Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 2 Fiscal Year 2013

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2013

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Initiatives to End Homelessness

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Governor Patrick    FY 2013 Budget Recommendation:
    Issues in Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


The Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to reforming the ways in which the state responds to homelessness and housing scarcity in Massachusetts.  Facing an unprecedented level of demand for shelter and other emergency housing services, the Patrick-Murray Administration has sought to reform the state’s housing and homeless programs to best target limited resources to families and individuals in the most appropriate, cost-efficient and effective fashion.  The Governor’s budget recommendation for FY 2013 proposes further changes to these programs and services while making critical investments in state affordable housing programs. 

FY 2013 Budget Recommendations

The Governor’s FY 2013 budget recommendation builds upon past successes and starts the next chapter of reform to the Commonwealth’s response to family homelessness and housing instability.  These efforts will help reduce the reliance on the shelter system as the primary response to housing instability and focus on reallocating resources to a housing support system that offers the types of assistance that families have demonstrated they need.

By targeting Emergency Assistance (EA) Shelter and HomeBASE to those who are truly in emergency situations and reinvesting in community based homelessness prevention and extremely low income housing programs, including Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) and Public Housing, the Administration continues to advance its Housing First approach to serve extremely low income families.

The Patrick-Murray Administration has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to combatting homelessness through ongoing reform initiatives and maintaining focus in the face of a historic structural gap between the income of extremely low income families and housing costs exacerbated by the global recession. 

Lessons learned from the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness (ICHH), Regional Networks to End Homelessness and reforms to date, include the transfer of funding for homelessness services and shelter from the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in 2010, have provided critical data to help improve the Massachusetts Short Term Housing Transition Program (HomeBASE), which was launched in FY 2012. 

The underlying design of the reform is based on the following principles:

  • Continue to pursue the Administration’s goals to advance Housing First;
  • Provide cost predictability and cost containment;
  • Provide a responsible emergency shelter safety net;
  • Expand prevention programs and extremely low income housing resources across DHCD by building out its existing infrastructure;
  • Align with new federal housing strategies that focus on rapid rehousing and prevention to be implemented through the HEARTH Act;
  • Eliminate use of motels;
  • Coordinate resources across DHCD Divisions; and,
  • Strengthen ICHH Regional Networks.

The Governor’s FY 2013 budget proposes an even more targeted emergency shelter system and cost efficient investments in community based prevention and housing programs.  These programs will be available to extremely low income families experiencing housing instability which will include income-eligible families who do not qualify for Emergency Shelter.  These resources will support prevention and rapid rehousing efforts to provide a more appropriate and cost effective housing response.

This is a bar chart describing housing investments made in homelessness programming from 2012 through 2015.

Reforms to Housing and Homelessness Programs

The Governor’s FY 2013 budget recommendation proposes the following changes to housing and homelessness programs and reinvestments in community based prevention and extremely low income housing programs.


  • EA Eligibility: Maintain a responsible safety net by targeting the EA Shelter system to families who are truly in emergency situations (lack of housing due to fire or natural disaster, fleeing domestic violence, experiencing a substantial health and safety risk, or evicted through no fault of the family). 
  • HomeBASE: Continue to utilize the household assistance benefit of up to $4,000 to rapidly rehouse and stabilize EA eligible families and to serve families that exited shelter prior to FY 2013 that are receiving HomeBASE rental assistance and stabilization services.
  • RAFT: Redesign this prevention and diversion program, which is capped and waitlisted, to target financial assistance to extremely low income families who are at risk of becoming homeless and help them remain housed.  This would include families previously EA eligible that need assistance due to being asked to leave by a host family, overcrowded and evicted for cause.  Administered through the existing infrastructure at the Housing Consumer Education Centers operated by the Regional Housing Nonprofits, RAFT will use triage and assessment methods to target families most at risk.  The Governor proposes increasing funding for RAFT by $8.5 M, for a total funding level of $8.76 M in order to serve an additional 2,000 families.
  • MRVP: Increase funding for MRVP, a capped and waitlisted program, which provides rental vouchers for extremely low income families, by $10 M to support an additional 800 vouchers.  $1.6 M is dedicated to launch a supportive housing pipeline for families that need additional case management to ensure housing stability.
  • Public Housing: Increase funding by $4 M to support operating expenses of local housing authorities, ensuring units are kept online and stabilizing 48,000 households that currently live in state aided public housing.
  • Home and Healthy for Good: Increase funding by $1 M to support the continued success of providing permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals.
  • Individuals Homeless Assistance: Increase funding by $939,000 to support shelters in the conversion to housing first and rapid rehousing models.

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance ·
For more information email: (617) 727-2040

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