Public PolicyThe 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, income and benefit programs, access to education, and emergency shelter.
* Our 2017 Legislative Action Day event is scheduled for Monday, February 27th. Click here for more details.
* We are continuing to work to ensure that the state provides Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter and resources to families expreriencing homelessness before they have to stay in places not meant for human habitation: supplemental budget campaign fall 2016/winter 2017. Please join us by reaching out to your State Representative and Senator in support of including key language in the pending supplemental budget, as described in the fact sheet linked above and here. You can reach your legislators by calling the State House switchboard at 617-722-2000, and can look up their contact information on www.wheredoivotema.com.
Current Policy Campaigns
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.
- 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 page; flyer for 7-28-15 bill hearing at the State House; 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.
- Sign the Coalition’s one-minute online bill of rights action, which will send an electronic letter to your State Representative and State Senator in support of House Bill 1129.
- To participate in our bill of rights campaign, please click here for the endorsement form (PDF) and an online fillable endorsement form. For more information, please contact Kelly Turley at email@example.com or 781-595-7570 x17.
- 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.
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 form; online organizational endorsement; testimony 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 sheet; current organizational endorser list (as of 4-15-16); campaign endorsement form; more 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 sheet; supplemental 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.
Fall 2015 Supplemental Budget Campaign:
- Stand Up with Families without Homes: Ask Your Legislators to Oppose Family Shelter Access Restrictions in the Supplemental Budget: Action alert, 9-10-15 web version and PDF version; fact sheet for you; fact sheet to share with your legislators
Past Campaigns: Information on the Coalition's FY'16 Budget Campaigns
- Veto override campaign letter to Legislative Leadership to restore funding for housing/services for unaccompanied youth and for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (7-17-15); press release (7-22-15); email to Legislators (7-23-15)
Conference Committee budget outcomes (7-8-15)
Housing and services for unaccompanied youth (updated 5-7-15)
Transitional Aid to Families with Dependment Children program (TAFDC) House budget amendment fact sheet
To read our analysis of Governor Baker's FY'16 budget proposal, which was released on March 4, 2015, please click here.