August 2, 2023
We are writing today to share two important State House updates with you.
The FY24 state budget is on the Governor's desk
On Sunday night, the FY24 Budget Conference Committee* released its recommendations for the fiscal year that began back on July 1st. On Monday afternoon, the House and Senate voted to adopt the Conference Committee recommendations (156–2 in the House and 39–0 in the Senate). The budget, House Bill 4040, is now on Governor Healey's desk. She has until August 10th to sign the budget and issue vetoes.
Thank you for all of your advocacy over the past six months to ensure that housing, homelessness prevention, and benefits programs were top priorities for the Legislature!
We are thrilled to report that this budget includes many key priorities, such as:
Language to restore the Chapter 257 eviction protections for renters with pending applications for emergency rental assistance and to make the protections permanent. The previous Chapter 257 protections expired on March 31, 2023. (Outside Section 64)
- The expansion and improvement of HomeBASE rehousing benefits for families with children (Line Item 7004-0108)
- Includes House language to increase the HomeBASE cap to $30,000 over 24 months and to allow eligible families to renew HomeBASE benefits in 12-month increments beyond the first 24 months
Also includes a $2.5 million earmark and language similar to language initially proposed by the Senate to give the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities the flexibility to provide additional resources to families beyond the general cap
- Increased funding for key programs such as Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT, Line Item 7004-9316), Emergency Assistance family shelter and services (EA, Line Item 7004-0101), housing and supports for unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness (Line Item 4000-0007), the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, Line Item 7004-9024), the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, Line Item 7004-9030), state-funded public housing operating subsidies (Line Item 7004-9005), and the Home and Healthy for Good Program for unaccompanied adults (Line Item 7004-0104)
- Increased monthly cash assistance benefits for participants in the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC, Line Item 4408-1000) and Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, Line Item 4403-2000) programs starting in April 2024
See our budget chart for more details: https://tinyurl.com/mchfy24
Take action on the FY24 budget!
We have two action steps for you today.
First, please thank your State Representative and your State Senator for supporting a strong FY24 budget on housing, homelessness prevention, and benefits issues.The full contact information for each legislator is included on the Legislature’s website. Unsure who your legislator is? Find them by entering your address or the address where you are staying here: www.wheredoivotema.com or by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000. After reaching out, let us know you took action and share any feedback by emailing Kelly.
Second, please contact Governor Healey to encourage to sign the budget into law swiftly, retaining key housing and homelessness provisions. You can reach her Constituent Services staff by calling 888-870-7770 (toll-free) or 617-727-3666 (TTY) or by sending an electronic message through this online form.
The Senate unanimously passed the Everyone Needs ID Mass ID access bill
Last Thursday, the Senate quickly moved to vote on the Senate version of the Everyone Needs ID Mass ID access bill, Senate Bill 2251: An Act to provide identification to youth and adults experiencing homelessness. This bill, filed by Senator Robyn Kennedy, received unanimous approval in the Senate, with a 38-0 vote. The bill was sent on Monday to the House Committee on Ways and Means, where it awaits action. Check out and share our latest fact sheet on the bill.
Thank you for partnering with us to create a state budget and state policies that promote housing access, equity, and economic stability!
Kelly and Julia
Community Organizer/Legislative Advocate
P.S. Stay up to date with the Coalition’s advocacy initiatives by following us on social media: Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. (Links also included at the top of this message.)
* The six budget conferees were Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues, Senate Ways and Means Vice Chair Cindy Friedman, Senate Ways and Means Ranking Minority Member Patrick O’Connor, House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, House Ways and Means Vice Chair Ann-Margaret Ferrante, and House Ways and Means Ranking Minority Member Todd Smola.