This week, the Conference Committee released its final, reconciled 2020 budget – a consolidation of the House and Senate versions totaling $43.1 billion. This year, our budget priorities included:
- Support for Homeless Youth (Line Item #4000-0007)
- $5 million to fund housing and support services for youth experiencing homelessness.
- Safe and Supportive Schools (Line Item #7061-9612)
- $508,128 to fund the Safe and Supportive Schools program and ensure all students are empowered to succeed in school.
- Civil Legal Aid (MLAC Line Item #0321-1600)
- $24 million to provide civil legal aid to low-income individuals and families.
I’m happy to report that the Conference Committee has recommended full funding for all of these line items! Thank you to the House and Senate leadership, and a special thanks to you! Each time you raised your voice and called your legislators to support your most vulnerable neighbors, you have brought us one step closer to a 2020 where we are equipped to support all Massachusetts residents in shelters, in school, and in the courts.
This year’s budget battle is almost over…but not quite yet. The Legislature has voted on the budget and now it heads to Governor Baker’s desk, where he will have ten days to veto line items – potentially eliminating the vital funding for the line items listed above.
You have stood alongside us and fought hard for these line items as the budget made its way through the House, the Senate, and the Conference Committee. Don’t let Governor Baker veto them now.
Please join us in contacting Governor Baker’s office to let him know that you support the Conference Committee’s recommended funding for services for youth experiencing homelessness, safe and supportive schools, and increased access to justice through civil legal aid.
You can read more about these important line items below:
Housing and Support Services for Youth Experiencing Homelessness
Line Item #4000-0007
The Conference Committee adopted the Senate’s funding level of $5 million for support and services for youth experiencing homelessness! This is a long-overdue increase of $1.7 million from last year. Governor Baker’s administration highlighted its plan to end youth homelessness just a few months ago. Let him know that this funding level is a critical component of any solution to homelessness for young people in Massachusetts.
This increase to $5 million will fund vital services for one of Massachusetts’ most vulnerable populations and is an important step towards Governor Baker’s stated goal to address youth homelessness.
Please ask Governor Baker to adopt the Conference Committee’s recommended funding amount of $5 million.
Safe and Supportive School Environments
Line Item #7061-9612
In more good news, the Conference Committee has recommended $508,128 in funding for this essential line item, which is slightly ABOVE last year’s funding level. Many thanks to the Legislature for this welcome increase, particularly in a year when the question of school funding, and how well we are supporting our students, has been at the forefront of conversations across the state.
This increase will help continue the Safe and Supportive Schools program, which enables the development of school-wide Action Plans, facilitates the exchange of best practices, and ultimately works to empower all students to succeed in school.
Please join us in urging Governor Baker to include this funding level in the final budget!
Civil Legal Aid
Line Item #0321-1600
The Conference Committee has recommended the Senate’s funding level of $24 million in funding for the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation line item, which funds free civil legal services that thousands of low-income residents of Massachusetts rely on each year. If Massachusetts believes in striving for 100% access to justice, this increase in funding is an absolute necessity.
The overwhelming need for increased civil legal aid continues to grow, with individuals and families in Massachusetts facing eviction, domestic violence, and other civil legal crises.
Please urge Governor Baker to adopt the Conference Committee’s recommended funding amount of $24 million in the final budget.
We’ve been fighting for these line items, which include much-needed increases in funding, since April, and you’ve been with us every step of the way. Please join us once again so that we can cross the finish line and ensure these line items make it into the final budget!
Click here to find the contact information for Governor Baker’s office. Then call or email and urge him to adopt the Conference Committee’s funding levels for support for youth experiencing homelessness, safe and supportive schools, and civil legal aid.
Thank you for your ongoing support and advocacy – we can’t do it without you!
Want to stay informed on the latest issues Massachusetts Appleseed is working on?
Sign up for future action alerts.