WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 10, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — On July 8, 2015, the Conference Committee released its recommendations for the FY2016 State Budget(link is external). The Legislature adopted the $38.1 billion budget and sent it to Governor Baker for his consideration. The Governor has ten days to sign or veto portions of the budget.
The Legislature passed a budget with increased investment in many affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs. Highlights include:
- Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program(link is external): MRVP received $90.9 million, an increase of $25.9 million over FY2015. The additional funding for MRVP will maintain the current number of vouchers in use and will allow for the release of about 800 new vouchers.
- Alternative Housing Voucher Program(link is external): AHVP, which provides housing for persons with disabilities, received $4.5 million for AHVP. This is an increase of over $1 million over FY2015.
- Housing Consumer Education Centers(link is external): The budget restores funding for HCECs to FY2014 levels.
- Residential Assistance for Families in Transition(link is external): RAFT received $12.5 million, an increase of $1.5 million over FY2015;
- HomeBASE(link is external): HomeBASE received $2.2 million over FY2015, including an increase in maximum HomeBASE benefits to $8,000 and language changes that allows for forward funding of the program.
- Housing Preservation and Stabilization Trust Fund(link is external): The budget capitalizes HPSTF, a critical tool to support new initiatives and create housing, with $11.5 million.
- Community Preservation Act(link is external): The budget authorizes a transfer of up to $10 million to the Community Preservation Trust Fund.
- Transformative Development Fund(link is external): The budget capitalizes the Transformative Development Fund, a resource to help development in Gateway Cities, with $1 million.
- Earned Income Tax Credit(link is external): The budget authorizes the expansion of the state earned income tax credit from 15% to 23% of the federal EITC, helping working families to make ends meet.
CHAPA thanks the members of the FY2016 Budget Conference Committee for their strong support of affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs. Committee members included: Senator Karen Spilka; Senator Sal DiDomenico; Senator Vinny deMacedo; Representative Brian Dempsey; Representative Stephen Kulik; and Representative Todd Smola. CHAPA also thanks Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Chairman Kevin Honan and Chairwoman Linda Dorcena Forry of the Joint Committee on Housing for their leadership and dedication to making sure that every person in the Commonwealth has a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. Thank you too to the following legistators for sponsoring housing amendments and for their leadership on housing programs in the budget: Representative Christine Barber; Representative Michael Brady; Representative Antonio Cabral; Representative Marjorie Decker; Representative Michael Finn; Representative Peter Kocot; Representative Paul Mark; Representative Byron Rushing; Representative Tim Toomey; Representative Aaron Vega; Representative Chris Walsh; Senator William Brownsberger; Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz; Senator Cindy Creem; Senator Ken Donnelly; Senator Benjamin Downing; Senator Jamie Eldridge; Senator Thomas Kennedy; Senator Joan Lovely; Senator Michael Rodrigues; Senator Bruce Tarr; Senator James Welch; and Senator Dan Wolf.
Finally, we have to thank all of you for your continued advocacy, which helped make these important advances for affordable housing and homelessness prevention programs possible!