Our Budget Priorities for the fiscal year 2018 State Budget (July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018). The Mass. Legislature reviews, debates, and votes on the budget from January thru June 2017.
Mass. Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) – long term housing stability. MRVP is the most effective tool to immediately help families who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness to secure housing they can afford. MRVP provides affordable housing vouchers for families and individuals experiencing housing instability. $120M will increase the number of vouchers available; help preserve housing developments; make programmatic fixes that will make vouchers more usable; and help tenants be more stable in their housing. Funding MRVP at $120M will also restore the program to its 1990 level when the combined state and Chapter 707 programs funded more than double the number of vouchers funded today.
MRVP Funding Request: $120.0 million Budget line item: 7004-9024
Public Housing Operating Subsidies – supports 45,600 state-sponsored public housing units. Years of underfunding have left many housing authorities struggling to operate and keep units in good repair. The additional $7.5M will help provide up to 6% increase in local housing authority budgets to help operate and preserve this valuable resource.
Public Housing Funding Request: $72 million Budget line item: 7004-9005
Residential Assistance for Families in Transition. RAFT is our primary homelessness prevention program. It provides help to at-risk families , to remain housed. RAFT provides assistance of up to $4000 in a twelve month period to help families to avoid or exit homelessness by paying security deposits, first and last months rent, moving expenses, rent, utility and mortgage arrears and other housing related expenses. With $18.5M, an estimated 6016 households would be able to receive immediate resources to prevent homelessness.
RAFT Funding Request: $18.5 million. Budget line item 7004-9316
Emergency Assistance Family Shelter and Services. Adequately fund and protect family emergency shelter and service programs for all eligible families, the “Safety Net”. After inclusion of the Supplemental Budget, it is estimated that spending will total $178.9M for FY17. The Governor’s Budget has requested $164.7M for FY18. However, hundreds of eligible families applying for shelter have been required to sleep elsewhere. As in years past, we urge the Legislature to include language to provide shelter to families at “imminent risk of staying in a place not meant for human habitation”. For the period July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, 628 families with children who were otherwise eligible for shelter, had to stay in open and unsafe places before being approved for shelter. In the first four months of FY 2017 it was 269 families. This corresponds to about 19% of all families approved, an average of 57 families/month.
EA Funding Request: $180 million. And POLICY LANGUAGE CHANGE. Budget Line Item 7004-0101
HomeBASE, Massachusetts Short Term Housing Transition Program. HomeBASE offers household and moving assistance to help families already in the EA program to exit shelter and for others to avoid the need to enter shelter (diversion) by allowing them to stay in their homes, move to new housing, or live with another family. We also ask that the pilot program of FY17 be continued for those families eligible for shelter in domestic violence and substance abuse shelters.
HomeBASE Funding Request: $39.2 million. Budget Line Item 7004-0108
Housing Preservation & Stabilization Trust Fund (HPSTF). HPSTF provides a flexible tool for funding affordable housing particularly for those most at risk of becoming homeless. Since its creation, HPSTF has helped to build supportive housing for veterans, the elderly, and disabled; supplemented HomeBASE to help more families avoid or exit homeless shelters; and has provided funding for the Secure Jobs initiative to connect low-income families with job training services.
HPSTF Funding Request: $3 million.
Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) Youth Homelessness Program . We can address the needs of unaccompanied youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness by increasing funding to $4M for housing and support services.
EOHHS Youth Homelessness Funding Request: $4 million. Budget Line Item 4000-0007