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November 25, 2014  

A Note of Gratitude This Thanksgiving and Simple Actions You Can Take to Help Youth, Families, and Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

 
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This Thanksgiving, the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless is especially grateful for you and for all of our supporters! We know that there is much work ahead of us on the road toward reaching our goal of ensuring that everyone in the Commonwealth has a safe and permanent place to call home. At the same time, we also recognize that much of the progress that has been made to protect and expand housing, homelessness prevention, and safety net programs for people at risk and experiencing homelessness is due to the advocacy, solidarity, and actions of you and people like you-- advocates, providers, people who have experienced homelessness, faith community members, students, and concerned citizens. Your willingness to speak up, roll up your sleeves, donate, and engage others is invaluable to us. We look forward to continuing to partner with you this holiday season and in the year ahead.

We also wanted to take this opportunity to share with you four easy ways you can support the work of the Coalition in the next few weeks. See below for more details.

Thank you for your continued support and solidarity!

With gratitude,
Kelly Turley

Director of Legislative Advocacy

kelly@mahomeless.org    

781-595-7570 x17   

 

  

1. Keep Up the Pressure to Push for Passage of the Unaccompanied Youth Homelessness Bill, House Bill 4517!

Thank you to everyone who participated in last week's "Youth Without Homes Can't Wait" call-in day to the Chair of the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading, State Representative Ted Speliotis and to your own State Representatives and Senators. We have heard from Chairman Speliotis' office that they received a lot of calls in support of the bill, House Bill 4517 (an updated fact sheet can be found here). We will be sitting down with the Chairman next week, so if you didn't get a chance to make your calls yet, please do so before next Wednesday. 

Here are some details to help you with your calls. Please call:
  1. Rep. Ted Speliotis, Chair of the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading, asking him and his committee to give House Bill 4517 a swift and favorable report. His office can be reached at 617-722-2410.
  2. Your State Representative, asking her or him to weigh in with Rep. Speliotis and House Leadership in support of the unaccompanied youth homelessness bill, House Bill 4517.
  3. Your State Senator, asking her or him to weigh in with Senate Leadership in support of the unaccompanied youth homelessness bill, House Bill 4517.
 
2. Support Families in the Emergency Assistance Program: Ask Your State Senator to Sign onto Senator Barrett's Letter to DHCD

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is looking to implement new rules within the Emergency Assistance family shelter program that would lead to the termination of families after three rules violations. Until last year, families in shelter placements were allowed 6 rule violations and families in motel placements only were allowed two. In response to a lawsuit brought by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) regarding the disparate treatment of families in motels, DHCD had temporarily set the standard to six rules violations in both settings, but is going through the formal process to move that number down to three. 

MLRI and State Senator Michael Barrett of Lexington have been leading the way to get DHCD to compromise at allowing four rules violations. As we know that the stakes are so high for children and families who are terminated from shelter and that very few non-EA resources are available to these families who are terminated, we believe that this would be a reasonable compromise, especially given that many of the rule violations are for very minor offenses.

In support of this request to DHCD, Senator Barrett is circulating a sign-on letter among his Senate colleagues that is addressed to DHCD Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. Please ask your State Senator to sign onto this letter on or before Monday, December 1st by contacting Rosalie Fazio in Senator Barrett's office at 617-722-1572 or rosalie.fazio@masenate.gov.


To find out your State Senator's contact information, please click here or call the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000. 

3. Raise Funds to Support the Coalition's Holiday Toy Drive by Participating in Constant Contact's #SmallBizSelfie Campaign

Starting this Friday and continuing through next Friday, December 5th, you can support the work of the Coalition by posting a picture of yourself at a small business with the hashtag #SmallBizSelfie on Twitter or Instagram. For each public post, Constant Contact will add your picture to their album and donate $5 to support the Coalition's Holiday Toy Drive. The toys will be distributed through the Coalition and our partner agencies to children and youth who are experiencing homelessness and living in poverty.

For more details, please read Constant Contact's blog post: http://blogs.constantcontact.com/fresh-insights/small-business-selfie/  

4. Donate to the Coalition on #GivingTuesday 

In the week ahead, there is Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday... and then Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is a global day to support your favorite nonprofits, such as the Coalition, and to celebrate generosity. You can donate directly to the Coalition by clicking here and help increase your impact by letting your friends know, too, by using @mahomeless and #GivingTuesday in your social media posts.


Thank you and best wishes for a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


mchalert
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless