On April 11, 2012, the House Committee on Ways and Means released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY 13). This follows the Governor’s budget proposal released in January, which is referred to as House 2, and precedes debate by the full House of Representatives during the week of April 23 and the Senate budget process in May.
House Ways and Means includes the Governor’s proposals to increase funding for two housing related programs but proposes significant new restrictions on access to emergency shelter for homeless families with children, eliminates a $40 per month rent allowance for families trying to keep up with private market rents, and would prevent cash assistance recipients from using their benefits to pay rent and to buy other necessities. These and other proposals such as cutting in half the $150 annual children’s clothing allowance will harm the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents. If allowed to stand, these provisions will drive Massachusetts families deeper into poverty and swell the ranks of homeless families in the Commonwealth.
The attached summary and analysis, prepared by the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, discusses these issues, as well as selected Housing and Homelessness, Cash and Nutrition Assistance, Health, Child Welfare, and Child Care items in the budget proposal.