Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless' Legislative Action Day

February 28, 2019 9:30am-12:30pm

Join in at the State House for the annual Legislative Action Day on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in the Great Hall. The event will be hosted by State Representative Jim O'Day. The day will begin with check-in and light breakfast starting at 9 a.m., with the speaking program from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. In the afternoon, participants will fan out across the State House to meet with legislators and their staff.

The day will focus on advocating for key FY'20 budget priorities and 2019-2020 bill priorities, including efforts to:

  • Re-establish a statewide rental arrearage program to help households avoid homelessness by providing back rent assistance (bill and budget campaign; House Docket 2395 -- House docket links not live yet)
  • Ensure that families experiencing homelessness do not have to stay in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter and services (bill and budget campaigns; House Docket 2406)
  • Increase funding for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness (budget campaign)
  • Ease access to standard Massachusetts ID cards for people experiencing homelessness by eliminating the $25 fee and allowing alternative ways to verify Massachusetts residency without requiring a permanent address (bill and budget campaigns; see Senate Docket 667 and House Docket 1263)
  • Establish a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1952 and House Docket 2776 - PDF, as well as Senate Docket 1950, An Act relative to the safety, dignity, and civil rights of persons experiencing homelessness)
  • Improve the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC) (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1382 and House Docket 605)
  • Eliminate the so-called “family cap rule” that currently prohibits children from receiving Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC) benefits because their family was participating in the TAFDC program at the time of their conception (or shortly thereafter) (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1452 and House Docket 3043)
  • Increase monthly grant levels in the TAFDC and EAEDC programs to lift households out of deep poverty (bill campaign, see Senate Docket 1328 and House Docket 2367)
  • Strengthen the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT) and expand upstream homelessness prevention efforts (budget campaign)
  • Improve the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) by increasing funding from $100 million to $130 million (budget campaign) and make important program changes, including allowing tenants to use their subsidies in units at the current fair market rent instead of 2005 fair market rent level and establishing the program in state statute and not just the annual state budget (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 864 and House Docket 3872)
  • Increase the number of housing units created, reduce barriers to housing production, and set goals for the production of housing affordable to the lowest income households (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1640 and House Docket 3379)
  • Increase funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), and state-funded public housing (budget campaigns)
  • Establish a right to legal counsel in eviction cases (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 625)
  • Allow cities and towns to increase revenue for affordable housing by choosing to establish real estate transfer fees (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 334)

Read more on the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless website.

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