Earlier today, Governor Patrick released his budget recommendations for FY2013 (click here to compare the proposal to current funding levels). Initial analysis looks very promising for both homelessness prevention and housing programs.
Governor Patrick has proposed the following:
- An increase to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher (MRVP) of $10 million;
- An increase to public housing operating subsidies of $4 million; and
- An increase in funding to Residential Assistance to Families in Transition (RAFT) from $260,000 to $8.7 million.
Both the EA and HomeBASE line items will require further analysis to fully understand the impact of particular language changes. However, at first glance some striking points regarding the two programs:
Regarding Emergency Assistance (EA, family shelter), the governor has proposed the following:
- The implementation of an 8-month time limit;
- Limiting eligibility for EA to four categories; and
- Requiring a Massachusetts residency for access (though how ‘residency’ is defined is not clear).
- To view a reader friendly version of the EA line item click here.
Regarding HomeBASE, the governor proposed the following:
- Reducing the length of time a family can access HomeBASE from three down to two years, barring further access for 12 months to either EA or RAFT and
- Defining that families utilizing HomeBASE should receive stabilization services up to 12 months.
- To view a reader friendly version of the HomeBASE line item click here.
We will continue to analyze the governor’s budget and are pleased with the bold investment in both housing and prevention. However, we must not be complacent and assume that the work we have done with the legislature over the past few years will be enough to see these increases through the process.
Additionally, we will be flushing this budget proposal and language in the line items (EA, HomeBASE, and RAFT) out with our various membership committees and will keep you informed about next steps for advocating on behalf of homeless and at-risk families throughout this budget process. Please feel free to contact us to weigh in with your thoughts.
Once again, our collective efforts have proven fruitful, but there is more to be done!