By tomorrow, I hope, I'll organize an email I got from Marion about the potentially catastrophic results of the Governor's intention to transfer responsibility for family shelters from DTA to the Department of Housing and Community Development. We'll have some more calls to make.
Given the size of the financial crisis in this state, we'll all have to work to stop the worst from happening.
MCH Bill Priorities, 2009-2010 Session
In January 2009, the Legislature initiated its 2009-2010 bill session. The Coalition has worked closely with several legislators to file three critical pieces of legislation to assist low income families and individuals:
- "An Act to Protect and Improve the Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) Program" being filed in the House by Representatives Kathi-Anne Reinstein and Ruth Balser, and in the Senate by Senator Susan Tucker improves the safety net for destitute seniors, people with disabilities and homeless high school/vocational school students. This bill would:
1. Gradually raise the EAEDC grant until it matches the level of assistance provided to recipients of the state's Transitional Assistance to Families with Dependent Children program ($428/ month for a household of one) through regular Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs).
2. Restore EAEDC payments to full-time students attending a high school, vocational school or GED program to help them complete their educations.
3. Facilitate the movement of EAEDC recipients onto Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program by providing legal assistance and support with applications and appeals.
- "An Act to Prevent Homelessness Among Recipients of Transitional Assistance" being filed in the House by Representative Denise Provost and in the Senate by Senators Pat Jehlen and Karen Spilka would establish a housing stability screening program at the Department of Transitional Assistance and would improve income benefits to TAFDC and EAEDC recipients experiencing homelessness. The bill would
1. Establish regular housing stability screenings with participants in DTA cash and nutritional assistance programs to assess if these families and individuals are at risk of homelessness.
2. Provide stabilization funds and services to link at-risk households to needed resources.
3. Increase income supports to TAFDC and EAEDC households experiencing homelessness, establishing escrow accounts with the money currently being deducted from their monthly grants.
- "An Act to Prevent Homelessness by Removing Barriers to Subsidized Housing" being filed by Representative Carl Sciortino will complement ongoing efforts by the Commonwealth to prevent homelessness and reduce reliance on emergency shelter by removing unwarranted barriers to those who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness to accessing permanently affordable, subsidized housing.