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LEGISLATIVE ACTION DAY 2024

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Take Action to Prevent and End Homelessness and Promote Housing Stability:

Register to Join Breaktime at the State House for 2024 Legislative Action Day!

Join Breaktime and our friends at the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless on Thursday, March 7th for Legislative Action Day 2024! Look forward to hearing from inspiring speakers – including Breaktime Associates – and learning how to advocate with legislators in the morning session. Meet with your state legislators and legislative staff to talk about issues and policy recommendations to address homelessness in Massachusetts in the afternoon. You can learn more about Breaktime's 2023-2024 legislative (bill) priorities below. 

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2024 Legislative Action Day

Date: Thursday, March 7, 2024
Time: 10 a.m.–12 p.m. (followed by meetings between legislative offices and constituents)
Location: Massachusetts State House, Great Hall (2nd floor)
Hosts: State Representative Jim O’Day and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless

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FEATURED ASSOCIATE SPEAKERS

We're proud to share that two Breaktime Associates will be featured speakers at 2024 Legislative Action Day! Join us on March 7th to hear these young adults bravely share about their experiences with homelessness to help create positive change in the community. 

Mari Brooks

Topic: Everyone Needs ID Bill

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Jack Diaz

Topic: Homeless Bill of Rights

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Breaktime's Legislative (Bill) Priorities

1. #EmergencyAssistanceNOW!

Bill would ease access to the Emergency Assistance program (EA) and to create an centralized unit to assist families applying for and participating in EA and HomeBASE

This giant omnibus bill would address improve access and the administrative process for families and children seeking to access or retain Emergency Assistance shelter and HomeBASE rehousing benefits. It would allow families that appear to be imminently at risk of homelessness to gain admission into EA shelter. It also would prohibit the Department of Housing and Community Development from turning families away due to lack of documentation and mandate that DHCD look in existing state benefits databases to obtain requested documentation instead of delaying applications by requiring families to provide such documentation directly. The bill also would establish an independent ombudsperson unit located in the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (or the anticipated successor Executive Office of Housing) to mediate between EA and HomeBASE participants/applicants and DHCD.

2. #EveryoneNeedsID

Bill would create a process for individuals experiencing homelessness to apply for standard Mass IDs if they cannot meet the existing criteria

The need for the Everyone Needs ID bill is a direct symptom of the ongoing affordable housing crisis across the state. If folks were ABLE TO have a residence they could call their own, there would basically be no issue with applying for and getting a Standard State ID. But the reality is that tens of thousands of young adults in Massachusetts do not have a permanent roof over their head at night. No roof means a lot of things. No roof can mean no address to put down on an ID application form.  No state ID means no access to safe and legal jobs. No safe jobs puts youth and young adults at risk. This bill would create a process for individuals experiencing homelessness to apply for standard Mass IDs if they cannot meet the existing criteria by allowing the applicant to submit residency documentation from providers of homelessness and/or youth services and state agencies under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Sixteen other states and Washing DC have already offer free or reduced fee IDs for people experiencing homelessness. It’s time for Massachusetts to step up. 

3. #ImproveRAFT

Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program provides short-term emergency funding to help you with eviction, foreclosure, loss of utilities, and other housing emergencies

This bill would put the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) homelessness
prevention program into state statute and ensure that benefits are available to families and individuals earlier in a housing or utility crisis ("upstream"). The bill also seeks to streamline access, improve cross-agency collaboration, and allow households to access up to twelve months of assistance, without arbitrary dollar caps. In addition, the bill would require the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to publicly post reports on RAFT to provide increased transparency on how the program is operating and greater understanding of who the program is serving and not serving.

4. Housing & Services for Unaccompanied Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness

The Coalition is advocating for a funding request of $15,000,000 to provide more housing and wraparound services to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability.  

Line item 4000-0007, Housing and Services for Unaccompanied Youth and Young Adults Experiencing Homelessness, provides needed housing and wraparound services to youth and young adults experiencing homelessness and housing instability. The governor has recommended $10,545,850 for this line item in the FY25 state budget (this is less than the $11,000,000 allocated to the line item in the FY24 budget). We're advocating for $15,000,000 for this line item. 

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