Public Policy

The Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless has a rich three-decade history as a leader in the fight to prevent and end homelessness here in the Commonwealth. The agency is steadfast in our belief that homelessness can be resolved by supplying safe, affordable, permanent housing for the lowest income households and providing opportunities for families and individuals to build economic stability. To achieve these goals, the Coalition and our members undertake campaigns in support of affordable housing, homelessness prevention, income and benefit programs, and access to education.


Current Policy Campaigns

** The Joint Conference Committee is now meeting to work out the differences between the House and Senate FY 2018 budget recommendations. Please sign our one-minute online action to your State Representative and Senator in support of key homelessness, housing, and benefits issues. See our Conference Committee budget page and fact sheet for more details.**

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You can reach your legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000, and can look up their contact information on the Legislature's website or at 
www.wheredoivotema.com.


FY'18 Budget Campaigns:

Overall FY'18 budget priority fact sheet with full list of budget priorities

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT,  line item 7004-9316): Increase funding for the RAFT homelessness prevention program;
campaign fact sheet (updated 3-16-17)

Youth and Young Adult Homelessness Line Item (line item 4000-0007): Expand housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness; campaign fact sheet (updated 3-27-17)

Emergency Assistance (EA, line item 7004-0101): Ensure that families experiencing homelessness are not required to stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing shelter; Conference Committee campaign fact sheet (updated 6-14-17); organizational endorsement formvideo testimony from Lynnette Martin, a mother from Framinghamplaces not meant for human habitation data fy 13 presentEmergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC, line item 4408-1000): Provide full grants to participants experiencing homelessness by eliminating the homelessness penalty; have your organization endorse the EAEDC budget and bill campaigns

Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP, line item 7004-9024): Restore funding to $120 million to provide increased access to housing vouchers and funds to develop housing for very low-income households; fact sheet

HomeBASE (line item 7004-0108): Increase funding to $39.2 million, allow families who are in compliance with HomeBASE requirements to renew their HomeBASE benefits at the end of the first 12 month period, if otherwise facing a return to homelessness, and allow families who have been terminated from the program to apply for benefits again after 12 months, instead of the current, excessive 24-month bar on receiving further assistance. 

Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC, line item 4403-2000): Eliminate the family cap rule that pushes TAFDC participants deeper into poverty and reject the Governor's proposal to eliminate or greatly reduce TAFDC benefits for an estimated 5,800 families headed by a parent receiving SSI benefits due to a disability; fact sheet

Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, line item 7004-9030): Increase funding to $7.5 million to serve more individuals under the age of 60 who are living with disabilities to meet their housing needs; at this funding level, the state would be able to provide 800 AHVP subsidies instead of the current 549 subsidiesfact sheet

Click here to see the Coalition's analysis of Governor Charlie Baker's FY'18 budget proposals, released on January 25, 2017.

2017-2018 Bill Campaigns:
  • The Coalition's 2017-2018 bill priority webpage
  • Overview fact sheet on bill priorities (PDF) and web version
  • Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) bill: An Act relative to assisting elders and people with disabilities in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Jim O'Day (House Bill 2077) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (Senate Bill 2039); fact sheet (updated 4-6-17);  have your organization endorse the EAEDC budget and bill campaigns
  • Bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness: An Act providing a homeless bill of rights, filed by Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (House Bill 695) and An Act creating a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness, filed by Senator Linda Dorcena Forry (Senate Bill 46); fact sheet (updated 6-14-17)
  • Homelessness prevention bill to create a rental arrearage program for families, individuals, and unaccompanied youth, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 84); fact sheet
  • Bill to ensure that families experiencing homelessness are not required to stay in places not meant for human habitation before accessing shelter, filed by Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 659); fact sheet
  • Bill to protect families with children who are being evicted from subsidized housing or terminated from shelter from having to stay in places not meant for human habitation: An Act to end child homelessness, filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 115)
  • No Place Like Home bill: An Act to prevent homelessness among recipients of transitional assistance, filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 114)
  • Bill to eliminate fees and reduce barriers to accessing Massachusetts identification cards by people experiencing homelessness: An Act To Provide Identification to Homeless Youth and Families, filed by Senator Harriette Chandler (Senate Bill 1906) and Representative Kay Khan (House Bill 2737); fact sheet
  • Bill to eliminate the family cap rule in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program: An Act relative to the well-being and care of a child,  filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (Senate Bill 34) and Representative Marjorie Decker (House Bill 85); fact sheet
  • Bill to put the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program in state statute: An Act relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge (Senate Bill 719)
More details on the Coalition's 2017-2018 bill campaigns are on this page.
Legislative Action Day 2017

* Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2017 Legislative Action Day event on Monday, February 27th. Click here for more details. *

Past Policy Campaigns 

For a longer list, see http://www.mahomeless.org/advocacy/item/past-policy-campaigns

Information on the Coalition's FY'17 Budget Campaigns 
Please follow these links to sections on our website with more details on the FY'17 budget process:

Overall FY'17 budget priority fact sheet (updated 5-6-16), including the Coalition's requests for line items such as Emergency Assistance, HomeBASE, youth homelessness, RAFT, Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, EAEDC, etc.

Expanding the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT, line item 7004-9316) homelessness prevention program: Campaign fact sheet (updated 4-21-16); downloadable organizational endorsement formonline organizational endorsementtestimony from Susan O. in support of the RAFT expansion

Providing $4 million for housing and services for unaccompanied youth who are experiencing homelessness: Campaign fact sheetcurrent organizational endorser list (as of 4-15-16); campaign endorsement formmore information about youth homelessness and the work of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth

Provide Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter and resources to families expreriencing homelessness before they have to stay in places not meant for human habitation: Campaign fact sheetsupplemental budget campaign fall 2016/winter 2017

Increasing funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP, line item 7004-9030): Campaign fact sheet

Maintaining TAFDC benefits for families with disabilities: Campaign fact sheet

  • The Baker Administration plans to start counting SSI benefits when calculating welfare benefits for families in the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC). The proposal, announced at the same time as the Governor's FY'17 budget recommendations were released, would lead to an estimated 6,900 families with children losing their TAFDC benefits completely, and another 1,600 families facing drastic cuts to their benefits. Such a policy would have dramatic impacts on the quality of life for those families (all of which have at least one member with a severe disability) and on the rates of homelessness and housing insecurity. Join with us in speaking up against this proposal!

Check back frequently for updates and additional campaign information.

Information on the Coalition's 2015-2016 Bill Campaigns 
  • Overall bill priority fact sheet (updated 2-26-16)
  • Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) bill: An Act relative to assisting elders and people with disabilities in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Jim O'Day and lead Senate sponsor Senator Patricia Jehlen (House Bill 529): Fact sheet (updated 4-8-16), legislative page; infographic; status: House Bill 529 was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means on December 10, 2015. The bill remains in House Ways and Means. The Coalition is working to move forward elements of the bill during informal legislative sessions, which will run from August 2016-January 2017.
    • Sign the Coalition’s one-minute online EAEDC action, which will send an electronic letter to your State Representative and State Senator in support of House Bill 529.
    • To participate in our Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC) bill campaign, please click here for the endorsement form (PDF), an online fillable endorsement form, and an EAEDC data fact sheetFor more information, please contact Sr. Linda Bessom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 781-595-7570 x18.
  • Bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness: An Act providing a homeless bill of rights, filed by Representative William Smitty Pignatelli (House Bill 1129): Fact sheet (updated 4-8-16), legislative pageflyer for 7-28-15 bill hearing at the State House; Rep. Pignatelli's December 2016 legislative sign-on letter text; status: House Bill 1129 was reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Housing and sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means on December 17, 2015. The bill remains in House Ways and Means. The Coalition is working to move the bill forward during informal legislative sessions, which will run from August 2016-January 2017.
  • Bill to protect families with children who are being evicted from subsidized housing or terminated from shelter from having to stay in places not meant for human habitation: Filed by Representative Denise Provost (House Bill 119): Legislative page; status: The bill was heard by the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities on October 20, 2015, where it is awaiting further action.
  • Sample of the Coalition's letter to legislators to request co-sponsorship of these three bills
  • The Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children bill: An Act relative to ensuring the well-being of all children in the Commonwealth, filed by Representative Jay Livingstone (House Bill 429) and Senator Mark Montigny (Senate Bill 94): Fact sheet from the Healthy Food, Healthy Homes, Healthy Children Coalition; legislative pages for House Bill 429 and Senate Bill 94; status: The bill initially was assigned to the Joint Committee on Education, and then was sent to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. That committee heard the bill on October 20, 2015, and the bill is awaiting further action.