..when the 7 day shelter contract extension, from the 21 day contract extension, from the 7 month contract will expire. This article from the State House News, and heard/posted on public radio, makes is clear that everyone knows we have a serious timing issue:
When Gov. Charlie Baker urged the Legislature to act quickly on his midyear spending bill filed late last month, he likely had this very situation in mind, cautioning that there were agencies and programs with “time-sensitive” funding needs demanding action before the end of March.
“We need the money that’s in the supp. From our perspective this is a timing issue. The shelters are not going to close. No families are in danger and we’re working diligently with the Legislature to get the money they need,” said Paul McMorrow, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
House budget leaders said Thursday they were aware of “funding timelines” for the emergency assistance family shelter program, but could not comment on whether they would consider separating the shelter funding from the budget bill to get it approved faster.
It seems like an appropriate time, to share Homes for Families’ time lines illustrating the chaotic contract lengths for family shelters:
Here is what this year is looking like so far:
And here is how this year fits in with recent years:
So, what impact does this have on shelter programs you ask?
- Well, for starters, right now providers can’t be paid. On April 1st, rent will due to landlords that lease apartments and buildings that are used as shelter units
- When providers can’t be paid, they may have to rely on lines of credit, which they will have to pay back with interest
- It is extremely burdensome on finance staff to manage funds when programs are not being reimbursed, and to have to amend budgets and do unnecessary paperwork
- Last minute contract signing is a distraction and can be complicated, especially if shelters are dealing with crises, or if authorized signers are out of the office
- DHCD contract managers have to manage the signing, resigning, and processing, when they are also responsible for monitoring programs and other assistance to providers
- Legislators have to deal with the sudden blitz of calls from panicked advocates and shelter providers
- Feel free to leave a comment about the other impacts that short term contracts have on you and your programs
We are hoping, and asking, that the EA supplemental funding get separated and passed independently. This will allow the contracts to get issued, and time for the Conference Committee the time to thoughtfully work out the other compromises between the Senate and House Bills.
We have an opportunity to stop this insanity in FY16. We think it is about time.