The On Solid Ground Coalition is determined to focus on housing stability and economic mobility, instead of the short-term goal of reducing shelter numbers. This can help thousands of families to avoid the need for shelter, and prevent families in shelter to re-enter shelter in the future.
Progress is possible!
On Solid Ground takes effort to foster partnerships between low-income families, service providers, employers, property owners, federal and state government, and philanthropic communities. The Coalition aims to improve system coordination that will increase the number of families who are on solid ground.
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Legislative Agenda for 2019-2020
On Solid Ground priority legislation will help families navigate through multiple state agencies and benefit programs, increase access to necessary support services through data sharing and provide a path of economic mobility for families across the Commonwealth.
An Act Relative to Economic Mobility for Families with Low-Income (HD.2519/ SD.910)
Filed by Rep. Aaron Vega & Sen. Jason Lewis
This bill directs the Secretariats to study the impacts of minimum wage increases on cliff effects and accordingly make changes in assistance programs to avoid the cliffs. The bill also makes data and information around economic mobility and assistance programs more accessible to families so that they are better informed and can benefit from the available resources.
An Act Providing for Coordinated Data and Assistance to Address Family Homelessness (SD.1433)
Filed by Sen. Comerford
This bill increases data transparency and system coordination by directing state agencies to report on certain homelessness related measures and their current system coordination efforts to improve access to support services to families. The bill also makes benefit program information more accessible to families through an agency telephone hotline and website.
Click here for Fact sheet on On Solid Ground’s main legislative priority.
Current Budget Efforts
Legislative Agenda for 2017-2018
An Act Relative to the Economic Mobility and Stability Program(H.3020 / S.724)
Sponsor: Rep. Aaron Vega & Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
This legislation encourages data sharing and evidence based policy by creating a commission to study self-sufficiency programs across the state to help shape an economic mobility and financial stability program.
The Economic Mobility bill was reported out favorably from the Joint Committee on Housing. It is currently pending in the House and Senate Committee on Rules. Click here to see talking points on the bill.
An Act Relative to Interagency Efforts to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness (H.2245 / S.725)
Sponsor: Rep. Byron Rushing & Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
This legislation creates a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between multiple state agencies to provide a structure for concrete interagency work through data sharing and regular meetings.
The MOU bill is pending in the Joint Committee on Housing.
An Act Improving Public Health through a Common Application for Core Food, Health and Safety-Net Programs (H.101 / S.612)
Sponsor: Rep. Jay Livingstone & Sen. Sal DiDomenico
This bill will increase access to vital social safety-net programs by creating a common application for these resources which will allow individuals to apply in one place for programs including MassHealth, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), income supports, veteran’s services benefits, and housing resources. The bill is pending in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. The Committee is awaiting a feasibility report to evaluate impact of the bill.
An Act Financing the Production & Preservation of Housing for Low & Moderate Income Residents (H.2368)
Sponsor: Rep. Kevin Honan & Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
This legislation invests $1.7 billion in an affordable housing bond bill. This five-year authorization will provide critical funding for the production, preservation, and modernization of public and affordable housing in communities across the Commonwealth.
Housing Bond Bill has been passed by the House and Senate with a few additions to the Senate version and and currently awaiting a Conference Committee to be appointed that will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.
An Act Relative to the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (S.719)
Sponsor: Sen. Jamie Eldridge
This bill codifies the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) into the General Laws. Currently, MRVP is only authorized through the annual state budget. Codifying the program will create a more permanent authorization and allow for a more deliberative process through legislation to improve the program as it grows.
The MRVP bill is also pending in the Joint Committee on Housing.
An Act Providing Immediate Child Care Assistance to Homeless Families (H.2796 / S.257)
Sponsor: Rep. Marjorie Decker, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
This legislation will allow families living in homeless shelters to immediately qualify for state-funded child care vouchers, providing children with subsidized early education and parents with a safe environment to leave their children while they pursue employment opportunities.
Childcare Assistance House bill was reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. It is currently pending in the House Ways and Means Committee.
An Act to lift the cap on kids (H.85 / S.34) Sponsored by Rep. Marjorie Decker & Sen. Sal DiDomenico The Cap on Kids – sometimes called the Family Cap – denies welfare benefits to children conceived while – or soon after – the family received assistance. Welfare benefits are very low – $578/month for a family of three, but only $478 if one of the children is excluded by the Cap on Kids. This legislation lifts this cap on kids and increases the access to welfare benefits for families.
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