On Wednesday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives released its FY2019 budget proposal with strong investments in affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development programs. However, we are working to further strengthen these programs that will help everyone in the Commonwealth have a safe, healthy, and affordable place to call home!
Please call or email your State Representative TODAY to ask her or him to sign-on and support the following amendments for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development programs!
Click here to find your State Representative’s contact information.
You can use this message for your call or email:
“Hello, I am [NAME] and I am from [CITY or TOWN] in the Representative’s district. Programs that support affordable housing and homelessness prevention are important to me. I am requesting that the Representative sign on to the following amendments. [LIST THE AMENDMENTS BELOW]. Thank you very much.”
If you have any questions, please contact Eric Shupin, CHAPA’s Director of Public Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 742-0820.
For more materials on CHAPA’s priorities in the state budget, please click here.
Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) (7004-9024)
Sponsored by Rep. Paul Donato
Rep. Paul Donato’s amendment restores funding for MRVP to $120 million. This will help create 1,200 new rental vouchers, help preserve affordable housing, and restore the program to 1990 funding levels.
MRVP Improvements (7004-9024)
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Connolly
Rep. Mike Connolly’s amendment increases funding to $120 million and makes the following important improvements to increase the MRVP’s effectiveness:
- Makes MRVP more usable by increasing voucher rent caps to current fair market rent standards;
- Gets vouchers out faster by mandating a date for the DHCD to issue new vouchers; and
- Allows MRVP to serve more extremely low-income (ELI) households by directing 75% of new vouchers to ELI families.
Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) (7004-9030)
Sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Decker
Rep. Decker’s amendment increases funding for AHVP, to provide additional rental vouchers for low-income households with persons with disabilities.
Public Housing Operating Subsidy (7004-9005)
Sponsored by Rep. David Nangle
Rep. Nangle's amendment increases funding for public housing authorities to $67 million to help support the more than 45,600 state public housing units in Massachusetts. Over three-quarters of public housing residents are elderly or persons with disabilities.
Public Housing Reform (7004-9007)
Sponsored by Rep. Russell Holmes
Rep. Holmes’s amendment provides $1 million to help implement public housing reforms signed into law in 2014. These reforms improve governance and operation of local housing authorities by assisting with capital improvements, unit turn over, and help support a centralized waitlist. The reforms also increase tenant participation through trainings and technical assistance.
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) (7004-9316)
Sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Decker
Rep. Decker’s amendment increases RAFT funding to $18.5 million and restores eligibility to allow the elderly, persons with disabilities, and unaccompanied homeless youth access to the program. RAFT has been a cost-effective, impactful homelessness prevention resource for households across the state.
Sponsored by Rep. Andres Vargas
Rep. Vargas’s amendment addresses concerns about the number of families that return to homelessness and face housing instability after HomeBASE benefits end with the following program improvements:
- De-links RAFT and HomeBASE benefits so that households can access prevention services after their benefit runs out, without waiting the 12-month period;
- Allows families to renew their HomeBASE assistance at the end of the first 12-months, if otherwise facing a return to homelessness;
- Increases funding to $35 million to cover the estimated costs of renewals; and
- Ensures that HomeBASE families who can no longer afford their apartment and who are evicted through no fault of their own to access further assistance; and
- Improves data and reporting requirements.
Housing Court Expansion (0336-0003)
Sponsored by Rep. Chris Walsh
Rep. Walsh’s amendment provides full funding of $2.6 million to help expand Housing Court statewide.
Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) (7004-3045)
Sponsored by Rep. Byron Rushing
Rep. Rushing’s amendment increases TPP funding to $1.3 million to help expand this homelessness prevention program that works in Housing Court to assist households with disabilities facing eviction. These additional funds will allow TPP to serve households as Housing Court is expanded statewide.
Unaccompanied Homeless Youths (4000-0007)
Sponsored by Rep. Jim O’Day
Rep. O’Day’s amendment increases funding to $4 million for housing and services for unaccompanied homeless youth.
New Lease for Homeless Families (NEW)
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan
Rep. Honan’s amendment provides $250,000 for New Lease, a program that helps find homes for families living in shelters by implementing a preference for these families in affordable housing developments across the state.
Economic Mobility Commission (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Rep. Aaron Vega
Rep. Vega’s amendment establishes a commission to study the numerous self-sufficiency programs operating in Massachusetts. Self-Sufficiency programs offer a pathway for financial mobility for families with low incomes, help them get education, increase their incomes, build assets, and attain financial self-sufficiency.