WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — On May 26th, the Massachusetts Senate passed its $39.5 billion budget with strong investments in affordable housing, homelessness prevention, and community development programs. The Senate budget includes increases to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), the Alternative Housing Voucher Program (AHVP), public housing reform, Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Housing Court, the Tenancy Preservation Program, and Home and Healthy for Good.
The Senate includes the following funding for CHAPA budget priorities:
- $100 million for MRVP, an increase of $9.1 million from FY2016; Language was also included requiring the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to issue mobile vouchers by August 1st. This will help voucher holders to search for homes when there are more vacancies and movement in the rental market. It will also help households lease up earlier in the fiscal year, more fully utilizing FY17’s funding.
- $6.2 million for the AVHP, an increase of $1.6 million from FY2016; The Senate budget includes a change to the underlying statute for the Alternative Housing Voucher Program, opening up possibilities of project basing in the future to increase our stock of affordable, accessible homes.
- $64.5 million for public housing;
- $1.05 million for public housing reform, an increase of $250,000 from FY2016;
- $13 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), an increase of $500,000 from FY2016, for a pilot program to expand eligibility from just families with children under 21 to include elders, persons with disabilities, and unaccompanied youth;
- $31.9 million for HomeBASE. The Senate also included a pilot program to allow families in domestic violence shelters or substance abuse programs to access HomeBASE if those families would otherwise be eligible for the program;
- $2.35 million in retained revenue for foreclosure counseling;
- $1.2 million in new funding to expand Housing Court statewide;
- $750,000 for the Tenancy Preservation Program, an increase of $250,000 from FY2016;
- $2.64 million for Housing Consumer Education Centers (HCECs);
- $10 million for the Community Preservation Trust Fund as an end-of-year budget surplus transfer;
- $2 million for Home and Healthy for Good, an increase of $200,000 from FY2016; and
- $80,000 for the MassAccess Housing Registry.
For a table showing CHAPA’s budget priorities compared to last year’s budget, the House budget, and the Governor’s proposal, click here.
CHAPA thanks Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka, and Housing Committee Chair Linda Dorcena Forry for their leadership on developing the FY2017 Senate budget. CHAPA also thanks all our amendment sponsors for our budget priorities, including Sen. Mike Brady, Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Sen. Cynthia Creem, Sen. Eileen Donoghue, Sen. Benjamin Downing, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, and Sen. Barbara L’Italien. Finally, CHAPA thanks all Senate members for their support of these important housing programs.
For more information on CHAPA’s budget priorities, click here.
Next Steps in the Budget Process
The next step in the budget process will be the appointment of a Conference Committee to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets.