Funding for Homeless Youth, the Housing Court, and Civil Legal Aid is Within Reach…But We Need Your Help!

Action Alert

It’s that time of year again.

Budget season.

Yesterday, the House Committee on Ways and Means (HWM) released its fiscal year 2019 budget proposal. And we have some work to do if we want to ensure the unaccompanied homeless youth of Massachusetts have the support they need and the Housing Court and civil legal aid have enough funding to provide greater access to justice across the state.

Each year, we fight to make sure our most vulnerable and at-risk populations are cared for, and your advocacy is the reason we’ve been successful in the past. Now, we need your help once more as we enter the first battle of the budget season.

With your help, we will win!

Homeless Youth

The HWM budget recommendations include $1 million for housing and services for unaccompanied homeless youth. While this would be an increase over the FY’18 appropriation, it would be less than the spending level last year AND less than the FY’19 Governor’s recommendation of $2 million.

These services for homeless youth can prove life-saving.

Representative O’Day will be filing TWO youth homelessness amendments:

  • To increase funding for youth housing and services to $4 million;
  • To include specific language in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services line item that will provide $150,000 for the important work of the Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.

Action You Can Take:

Call your State Representative TODAY and ask them to sign on to both amendments by contacting Cinda Danh in Rep. O’Day’s office: cinda.danh@mahouse.gov.

Deadline: By 3:00 p.m., Friday (tomorrow).

Click here to find your Representative’s contact information.

Housing Court

The Housing Court expansion is a critical component of expanding access to justice for people across the state facing eviction, gentrification, and other housing crises.

But the HWM has only provided partial funding for the expansion of the Housing Court in the amount of $1.5 million. The Governor proposed $2.6 million for the Housing Court, which would enable full funding of the expansion.

The expansion of the Housing Court is an important step forward in achieving access to justice for Massachusetts residents.

Representative Walsh will be filing an amendment to provide the full funding, $2.6 million, for the Housing Court expansion.

Action You Can Take:

Call your State Representative TODAY and ask them to sign on to Representative Walsh’s Housing Court amendment.

Deadline: By NOON, Friday (tomorrow).

Click here to find your Representative’s contact information.

Civil Legal Aid

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC) is the largest funding source for civil legal aid in the state, and thousands of low-income residents unable to afford an attorney rely on their services.

The HWM’s budget includes $20 million in funding for MLAC, which is $2 million over the FY’18 appropriation, but still short of MLAC’s request of $5 million in additional funding.

As the federal access to justice office shutters its doors, funding civil legal aid is more important than ever.

Representative Cronin and Representative Balser have filed an amendment seeking an additional $2 million in funding.

Action You Can Take:

Call your State Representative TODAY to ask them to co-sponsor and support Amendment #243.

Deadline: By the end of the day, Friday (tomorrow).

Don’t wait! Click here to find your Representative’s contact information.

 

Thank you for joining us in this important push to protect these necessary services. Your advocacy is vital this time of year, and we’re so grateful for your continued commitment to our work.

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