Senate Passes FY2020 State Supplemental Budget with $20 Million for RAFT

On July 2, the State Senate passed its FY2020 COVID-19 response supplemental budget (S.2789). Click here for a summary of the affordable housing related provisions of the Senate budget.

The Senate budget aligns closely with the budget that the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed on June 25 (H.4808).

The Senate budget directs millions in funding to critical programs to support affordable and public housing, emergency rental assistance, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention. It also expands Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and creates a COVID-19 response program within RAFT, with expanded benefits for households impacted by the virus.

S.2789 also authorizes any unexpended funds from FY2020 to continue into FY2021, which began on July 1, for rental assistance programs and the family emergency shelter system. This will allow these programs do keep millions of dollars in funding. 

Specifically, the Senate budget directs:

  • $13.5 million for local housing authorities (7004-9005)
  • $2.5 million for family and individual shelters (7004-0101 & 7004-0102)
  • $85 million for field hospitals and shelters
  • $8 million for family and individual shelters (7004-0101 & 7004-0102)
  • $20 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) (7004-9316) to support a COVID-19 RAFT Response (CRR) program. The CRR program:
    • Allows households to receive up to $10,000 in assistance
    • Directs 33% of CRR funds to extremely low-income households
    • Directs 50% of funds to be prioritized to those families most likely to require family shelter services (7004-0101)
  • $1.5 million for Housing Consumer Education Centers (7004-3036)
  • $5.8 million for Permanent Supportive Housing (7004-0104)
  • $1 million for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth (4000-0007)

S.2789 allows unexpended funds from FY2020 to carry over into FY2021 for:

  • Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) (7004-9024)
  • Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP) (7004-9030)
  • Emergency Assistance – Family Shelters (7004-0101)

The House budget also includes all the authorizations listed above.

The House must now vote to accept the Senate budget or work out another agreement with the Senate to pass a final budget before sending it to the Governor.