July 30, 2018
Thank you for all of your work to ensure that the FY'19 budget strongly supports people experiencing homelessness and housing instability!
There are many victories to celebrate, including increased funding to address youth and young adult homelessness; more funds to prevent homelessness among families with children as well as elders, youth, and people with disabilities; the elimination of the homelessness penalty in the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC), and increased funds for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), to name just a few.
The chart with our full list of priorities and outcomes is here
For the final two days of the session, we have three requests for you:
- Please override the Governor's veto related to Emergency Assistance family shelter and services (EA, via the Department of Housing and Community Development administrative line item, 7004-0099).
- Please reject language changes to budget language that would lift the cap on kids in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000 and outside sections).
- Make sure that DHCD has sufficient staff available to accept in-person EA application in the 10 cities and towns where DHCD had staff as of January 1, 2018
- Allow DHCD to accept in-person applications in additional cities and towns that are geographically convenient for families experiencing homelessness
- Require DHCD to report to House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means on their plans, financially and operationally, for maintaining these local offices and on any plans to increase the use of phones in the EA application process
The Governor also vetoed language and issued outside section amendments related to lifting the family cap rule in TAFDC, trying to tie lifting the family cap with a terrible proposal to count the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of adults with disabilities when calculating TAFDC benefits-- adults with disabilities so severe that they qualify for federal benefits.
As with previous iterations of this proposal, this change would leave thousands of children and families without TAFDC assistance or with dramatically reduced grants.
TAFDC veto text
outside section amendments
Please reject these changes, and lift the cap on kids without harming families headed by a parent with disabilities.
Easing Access to Mass IDs for People Experiencing Homelessness:
Obtaining a state identification card is a critical first step for youth and adults experiencing homelessness to accomplish typical life tasks and access opportunities. ID is required for a broad range of life activities, such as applying for jobs, enrolling in education programs, getting a library card, picking up a package from the post office, opening financial accounts, entering certain government buildings (such as One Ashburton), accessing services, and interacting with law enforcement. Please take action before the session ends to make these commonsense, low-cost changes to RMV practices.
Thank you for your collaboration!