.com.
Please also thank the Conference Committee members: Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Vice Chair Joan Lovely, Senate Ways and Means Ranking Minority Member Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo, House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez, House Ways and Means Vice Chair Stephen Kulik, and House Ways and Means Ranking Minority Member Todd Smola, as well as Senate President Harriette Chandler and House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Conference Committee Released its FY19 budget

Below please find information and summary on the FY19 budget from Eric Shupin of CHAPA:

The Conference Committee released its FY2019 Budget. I’ve attached three documents for your review:
  • Overviewof FY2019 Budget Priorities
  • Analysis & Language of FY2019 Budget Priorities
  • Overview of All Housing Program Spending in FY2019 Budget

Our priorities received strong support in the final conference budget – with some programs receiving a higher appropriation than either the House or Senate approved in their budgets!

 
For next steps, we’ll be sending a letter to Governor Baker asking for his support of the budget. However, we expect there will be vetoes. I will share CHAPA’s budget letter with all of you when it is complete.
 
The House and Senate still need to approve the conference budget. If the Legislature approves the conference report today, then the Governor will have 10 days from tomorrow to send back the budget with any vetoes.
According to the House Clerk, it is 10 calendar days, meaning Sundays are included. If the Legislature approves the budget today, the Governor will have until Saturday, July 28th, to issue his veto message and sign the budget into law. The Legislature is not planning to meet on Sunday, July 29th, so they will have two days – July 30th and 31st – to override any vetoes!
Please reach out to the Governor’s office asking him to support the conference budget. Also, please thank Rep. Sánchez and Sen. Spilka, as well as other members of the conference committee and leadership.