Governor Charles D. Baker's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2016

7004-0101 - Emergency Assistance Family Shelters and Services




Account Description FY 2015
Spending
FY 2016
House 1
7004-0101 Emergency Assistance Family Shelters and Services
For certain expenses of the emergency assistance program under section 30 of chapter 23B of the General Laws; provided, that eligibility shall be limited to families with incomes at or below 115 per cent of the 2011 or later-issued higher federal poverty level; provided further, that any family whose income exceeds 115 per cent of the federal poverty level while the family is receiving assistance funded by this item shall not become ineligible for assistance due to exceeding the income limit for a period of 6 months from the date that the income level was exceeded; provided further, that families that shall be eligible for assistance throughout a temporary emergency family shelter shall include: (a) families that are at risk of domestic abuse in their current housing situation or who are homeless because they fled domestic violence and have not had access to safe, permanent housing since leaving the housing situation in which they fled; (b) families that, through no fault of their own, are homeless due to fire, flood or natural disaster; (c) families that, through no fault of their own, have been subject to eviction from their most recent housing due to: (i) foreclosure; (ii) condemnation; (iii) conduct by a guest or former household member who is not part of the household seeking emergency shelter and over whose conduct the remaining household members had no control; or (iv) nonpayment of rent caused by a documented medical condition or diagnosed disability or caused by a documented loss of income within the last 12 months directly as a result of a change in household composition or a loss of income source through no fault of the family; (d) families who are in a housing situation where they are not the primary lease holder or who are in a housing situation not meant for human habitation and where there is a substantial health and safety risk to the family that is likely to result in significant harm should the family remain in such housing situation; provided further, that clauses (iii) and (iv) of 760 CMR 67.06(1)(f)6.d shall not apply in fiscal year 2016; provided further, that the health and safety risk shall be determined by the department of children and families through risk assessments; provided further, that a family who receives emergency housing assistance due to domestic abuse shall be connected to the appropriate social service agency; provided further, that temporary assistance under this item shall be terminated upon the offer of available housing or other assistance sufficient to maintain or stabilize housing; provided further, that a family may not decline an offer for available housing if the offer adequately accommodates the size and disabilities of the family and the new housing placement shall not result in a job loss for the client; provided further, that any family that declines an adequate offer of available housing or other assistance sufficient to maintain or stabilize housing shall become ineligible for assistance from this item; provided further, that families receiving benefits under this item shall have 30 per cent of their income set aside in a savings account, subject to reasonable exceptions as set forth in departmental regulations in effect in fiscal year 2015; provided further, that the amount saved shall be exempt from otherwise applicable asset limits; provided further, that families receiving emergency assistance shall receive housing search assistance that attempts to facilitate a sustainable housing placement in a new sustainable tenancy or in a safe residence, including, but not limited to, a placement for which the family is not the primary lease holder, as soon as possible; provided further, that benefits under this item shall be provided only to residents of the commonwealth of Massachusetts who are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence or otherwise permanently residing under color of the law in the United States; provided further, that the department shall take all necessary steps to enforce the regulations to prevent abuse of the emergency assistance program, including a wage match agreement with the department of revenue; provided further, that eligibility for shelter by an otherwise eligible family shelter shall not be impaired by prior receipt of any non-shelter benefit; provided further, that an eligible household that is approved for shelter placement shall be placed in a shelter as close as possible to the household's home community unless a household requests otherwise; provided further, that if the closest available placement is not within 20 miles of the household's home community, the household shall be transferred to an appropriate shelter within 20 miles of its home community at the earliest possible date unless the household requests otherwise; provided further, that the department shall notify local school departments of the placement of a family in its district within 5 days of placement; provided further, that the department shall make every effort to ensure that children receiving services from this item shall continue attending school in the community in which they lived prior to receiving services funded from this item; provided further, that the department shall use its best efforts to ensure that a family placed by the emergency assistance program shall be provided with access to refrigeration and basic cooking facilities; provided further, that should a family with a child under the age of 3 be placed in a hotel or motel, the department of housing and community development shall ensure that the hotel or motel provides a crib for each child under the age of 3 that meets all the state and federal safety codes; provided further, that notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, the department shall immediately provide shelter for up to 30 days to families who appear to be eligible for such shelter based on statements provided by the family and any other information in the possession of the department, but who need additional time to obtain any third-party verifications reasonably required by the department; provided further, that this item shall be subject to appropriation and, in the event of a deficiency, nothing in this item shall give rise to or shall be construed as giving rise to any enforceable right or entitlement to services in excess of the amounts appropriated; provided further that no funds shall be expended for personnel or administrative costs; provided further, that no funds shall be expended for costs associated with the homeless management information system; provided further, that the department shall endeavor to convert scattered site units to congregate units and, as allowed by demand, reduce the overall number of shelter beds through the reduction of scattered site units; and provided further, that funds shall be expended for expenses incurred as a result of families being housed in hotels due to the unavailability of contracted shelter beds
184,399,718 154,873,948

Established appropriation to support new initiative.

 
 


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