Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless FY'20 budget priorities + outcomes
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Last updated April 16, 2019; shareable link: https://tinyurl.com/mchfy20
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Line ItemName of Program/Description FY'19 Current Budget Coalition's FY'20 Budget RequestGovernor's FY'20 Budget ("House 1", released January 23, 2019)Governor's Budget Notes House Ways and Means FY'20 Budget (HWM, released April 10, 2019) House Budget Amendment and Debate Notes Final House Budget: Anticipated in late April 2019 Final House Budget Notes Senate Ways and Means FY'20 Budget: Anticipated in early May 2019Final Senate Budget: Anticipated in late May 2019Final Senate Budget Notes Coalition's FY'20 Conference Committee (CC) Funding Request Coalition's Conference Committee RequestsConference Committee/Final Legislative FY'20 Budget Funding: Anticipated July 2019Conference Committee/Final Legislative Budget NotesGovernor's Signing/Veotes to the FY'20 General Appropriations Act (GAA): Anticipated July 2019Veto Overrides: Anticipated Summer/Fall 2019
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https://tinyurl.com/mchfy20https://budget.digital.mass.gov/bb/h1/fy20h1/index.html https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2020/HouseWaysMeansBudget/Ways_Means_Final_Budget
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7004-9316Residential Assistance for Families in Transition$20,000,000$27,000,000, including $7,000,000 to begin to provide upstream 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 include the expanded definition of family so that elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and other households without minor children can access RAFT$15,274,232In addition to the almost $15.3 million recommended in this line item, the Administration recommended making $4,725,768 available to RAFT through the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund. The combination of funding proposed for FY'20 would match the FY'19 appropriation of $20 million. $20,000,000; would provide a direct appropriation of $15,274,232, with language that an additional $4,725,768 would be provided through the Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund; does not include language or funding to begin to provide upstream homelessness prevention resources to households that have fallen behind on rent or mortgage payments but are not yet in the eviction or foreclosure process; would continue to include the expanded definition of family so that elders, people with disabilities, unaccompanied youth, and other households without minor children can access RAFT; would provide no less than $3,000,000 to households under the expanded definition of family We strongly support Representative Marjorie Decker's rent arrearage amendment to add $7 million and language to the RAFT line item, Amendment #1127. Amendment text: ...move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7004-9316, after line 36, the following: “; provided further, the department shall expend up to $7,000,000 under this line item to provide rental and mortgage arrearage assistance to otherwise eligible households that are at risk of eviction or foreclosure within the next 12 months; provided further, for the purposes of this pilot program, to receive cash benefits or other services, it is not necessary for a household to be subject to summary process under chapter 239, and risk of eviction or foreclosure may be determined by certified statements from the landlord or mortgage holder, and the applicant household verifying outstanding rent or mortgage and the household’s current inability to pay said fees; provided further, services and cash benefits under the arrearage pilot program shall be made available to households for the prevention of the loss of subsidized or unsubsidized housing; provided further, cash benefits shall not exceed the actual liability or four times the monthly rental or mortgage liability, whichever is less; provided further, such benefits shall be paid directly to the landlord or mortgage holder; provided further, in administering the pilot program, the department shall coordinate with the department of transitional assistance, member agencies and offices of the Massachusetts interagency council on housing and homelessness and the agencies contracted to administer the residential assistance for families in transition program on behalf of eligible households served by those agencies and offices so as streamline the application process, provide additional support services, and better promote upstream homelessness prevention and housing stability; provided further, the department shall issue quarterly reports on the rental and mortgage arrearage assistance pilot program to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Housing, and the House and Senate Clerks; provided further, the report shall include but not be limited to the following information:

(i) the referral source for each household and number of households referred by said source;

(ii) the number of applications requested, the number of applications completed, the number of applications approved;

(iii) the number of applications rejected and the reasons for denial;

(iv) the household income and demographic information for each qualifying household and its members, by zip code and cumulatively;

(v) the monthly rent or mortgage liability for each qualifying household and the amount of each arrearage payment; and

(vi) the housing status of each qualifying household at six, twelve, and twenty-four months after receipt of services or cash benefits.”;

and in said item by striking out the figures "$15,274,232” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$27,000,000”. See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/1127/House/Preview.
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7004-0101Emergency Assistance Family Shelters and Services$171,745,706 (includes $10,000,000 from mid-year supplemental budget)$180,000,000 or adequate funding to ensure that families no longer have to prove they have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for shelter, and 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. 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'19 budget requires DHCD to take applications in the 10 cities and towns where DHCD had staff as of January 1, 2018, 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 forego applying. Such language this year has meant that DHCD had to begin once again taking in-person applications from families in Lowell. $177,931,886Would increase funding above current FY'19 appropriation, although the EA program will need supplemental funding in FY'19. Would maintain current EA policies that require many families to prove they have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for shelter. Would remove the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility. The Governor also removed language in the related DHCD administrative line item (7004-0099) so that DHCD no longer would be required to maintain access to in-person applications for families seeking shelter. $165,745,706; would not ensure that families no longer have to prove they have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for shelter; would allow families to maintain EA eligibility until they reach 200% of the federal poverty guidelines (while also maintaining the over-income grace period); would maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 90-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility. HWM did include language in the related DHCD administrative line item (7004-0099) to maintain access to in-person applications for families seeking shelter. As in the final FY'19 budget, HWM would require DHCD to take applications in the 10 cities and towns where DHCD had staff as of January 1, 2018. This would prohibit 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 forego applying. HWM also added new language requiring DHCD to add at least 60 accessible units for families with disabilities. We strongly support Representative Marjorie Decker 's EA amendment to ensure that families no longer have to prove they have stayed in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for shelter and to add $300,000 to cover the increased costs associated with that change, Amendment #1124. Amendment text: ...move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 7004-0101, in line 31, by inserting after “situation;” the following:

“provided further, that not more than $300,000 shall be expended to establish and administer a pilot program to provide temporary emergency assistance to families who on the date of application for emergency assistance have no other feasible alternative housing, as defined in 760 CMR 67.06.1(b), and who, but for not having spent 1 night in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings, including but not limited to a car, park, abandoned building, medical facility, bus or train station, airport or camping ground, would be eligible for emergency assistance under clauses (a), (b), (c) or (d);”;

and in said item by striking out the figures “$165,745,706” and inserting in place thereof the figures “$166,045,706”. See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/1124/House/Preview.
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4000-0007Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness$3,300,000$5,000,000 to provide increased housing and wraparound services to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability through the 10 regional agencies selected in FY'19 to administer the program$3,300,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$3,300,000; would provide level funding with FY'19 appropriationWe strongly support Representative Jim O'Day's youth homelessness amendment to increase the line item funding to $5 million, Amendment #883. Amendment text: ...move to amend the bill in section 2, in item 4000-0007, by striking out the figures "$3,300,000" and inserting in place thereof the figures "$5,000,000" See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/883/House/Preview.
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7004-9024Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program$100,000,000$130,000,000 to increase the number of subsidies to tenants and developers and increase the value of MRVP subsidies to better match current fair market rents$100,000,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$110,000,000; would provide $10,000,000 over the FY'19 appropriation We strongly support Representative Joe McGonagle's Amendment #859 to make MRVP program improvements and Rep. Paul Donato's Amendment #652 to increase MRVP funding to $130,000,000. See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/859/House/Preview and https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/652/House/Preview.
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4408-1000Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children$76,264,729$76,000,000 or adequate funding based on caseload projections; maintain FY'19 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 advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility$75,129,458Would maintain FY'19 budget language to provide full grants to program participants while they are experiencing homelessness, instead of imposing the previous homelessness penalty $76,329,458; would provide full grants to program participants while they are experiencing homelessness, instead of imposing the previous homelessness penalty; would maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 75-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility No amendment needed.
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4403-2000Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children Grant Payments$201,580,967$190,000,000 or adequate funding based on caseload projections and the elimination of the family cap rule; 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$184,876,642Line item would maintain the $350/child annual clothing allowance, and would remove the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility. The DTA Commissioner also said that the funding level will allow the Department to move forward with regulation changes by October 1, 2019 to remove the homelessness penalty (a.k.a. in-kind shelter deduction) for families experiencing homelessness.

Related proposed positive and negative TAFDC policy changes via outside sections. On the positive side, the Governor proposed repealing the family cap rule, not counting one car or 529 college savings plans funds towards the asset limit, and supporting a 6-month earned income disregard. On the negative side, the Governor proposed counting Social Security benefits (and perhaps Supplemental Security Income, or SSI benefits) of adults in the household toward the income limit. While Social Security benefits already are counted, counting SSI benefits would leave some parents with disabilities and their families ineligible for TAFDC and others households only eligible for partial grants. See Outside Sections 54, 55, and 80.
$204,455,227; would maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 75-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility; would maintain the $350/child annual clothing allowance We oppose Amendment #1078 from Rep. Brad Jones to decrease the number of families eligible for TAFDC and reduce monthly grants by counting a parent's SSI benefits when calculating financial eligibility for TAFDC. See https://malegislature.gov/Bills/GetAmendmentContent/191/H3800/1078/House/Preview.
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7004-9030Alternative Housing Voucher Program$6,150,000$8,000,000 to increase the number of subsidies available to individuals with disabilities from 618 to 800$6,150,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$7,150,000; would provide $1,000,000 over the FY'19 appropriation
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7004-9005Subsidies to Public Housing Authorities$65,650,000$72,000,000$65,500,000Would fund just below the FY'19 appropriation$72,000,000; would provide 86.54% of funding from the state's General Fund ($62,308,800) and 13.46% of the funding from the Local Capital Projects Fund ($9,691,200)
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7004-9007Public Housing Reform$1,000,000$1,000,000$1,000,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$1,000,000; would provide level funding with FY'19 appropriation
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7004-0104Home and Healthy for Good Program$2,390,000$2,390,000$2,390,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$2,390,000; would provide level funding with FY'19 appropriation
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7004-0108HomeBASE$32,000,000$32,000,000 or adequate funding based on caseload projections. (We are working to better understand DHCD's budget predictions, which indicate that lower funding may be sufficient.)$25,825,000Would decrease funding available for the program, while leaving the maximum benefit per family at $10,000/year. Would remove the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility.$25,825,000; would maintain the requirement that the Administration give the Legislature 90-days advance notice before reducing benefits or imposing new limits on program eligibility; We support Amendment #699 from Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante to improve HomeBASE. See https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2020/HouseDebate/Amendments/699
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7035-0008Transportation for Students Experiencing Homelessness$9,099,500At least $9,099,500$9,099,500Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation, but only provides partial reimbursement to cities and towns$10,099,500; would provide $1,000,000 over the FY'19 appropriation
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7004-0102Shelter and Services for Adults Experiencing Homelessness$48,180,000$55,000,000$48,355,000Would fund just above the FY'19 appropriation$53,355,000; would provide $5,175,000 over the FY'19 appropriation
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7004-0202Rapid Rehousing for Individuals$5,000,000$5,000,000$5,000,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$5,000,000; would provide level funding with FY'19 appropriation
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7004-3045Tenancy Preservation Program$1,300,000$1,300,000$1,300,000Would level fund with FY'19 appropriation$1,300,000; would provide level funding with FY'19 appropriation
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1595-6368Massachusetts Transportation Trust FundInclude funds in the line item to provide free Mass IDs to people experiencing homelessnessWe strongly support Representative Kay Khan's outside section amendment to add $50,000 to the trust fund to provide free Mass IDs to people experiencing homelessness, and to include language from the Mass ID access bill, House Bill 3066 (see https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H3066).in the final House budget, Amendment #765. Amendment text: move to amend the bill by inserting after section 58 the following section:

"SECTION XXX. Section 8E of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word “cards”, in line 6, the following: - “; provided, however, that the registrar’s regulations shall include a process for a person who is homeless or is an unaccompanied homeless youth to apply for a Massachusetts identification card and to waive any fees associated with obtaining the identification card; provided further, that said process shall allow for a person who is homeless or is an unaccompanied homeless youth to submit proof of residency by providing documentation satisfactory to the registrar (i) from entities that provide services in the commonwealth, including, but not limited to, homeless service providers, or (ii) of services received from a department, division, office or agency of the executive office of health and human services.

For the purposes of this section, the term “homeless”, shall have the same meaning as set forth in section 103 of the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, 42 U.S.C. § 11302(a), as amended from time to time, and the term “unaccompanied homeless youth”, shall mean a person 24 years of age or younger who is not in the physical custody or care of a parent or legal guardian and who lacks a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.”, and in section 2, in item 1595-6368, in line 2, by inserting after "laws" the following: "provided further that $50,000 shall be expended for providing state IDs for homeless youth and individuals,”; and in said item by striking out the figures "$343,879,615" and inserting in place thereof the figures "$343,929,615".
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