Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless FY'21 budget priorities + outcomes
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Last updated February 24, 2020
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Line ItemName of Program/ DescriptionCoalition's FY'21 Budget RequestsFY'20 General Appropriations Act Budget + Any Supplemental FundsGovernor's House 2 Budget Proposals for FY'21 (Released January 22, 2020)*Governor's Budget Notes for FY'21 House Ways and Means FY'21 Budget (HWM, anticipated April 2020) Final House BudgetSenate Ways and Means FY'21 Budget (SWM, anticipated May 2020)Final Senate BudgetCoalition's FY'21 Conference Committee (CC) RequestsConference Committee/Final Legislative FY'21 Budget FundingGovernor's Signing/Vetoes to the FY'21 General Appropriations Act (GAA)
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https://budget.digital.mass.gov/bb/gaa/fy2020/index.html
https://budget.digital.mass.gov/govbudget/fy21/downloads
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7004-9316Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT)At least $27,000,000, including not less than $7,000,000 for Upstream RAFT homelessness prevention resources to households that have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments but are not yet in the eviction or foreclosure process; continue to require that no less than $3 million be used to serve households under the expanded definition of family so that elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and other households without minor children can access RAFT; direct funding of RAFT through the state's operating budget for greater transparency; detailed tracking and reporting on households applying, approved, denied, and funding uses; increased per household cap, in light of high housing costs; clarifying language that Upstream RAFT payments can be made for up to 4 months of back rent or back mortgage payments, even if the amount exceeds the cap in effect for Traditional RAFT (currently $4,000/household); raise the overall cap for RAFT$21,000,000 in initial appropriations in July 2019 (through the line item and the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund) plus $2.03 million in additional funds for the Upstream RAFT program through the December 2019 supplemental budget (Total available for FY'20 = $23.03 million)$13,642,337 in direct appropriations, plus $7.35 million in additional funds that were not expressly detailed in the budget document; $21 million totalH.2 budget includes note: "Decreased funding to move budgeted spending off of the operating budget." For FY'21. the Department of Housing and Community Development has indicated it would use $7.35 million from the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund for RAFT, which would bring the available funding up to $21 million. The Governor also would provide no more than $3 million to households under the expanded definition of family (households without dependents under the age of 21), while current language requires DHCD to provide no less than $3,000,000 to households under the expanded definition of family. The Governor would remove the requirement for quarterly tracking and reporting.
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7004-0101Emergency Assistance Family Shelters and Services (EA)$185,000,000 or adequate funding; continue to include language from the FY’20 budget to provide shelter to otherwise eligible families who are at imminent risk of staying in a place not meant for human habitation, and further guidance and oversight to ensure that this language is implemented properly in FY’21; continue to allow families to maintain EA eligibility until they reach 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (while also maintaining the over-income grace period); maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 90-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility. In addition, we are working to establish funding to create an ombudsperson unit to have dedicated staff address issues and concerns from families applying for and participating in the EA program. We also are working to maintain language in the related DHCD administrative line item (7004-0099) to maintain access to in-person applications for families seeking shelter. Language in the FY'20 budget requires DHCD to take applications in the 10 cities and towns where DHCD had staff as of January 1, 2019 and to maintain adequate staffing levels, and prohibits DHCD from shifting to a remote-access only system, in which families would have to use a phone, computer, or other technology to apply or otherwise forego applying.$178,731,886, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation plus key legislative language to ensure that families can access shetler without having to prove that they already have stayed in places not meant for human habitation. The budget also includes language to direct at least $4,000,000 to create and/or modify shelter spaces to better meet the needs of families with disabilities. $184,441,934H.2 includes language regarding otherwise eligible families being able to receive EA shelter without having to prove that they already have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation, but similar language has not been fully implemented in FY'20 by DHCD. We are continuing to push for full implementation. The Governor would remove tracking and reporting language and the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 90-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility, as well as the language in 7004-0099 requiring DHCD to maintain access to in-person application sites for families seeking shelter, and to maintain adequate staffing levels. H.2 would continue efforts to expand efforts to create and/or modify shelter spaces to better meet the needs of families with disabilities. According to the Executive Summary**, $2.2 million would be used for this effort.
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4000-0007Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness$8,000,000 to provide increased housing and wraparound services to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability through the 10 regional agencies initially selected in FY'19 to administer the program$5,000,000, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation$5,000,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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7004-9024Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP)$135,000,000 to increase the number of subsidies to tenants and developers and increase the value of MRVP subsidies to better match current fair market rents; exact request TBA in collaboration with the Housing Solutions Campaign$116 million in combined funds: $110,000,000 in direct FY'20 appropriations, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation plus legislative language on updating the allowable monthly rent levels to match current fair market rents for mobile subsidies issued or leased after August 1, 2019 and carrying over up to $6,000,000 in unspent FY'19 funds$112,167,549 in direct appropriations, plus an estimated $7.83 million in additional funds from outside the operating budget; $120 million totalThe Executive Summary** indicates that $120 million would be made available for MRVP. At $120 million in FY'21, DHCD estimates that 9,427 households could be served. The H.2 budget notes that anticipated FY'20 MRVP spending will be $107,511,578.
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4408-1000Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children Program (EAEDC)Increase funding to raise the asset limit from $250/person to $2,500, plus provide adequate funding based on caseload projections; maintain FY'20 budget language to provide full grants to program participants while they are experiencing homelessness, instead of imposing the previous homelessness penalty; maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 75-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility. Based on data from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) covering July 2018-October 2019 on the number of households denied or terminated from EAEDC, and taking into consideration that some households do not start and/or complete applications due to the low asset limit, we estimate that increasing the asset limit would cost less than $100,000/year.$76,329,458, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation$74,059,553H.2 retains language to ensure that participants experiencing homelessness can receive full grants. The Governor would remove the 75-day advanced notice language and did not include language to increase the asset limit. Legislation to increase the asset limit, increase grants, and make other critical changes to EAEDC still is pending in the Legislature. See Senate Bill 356*** and House Bill 621****.
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4403-2000Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children Grant Payments (TAFDC)Adequate funding based on caseload projections; maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 75-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility; maintain the $350/child annual clothing allowance and increase the standard of need in the month(s) the clothing allowance is issued so as to benefit more low-income households; maintain the elimination of the family cap rule and the removal of the homelessness penalty$204,455,227, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation; there is a pending FY'20 supplemental budget request for TAFDC as of February 2020$218,519,830The Governor would provide increased funding for TAFDC, based on the higher number of participants since the repeal of the family cap rule in 2019, but would not increase monthly grants to program participants. H.2 retains the $350 annual clothing allowance, but splits it into two allocations: $175 in September and $175 in March. H.2 does not include the clothing allowance in the standard of need, though, which would limit access to the clothing allowance by families normally just above the TAFDC income threshold. H.2 removes the 75-day advanced notice language, and the explicit repeal of the homelessness penalty (a.k.a. in-kind shelter deduction).
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7004-9030Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP)$12,000,000$8,000,000, as recommended by the Legislature$7,400,000, with $5.1 million in direct appropriationsH.2 budget includes note: "Decreased funding to move budgeted spending off of the operating budget." The Executive Summary** indicates that the total spending would be $7.4 million.
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7004-9005Subsidies to Public Housing Authorities$78,000,000$72,000,000, as recommended by the Legislature$72,000,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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7004-9007Public Housing Reform$1,000,000$1,000,000, as recommended by the Legislature$1,000,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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7004-0104Home and Healthy for Good Program$3,390,000$2,890,000, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation$2,890,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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7004-0108HomeBASE$28,000,000 or adequate funding based on caseload projections.$25,825,000, as recommended by the Legislature$27,158,178H.2 would increase funding available for the program, while leaving the maximum benefit per family at $10,000/year. The Governor would remove the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility, and remove language on tracking and reporting on the program to the Legislature. H.2 still would provide HomeBASE benefits to some survivors of domestic violence, but does not earmark a set level of funding.
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7004-0102Shelter and Services for Adults Experiencing Homelessness$58,000,000$53,355,000, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation$53,355,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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7035-0008Transportation for Students Experiencing HomelessnessAt least $11,099,500$11,099,500, matching the Legislature's funding recommendation$11,099,500Would match the FY'20 appropriation; only would provide partial reimbursement to cities and towns
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7004-0202Rapid Rehousing for Individuals$5,000,000$5,000,000, as recommended by the Legislature$4,880,148H.2 budget includes note: "Eliminated FY'20 one-time costs." The Executive Summary** notes that in FY'19, this program helped 1,545 adults exit shelter for housing, and helped 726 avoid entering shelter.
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7004-3045Tenancy Preservation Program (TPP)$1,800,000$1,300,000, as recommended by the Legislature$1,300,000Would match the FY'20 appropriation
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1595-6368Funding within the Massachusetts Transportation Trust FundInclude funds in the line item to provide free Mass IDs to people experiencing homelessnessn/a$0Not included; legislation to ease cost and verification burdens to accessing standard Mass IDs for people experiencing homelessness still is pending in the Legislature; see Senate Bill 2043*****and House Bill 3066******
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* Total budget recommendations = $44.6 billion under all categories of spending, as compared to $43.3 billion in the FY'20 General Appropriations Act from July 2019
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** Executive Summary: https://budget.digital.mass.gov/govbudget/fy21/static/fy2021h2_tab1-6b2143d5b48704c2bf701b3a0f6734f1.pdf\\\\\\
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*** Senate Bill 356: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S356/
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**** House Bill 621: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H621
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***** Senate Bill 2043: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2043
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****** House Bill 3066: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H3066
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