Legislative Action Day 2019: Thank You for Joining Us at the State House on February 28th

Legislative Action Day 2019: Thank You for Joining Us at the State House on February 28th
Posted January 8, 2019, last updated March 1st

** Thank you to everyone who participated in person and remotely in our Legislative Action Day 2019! Please amplify the impact of the day by signing and sharing our latest one-minute online action in support of the Coalition's FY'20 budget priorities. **

Pre-Event Page:

We hope to see you at the State House for our annual Legislative Action Day on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in the Great Hall. The event will be hosted by State Representative Jim O'Day. The day will begin with check-in and light breakfast starting at 9 a.m., with the speaking program from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. See our preliminary schedule (PDF) and media advisory (PDF) here. In the afternoon, participants will fan out across the State House to meet with legislators and their staff.

Registration is still open. Register today to participate in the event and sign up here to be an event-day volunteer. Help spread the word by sharing this general event flyer (JPG) and this flyer for legislators (JPG).

Thank you to everyone who prepared for Legislative Action Day by joining our pre-event training call this Thursday, February 21st. (See the training flyer here.)

A key part of the day will be meetings with your state legislators and their staff to talk about why you support investments in housing, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, income support programs, and related resources. We are happy to help you set up those meetings (just let us know on your registration form). Here are some tips to help guide your legislative meetings (PDF).

After you meet or call your legislators as part of Legislative Action Day, please complete this online response form or the printable response form (PDF) to share your feedback. 

At Legislative Action Day, participants will hear from families, youth, and adults with lived experience of homelessness and housing instability, as well as researchers, advocates, and legislators. Confirmed legislative speakers so far include our host, Representative Jim O'Day, as well as Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Becca Rausch, Senator Pat Jehlen, Representative Marjorie Decker, Representative Kay Khan, Representative Denise Provost, and Representative Smitty Pignatelli.

The day will focus on advocating for key FY'20 budget priorities (PDF) and 2019-2020 bill priorities (PDF), including efforts to:

- Re-establish a statewide rental arrearage program to help households avoid homelessness by providing back rent assistance (bill and budget campaign; see House Docket 2395)

- Ensure that families experiencing homelessness do not have to stay in a place not meant for human habitation before being eligible for Emergency Assistance (EA) family shelter and services (bill and budget campaigns; see House Docket 2406)

- Increase funding for housing and services for unaccompanied youth and young adults experiencing homelessness (budget campaign)
        -- We are happy to be able to host a youth and young adult networking event as part of Legislative Action Day, coordinated by the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Youth's State Plan Team. The event will take place in the back half of the Great Hall from 1-2 p.m. For more details and to sign-up to participate in the networking event, please contact Jamila from the State Plan Team. Youth and young adults with lived experience of homelessness and housing insta
bility will have the opportunity to meet with other youth and young adult advocates from across the state and to provide feedback on the Commission's draft document, "Guidance for Adult Shelters Serving Young Adults". Participants will be eligible to receive compensation for their participation.  

- Ease access to standard Massachusetts ID cards for people experiencing homelessness by eliminating the $25 fee and allowing alternative ways to verify Massachusetts residency without requiring a permanent address (bill and budget campaigns; see Senate Docket 667 and House Docket 1263)

- Establish a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1952 and House Docket 2776, as well as Senate Docket 1950, An 
Act relative to the safety, dignity, and civil rights of persons experiencing homelessness)

- Improve the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children program (EAEDC) (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1382 and House Docket 605)

Eliminate the so-called “family cap rule” that currently prohibits children from receiving Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (TAFDC) benefits because their family was participating in the TAFDC program at the time of their conception (or shortly thereafter) (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1452 and House Docket 3043)

- Increase monthly grant levels in the TAFDC and EAEDC programs to lift households out of deep poverty (bill campaign, see Senate Docket 1328 and House Docket 2367)

- Strengthen the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition program (RAFT) and expand upstream homelessness prevention efforts (budget campaign)

Improve the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) by increasing funding from $100 million to $130 million (budget campaign) and make important program changes, including allowing tenants to use their subsidies in units at the current fair market rent instead of 2005 fair market rent level and establishing the program in state statute and not just the annual state budget (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 864 and House Docket 3872)

- Increase the number of housing units created, reduce barriers to housing production, and set goals for the production of housing affordable to the lowest income households (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 1640 and House Docket 3379)

- Increase funding for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), and state-funded public housing (budget campaigns)

- Establish a right to legal counsel in eviction cases (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 625)

- Allow cities and towns to increase revenue for affordable housing by choosing to establish real estate transfer fees (bill campaign; see Senate Docket 334)

For fact sheets and more details, please check out our Present Policy Campaigns page.