Action Alert: Ask Your State Senator to Help Strengthen Affordable Housing & Homelessness Prevention Programs in the FY19 Budget!

On May 10th, the Massachusetts Senate 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 Senator 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 Senator'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 Senator’s district. Programs that support affordable housing and homelessness prevention are important to me.  I am requesting that the Senator 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 eshupin@chapa.org or (617) 742-0820 x103.

 
For more materials on CHAPA’s priorities in the state budget, please click here.
 


#777 - Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) (7004-9024)
Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Boncore
Sen. Joseph Boncore’s amendment increases funding to $120 million and makes the following important improvements to increase MRVP’s effectiveness:
  • Makes MRVP more usable by using current fair market rent standards;
  • Gets vouchers out faster by mandating a date by which DHCD issues new vouchers in FY19; and
  • Directs 75% of new vouchers to households with extremely low incomes. 

#683 - Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) (7004-9030)
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’s amendment increases funding for AHVP to $7.7 million, to provide additional rental vouchers for low-income households with persons with disabilities.

#741 - Public Housing Operating Subsidy (7004-9005)
Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Boncore
Sen. Boncore’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. Public housing provides affordable homes for seniors, persons with disabilities, and families with low incomes.
 
#680 - Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) (7004-9316) 
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’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.
 
#723 - HomeBASE (7004-0108)
Sponsored by Sen. Brendan Crighton
Sen. Crighton’s amendment helps families maintain housing stability after their HomeBASE assistance ends through the following program changes:

  • Allows for households to renew assistance without going through the eviction process when their incomes are insufficient to maintain their tenancies. 
  • Ensures access to further assistance when families who have used HomeBASE can no longer afford their homes and are evicted through no fault of their own.
  • Increases funding to $35 million to cover the estimated costs of renewals. 

#684 - Foreclosure Prevention & Counseling (7006-0011)
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’s amendment increases Foreclosure Prevention funding to $3.65 million​ to support foreclosure prevention and housing counseling across the Commonwealth.
 
#791 - Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP) (7004-3045)
Sponsored by Sen. Julian Cyr
Sen. Cyr’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.
 
#726 - Home and Healthy For Good (7004-0104)
Sponsored by Sen. Paul Feeney
Sen. Feeney’s amendment increases funding for the program to $2.34 million for housing and supportive services for chronically homeless individuals through a housing first model that is less costly and more effective than managing residents’ homelessness and health problems on the street or in shelter.
 
#697 - New Lease for Homeless Families (7004-0106)
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’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.
 
#797 - Economic Mobility Commission (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’s amendment establishes a commission to study the numerous self-sufficiency programs operating in Massachusetts to identify program components that help participants increase their incomes and become more stable in their housing. The commission will also study "cliff effects" and provide policy recommendations to ensure people increase their housing stability and economic mobility as their incomes increase, rather than being worse off as benefit programs decrease or end and their incomes aren't enough to make ends meet.
 
#775 - Tenant Elections (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Sen. Joseph Boncore
Sen. Boncore’s amendment establishes a process to implement tenant seats on local housing authority boards that was passed by the Legislature as part of public housing reform and signed into law in 2014. This amendment creates a procedure for tenant board members in towns to be appointed by the town administrator from a list of tenant names submitted by a tenant organization at the L​ocal ​H​ousing ​A​uthority​.
 
#14 – Earned Income Tax Credit (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Sen. Jamie Eldridge
Sen. Eldridge’s amendment increases the state EITC to 50% of the federal EITC value. The state EITC is an effective and efficient tax credit that improves health, rewards work, increases economic mobility, and reduces inequality.
 
#3 – Community Preservation Act (Outside Section)
Sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Creem
Sen. Creem’s amendment adjusts recording fees at the state’s Registries of Deeds to provide a higher distribution from the Community Preservation Trust Fund to communities that have enacted CPA. This will help sustain CPA for the benefit of all these communities as a resource that builds affordable housing and create jobs.