This is a bit of a long post, but it has information we all need to know. What follows is from the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. Read it and then call you legislators-- please! You can find their phone numbers at The Massachusetts Legislature.
Under the Governor’s budget, most homeless children and parents with no other safe place to stay would be denied access to emergency shelter through the state’s Emergency Assistance (EA) program
Families who would be denied shelter include those who are homeless because they are members of families that are extremely poor, have lost jobs in the horrible economy, have lost homes because of evictions due to foreclosure, or have previously fled a domestic violence situation.
· These families have no family or friends with whom to stay -- otherwise they would not currently be eligible for EA. The only families who could access shelter under the Administration’s proposal are those who are fleeing domestic violence in their current housing situation, headed by a young parent, or homeless due to a fire or natural disaster.
Homeless families denied shelter would be offered only temporary rental assistance and help looking for an apartment. The proposal mandates shelter denials but not an immediate right to housing.
· Providing re-housing resources as quickly as possible is important, and this aspect of the proposal (7004-0108) can be useful, with some important revisions. But since it can take weeks or months to find a unit to rent -- even with subsidies much more valuable than what is being proposed here -- we would be left out in the cold while searching for housing.
Families who receive any homelessness assistance would be barred from any other help for 2 full years even if they literally have no safe place to stay.
Barring families from shelter does not end homelessness! Fewer families will need shelter if better housing resources are available! We can improve housing resources AND preserve the safety net!