Action Alert: Ask Your State Representative to Help Strengthen Affordable Housing & Homelessness Prevention Programs in the FY21 Budget!

On November 5th, the House Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for FY2021. CHAPA thanks House Speaker DeLeo, Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, and other members of the Ways and Means Committee for their strong investments in affordable housing, eviction prevention, and rental assistance programs! Read more about the budget proposal on CHAPA's website.
 
Tomorrow, the House will debate and finalize its FY2021 state budget proposal. We are currently working to strengthen critical affordable housing, rental assistance and eviction prevention programs through proposed amendments to the budget.
 
Please call or email your State Representative today and ask them to co-sponsor the budget amendments below!
 
Find your State Representative’s contact information.
 
You can use this message for your call or email:
 
“Hello, I am [NAME] from [CITY or TOWN] in the Representative's district. Programs that support affordable housing and homelessness prevention are important to our community. I am requesting that the Representative support and sign on to co-sponsor the following budget amendments. [LIST THE AMENDMENTS BELOW]. Thank you.”
 
If you have any questions, please contact Eric Shupin, CHAPA’s Director of Public Policy, at eshupin@chapa.org or (617) 682-9712.
  
 

HOUSE AMENDMENTS SUPPORTED BY CHAPA

#595 - Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) (7004-9316)
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan

Rep. Honan’s amendment simplifies the RAFT program and helps expedite the application and assistance process. Specifically, the amendment:

  • Explicitly creates a temporary Eviction Diversion Initiative fund (EDI fund) in RAFT and authorizes $30 million to be used for that program to serve those households applying for RAFT because of COVID;
  • Directs the Department of Housing and Community Development to use a short, simple application with minimal processing time for the EDI fund;
  • Removes the sustainability requirement in order to qualify for the $10,000 maximum benefit to allow RAFT to be used more effectively during the ongoing pandemic when households continue to face economic insecurity;
  • Allows the self-certification of income, under pains and penalties of perjury, to streamline the application process and make it less burdensome on applicants;
  • Allows the RAFT benefit to be used more flexibly to achieve stability for as many residents and property owners as possible;
  • Allows any funds appropriated for RAFT to continue forward to ensure they are used by the program; and
  • Clarifies that the benefit for the upstream arrearage program shall be the lesser of up to four times the monthly rent or mortgage payment or the actual amount of money owed.

#479 - Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs) (7004-3036)
Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Honan

Rep. Honan’s amendment increases funding for HCECs to $4.25 million to allow regional housing agencies to increase capacity and hire additional staff to serve more people struggling to make rent and mortgage payments through RAFT and other housing assistance programs.

#350 - HomeBASE (7004-0108)
Sponsored by Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante

Rep. Ferrante’s amendment extends HomeBASE benefits to families timing out of the program who would otherwise face a return to homelessness and improves data collection on the program. The amendment makes important program improvements to better support families facing homelessness by allowing:

  • Earlier access to HomeBASE for families at imminent risk of homelessness; and
  • Families to automatically renew their HomeBASE assistance beyond 12 months if otherwise facing a return to homelessness

#40 - Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Decker

Rep. Decker’s amendment increases the state EITC to 50% of the federal EITC value. The state EITC is an effective tax credit for low-income households that increases economic mobility, reduces inequality, rewards work, and improves health.

#41 – EITC Access (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Decker

Rep. Decker’s amendments increases allows families with low income to access the state EITC based on Social Security number and Tax Identification number.