While many have taken to the beach or a lake to cool off from this week’s summer heat, folks on Beacon Hill are still hard at work, as they attempt to close out the state’s FY2015 budget and finalize the FY2016 budget. You might be scratching your head and thinking, “hey wait, FY2015 ended June 30th and Governor Baker signed the FY2016 budget into law, soooooo… what’s this all about?
Actually, you’d be right. Both of those have come and gone, yet there remains some open business for our elected officials to handle before they break out of official session on July 31st. Here are the deets:
MRVP and the FY2016 Budget
screen shot from https://malegislature.gov/Budget/Process
The final FY2016 Conference Committee budget voted on by the MA Legislature funded the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program at $90.9 million, which would allow for approximately 800 new MRVP vouchers. Unfortunately, Governor Baker vetoed $3 million from the line item which would result in the loss of 300 of these vouchers. As you know, we cannot afford to forfeit even one voucher to budget cuts.
Please take a moment to contact both your State Representative and State Senator to ask that they override the MRVP veto. If you are uncertain how to contact your elected officials, click here. Below is a script for you to use:
“Hi. My name is ________________, and I live/work in __________________. I am calling to ask my representative/senator to work to override Governor Patrick’s veto of $3 million to MRVP and restore funding to $90.9 million for FY2016.
I support MRVP because: ___________________________________________________________.”
EA and the FY2015 Supplemental Budget
In his supplemental budget proposal to close out the FY2015 budget, Governor Baker inserts language that would change the regulations that determine access to Emergency Assistance, or family shelter in the 2016 fiscal year. If supported by the legislature, families who are staying in units unfit for human habitation and those in irregular housing situations would no longer be eligible for shelter.
Both the House and Senate rejected the governor’s attempt to bring these same restrictions through the state budget process. We are in communication with Legislative leadership to ensure that the state does not implement further restrictions by keeping this harmful language out of the final version of the supplemental budget. In the meantime, you can help by calling the governor’s office at 617.725.4005 and asking that he remove this harmful language from his proposal. Here is a sample script you can use:
“Hi. My name is _______________ , and I live/work in ________________ . I am calling to ask that Governor Baker reconsider Section 30 his supplemental budget proposal to further restrict access to homeless families applying for shelter. Please ask him to remove the language that would turn away children staying in places unfit for human habitation and in irregular housing situations from shelter in his FY2015 supplemental budget.
This issue matters to me because: _________________________________________________.”
Whether you are a family who is experiencing homelessness, have struggled to obtain shelter, a provider working with families in these situations or an otherwise concerned stakeholder, please share your concerns with Governor Baker. It is our voice that needs to be heard!!