The House and Senate have made their proposals…so now what??


Last week, the Senate finalized their budget proposals for the 2013 fiscal year which will begin on July 1…one month from today! Spare Change News has posted an article from the State House News with an overview of the Senate debate regarding access to emergency shelter.  The vote to protect eligible for certain categories of families was 38-0, in favor.  But eligibility is one of many topics that will require discussion and decision relating to family homelessness.

There are significant differences and similarities between the Senate and House budgets across all programs. Here is a great tool from the Mass Budget and Policy Center that summarizes each proposal and the impact and an overview of the process from the witty MA Policy and Organizing Leadership Academy.

As the links above indicate, the next step is for  a Conference Committee to be appointed to develop a compromise budget to submit to the Governor for final approval.  From an advocacy standpoint, the next steps are for us (HFF and YOU)  to:

1. Thank the Senators that championed the issue

2. Read, reflect, analyze and understand the language recomendations

3. Develop recommendations for the Conference Committee

4. Politely urge our respective legislators and key committee members to push the conference committee members to include our recommendations in the final budget

Here is a chart outlining the differences in key line items relative to our priority issues and our recommendations.  Please note that this is a draft and we will look forward to hearing feedback and checking in with other advocacy groups before finalizing and submitting.

LH

Housing and Homelessness Programs

FY2013 Conference Committee Recommendations

by Homes for Families

Line item Issue House Senate Recommendation
7004-0101Emergency Assistance Funding $88.9 million (+$16.6 million for motel funding, see 7004-0103 below = $105.5 ) $96.7 million Adopt House version
  Families who go over income (115% FPL) EA benefits terminated 3 months after going over income EA benefits terminated 6 months after going over income Adopt Senate version
  Eligibility “Includes” certain categories of families Restricts access to certain categories of families and protects eligibility for certain populations Adopt Senate version
  Time limit Places a 9 month time limit for families in shelter Families in shelter for more than 32 weeks are required to develop a shelter exit plan Adopt Senate version
  Access to HomeBASE No provision Disallows access to HomeBASE for families who have been in shelter for longer than 32 weeks Adopt House version
  Savings requirement Requires families to escrow a portion of income Requires families save 30% of their income Adopt House version
  Advanced notice to legislature Requires 60 days advanced notice of changes to EA regulations Requires 30 days advanced notice of changes to EA regulations Adopt House version
  Scattered-site units No recommendation Requires DHCD to attempt to convert scattered site units into congregate shelters Adopt House version
  Housing search No provision Requires DHCD to provide housing search for all families (including those in motels) within 16 weeks Adopt Senate version
  Shelter contracts Requires DHCD to enter into 12 month contracts with shelter providers No provision Adopt House version
7004-0103Hotel/Motel Funding $16.6 million Does not exist Adopt House version
Line item Issue House Senate Recommendation
7004-0108HomeBASE Funding $83.4 million $90.8 million Adopt Senate version
  Per household funding Up to $4,000 per household Up to $6,000 per household Adopt Senate version
  Rent cap 80% of HUD defined Fair Market Rent No cap Adopt Senate version
  End of rental assistance, EA access Family who is terminated is ineligible for shelter  and/or HomeBASE for 1 year Family who is terminated is ineligible for shelter and/or HomeBASE for 2 years Adopt House version
  Over income families Families entered prior to July 1, 2012 have 6 months to exit after income exceeds 50% AMI; families entering after July 1 have 6 months to exit after income exceeds 115% FPL All families whose incomes exceed 50%AMI have 6 months to exit program Adopt Senate version
  Access for EA families No reference Disallows access to EA families who have been in shelter longer than 32 weeks Adopt House version
7004-3045Tenancy Preservation Program Funding $250,000 $500,000 Adopt Senate version
7004-9005 Public Housing Operating Subsidies Funding $64.5 million $62.5 million Adopt House version
7004-9024Mass. Rental Voucher Program Funding $46 million $42 million Adopt House version
  Targeting of new vouchers 923 vouchers for families residing in shelters or motels Sets aside $800,000 for the development of supportive housing for families and individuals Adopt Senate version of supportive housing, any additional vouchers, House version
Line item Issue House Senate Recommendation
MRVP (cont.) Income eligibility 200% FPL 50% AMI Adopt Senate version
  Administrative fee $30 per voucher per month $32.50 per voucher per month Adopt Senate version
7004-9316Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Targeted population to be served Not less than 65% of funding goes toward families at or below 15% AMI Not less than 90% of funding goes toward families at or below 30% AMI, prioritizing families who would otherwise be eligible for shelter Adopt Senate version
  Per household funding Up to $4,000 Up to $6,000 ($4,000 from RAFT, additional 2 from HomeBASE if deemed appropriate) Adopt Senate version
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