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Wicked Local: Coalition to Push for Khan’s Bill to Help Teens, Low-Income Get Careers

From Wicked Local Newton

 

Coalition to Push for Khan’s Bill to Help Teens, Low-Income Get Careers

 

By Michael P. Norton
State House News Service

January 10, 2013

 

Boston — Supporters of legislation aimed at enabling more Massachusetts families to achieve economic self-sufficiency say only six states have fewer public assistance participants enrolled in education and training programs.

 

Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) on Thursday indicated a coalition, including organizations falling under the umbrella Workforce Solutions Group, will push for passage this session of the “career pathways” bill.

 

Bill supporters say pilot efforts linked to the state’s network of education and vocational programs will help more low-income and teen parents to gain skills they need to obtain higher paying jobs.

 

Under the bill, pilot programs would be administered by the Commonwealth Corporation under an agreement with the Department of Transitional Assistance, and at least 40 percent of participants would be recipients of benefits under the state’s Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program.

 

The Workforce Solutions Group, which includes the Crittenton Women’s Union, the Mass. AFL-CIO and the Mass. Business Roundtable, says Massachusetts workers with only a high school diploma earn about half as much as individuals with a college degree, or $42,863 per year versus $80,611 per year.

 

The group estimates that 85 percent of TAFDC participants have a high school diploma or less, and says state investments in education and training for TAFDC participants have declined from $36.2 million in fiscal 2002 to $7.9 million currently. According to Workforce Solutions Group, Massachusetts directs only 1 percent of its state and federal welfare funding to “work-related activities” to TAFDC recipients, ranking it in the bottom quarter of states.


Click here to read the full article.

 

 

State House News Service: Welfare Ranking, Funding Cuts Cited in Push for “Pathways” Bill

From the State House News Service


Welfare Ranking, Funding Cuts Cited in Push for “Pathways” Bill

 

By Michael P. Norton
January 10, 2013

 

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JAN. 10, 2013…..Supporters of legislation aimed at enabling more Massachusetts families to achieve economic self-sufficiency say only six states have fewer public assistance participants enrolled in education and training programs.

Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) on Thursday indicated a coalition, including organizations falling under the umbrella Workforce Solutions Group, will push for passage this session of the “career pathways” bill.

Bill supporters say pilot efforts linked to the state’s network of education and vocational programs will help more low-income and teen parents to gain skills they need to obtain higher paying jobs.

Under the bill, pilot programs would be administered by the Commonwealth Corporation under an agreement with the Department of Transitional Assistance, and at least 40 percent of participants would be recipients of benefits under the state’s Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) program.

The Workforce Solutions Group, which includes the Crittenton Women’s Union, the Mass. AFL-CIO and the Mass. Business Roundtable, says Massachusetts workers with only a high school diploma earn about half as much as individuals with a college degree, or $42,863 per year versus $80,611 per year.

The group estimates that 85 percent of TAFDC participants have a high school diploma or less, and says state investments in education and training for TAFDC participants have declined from $36.2 million in fiscal 2002 to $7.9 million currently. According to Workforce Solutions Group, Massachusetts directs only 1 percent of its state and federal welfare funding to “work-related activities” to TAFDC recipients, ranking it in the bottom quarter of states.

Khan told the News Service she hopes a $2 million investment during the upcoming budget process would get pilot programs started.

“I think there will be an interest during the budget process to try to put some of that money back,” she said, adding that she was encouraged by the turnout at a briefing on her bill Thursday.

About 122,000 adults and children received TAFDC assistance in May 2012, with benefits ranging from $300 to $500 a month for a total cost of about $325 million, according to the Workforce Solutions Group.

In addition to Khan, the bill’s supporters include Rep. Thomas Conroy of Wayland and Sens. Eileen Donoghue of Lowell and Ken Donnelly of Arlington.

Senate President Therese Murray last week identified welfare reform and closing loopholes as a priority issue in the new session. Murray said Massachusetts “became a leader in welfare reform” in 1995 by setting work or education requirements that helped cut the number of recipients in half.

 

Click here to access the full article.

“Pathways to Family Success” Bill Briefing

“Pathways to Family Success” Bill Briefing

 

  • Thursday, January 10th
  • 11:30am
  • State House Room 350

 
Chairwoman Khan will be holding a State House briefing on the “Pathways to Family Success”  bill that Crittenton Women’s Union and the Workforce Solutions Group have been working on.

 

Please feel free to bring families from your programs and ask elected representatives you have relationships with to attend.

 

Click here to access a DRAFT the updated draft bill language and a DRAFT FAQ.

WBUR: Massachusetts Making New Push To Add To Housing Stock

From WBUR.com

Massachusetts Making New Push To Add To Housing Stock

 

By The Associated Press
November 14, 2012

 

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is unveiling new initiatives that he says will help create an additional 10,000 multi-family units of housing in Massachusetts each year.

 

Patrick said one of the initiatives is designed to provide financial incentives to cities and towns that plan to build residential housing near public transportation and town centers.

 

The administration also announced progress in finding affordable housing for homeless veterans. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray said there’s been a 21 percent decline in the number of homeless veterans in Massachusetts over the past year.

 

Patrick said the administration has also made what he called significant investments in the Commonwealth’s public housing stock.

 

Patrick said the state has preserved and improved 46,000 public housing units through increased capital funding, increased operating subsidies, and changes in management.

Public Information and Listening Session on Supportive Housing MOU

Please join a public information and listening session regarding the implementation of An Act Relative to Community Housing and Services

 

  • October 17, 2012
  • 4:00pm -5:00pm
  • Gardner Auditorium at the State House.

 

At this session, Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein and Assistant Secretary Marilyn Anderson Chase will provide background on the effort to date and an overview of key components that will be included in the interagency MOU mandated by the legislation. After that presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to offer feedback and guidance on this initiative.

 

Contact Laila Bernstein to identify if you have a need for an ASL interpreter or a CART reporter by October 11th. If you are unable to attend and would like to submit input about the implementation of this legislation, please send your feedback to Laila.Bernstein@state.ma.us by October 17th at 5pm.

State House News — Rental Protections for Abuse Victims Gaining Steam in House

Rental Protections for Abuse Victims Gaining Steam in House

 

By Colleen Quinn, State House News Service

State House News Service

Posted Aug 24, 2012 @ 08:21 AM

 

Boston — Victims of domestic violence will have greater leeway to end their rental leases to protect their safety without fear of financial penalty under a bill moving toward passage in the Legislature.

 

Domestic violence victims, as well as rape, sexual assault and stalking victims will be able to end their leases if the violent act against them occurred within three months of them giving written notice of their intent to leave.

 

The three month stipulation for ending a lease was included in the bill to alleviate landlords’ fears that domestic violence victims could move on short notice even if the abuse they suffered happened well in the past, according to domestic violence victim advocates.

 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), was unanimously approved by the Senate on July 30, the day before formal legislative sessions ended. House lawmakers gave it initial approval on Monday, during an informal session when any one lawmaker can block a bill.

 

Those who work with domestic violence victims said they have fought for nearly a decade to change lease laws to give abuse victims more freedom to move. Lifting restrictions on leases for abuse victims will remove a barrier to leaving a dangerous situation, they said.

 

Typically, in most rental contracts and leases, a tenant who breaks a lease early can be held liable to pay rent for the months remaining on the agreement.

 

Suzanne Dubus, chief executive officer at the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center that helps victims of domestic violence in the Merrimack Valley , said often an abuse victim will stay with their abuser if the landlord would hold both parties responsible for the payout on the lease. The possibility of paying rent for an apartment they no longer live in makes leaving unaffordable for most abuse victims, she said.

 

“This will give survivors options. To leave an abusive relationship is already tough enough, and to pile on to that financial penalties… It is not going to be a panacea. What it does is take away another obstacle,” Dubus said.

 

This is the closest the legislation has ever come to passing, advocates said. Landlords groups have fought the changes for years.

 

At lease twelve other states have similar laws, Creem said on the Senate floor before the bill passed.

 

Maureen Gallagher, policy director at Jane Doe Inc., a statewide coalition that helps domestic violence victims, said there are many landlords in the state who are sympathetic to the plights of abuse victims and will not hold them to their leases.


Click here to read the full article.

Governor signs Jobs Bill including $5 Million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund

Great News from our friends at Crittenton Women’s Union

 

Governor signs Jobs Bill including $5 Million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund

Great news!  On August 7th, Governor Deval Patrick signed, “An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth.” The legislation will increase economic development and create jobs in the Commonwealth’s key sectors of innovation and infrastructure.

 

In the area of workforce training and education, the legislation includes $5 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, which prepares Massachusetts residents for new jobs in high-demand occupations and which helps to close the middle-skills gap and create seamless pathways to employment.

 

We applaud Governor Patrick, Chairman Wagner, Senator Donnelly and the many other hard working members of the legislature and its leadership for passage of this bill.  Thanks to all who made calls and voiced support for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund.

 

Jobs Bill Action Alert from the Workforce Solutions Group

Great News~ The Massachusetts Jobs Bill is On the Move

The Senate Committee on Bonding reported the House Jobs bill out favorably last Friday and it is now before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The Senate bill number is S-2346 and the House bill is H-4119.

$10 million in funding for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund has been included in the bill but only through the consolidated budget surplus.  We are seeking a direct appropriation for this important job training fund which partners with employers, community colleges and voc-tech schools to train people for vacant jobs.

CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY to request a $10 million direct appropriation for the WCTF.    If you don’t reach them, leave a message with staff including Who You Are, Where You Live/Work, and that you are calling in support of a $10 direct appropriation for the WCTF.

Current provisions in both S-2346 and H-4119:

  • $10M in funding for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund from the consolidated budget surplus
  • Allows for WCTF funding to support Regional Centers of Excellence aligned with the state’s economic development agenda
  • Provides for the regular review of local and regional labor market data to development regional workforce development plans
  • Provides for baseline report on middle-skill training completion and credential attainment rates in the Commonwealth

 

 

Boston Globe article featuring WCTF job training partnerships. 

HUD Posts Interim Continuum of Care Rule

The Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 consolidates HUD’s competitive homelessness assistance grant programs into one new “Continuum of Care (CoC) Program.” The interim rule posted on the HUDHRE website over the weekend focuses on regulatory implementation of the new CoC Program, including the CoC Program planning process.

 

HUD expects the regulation to be published in the Federal Register in the coming week. The interim regulation will be effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. CoC Program recipients and subrecipients are reminded that the final Homeless Definition is in effect for administration of the CoC Program interim rule.

 

To assist CoCs, stakeholders, recipients and subrecipients in the successful implementation of the new consolidated program a number of resources are available on the HUDHRE website. Additional resources will be available in the coming weeks.

 

Learn more

DHCD Issues Memo on Changes to EA

On July 9th the Department of Housing and Community Development issued a memo outlining the implementation timing for Emergency Assistance eligibility changes included in the FY 13 budget.

 

Components of the new EA line item include:

Eligibility:

  • EA income eligibility remains 115% of FPL and is now limited to the following categories of eligibility:
  1. Families at risk of domestic violence in current housing or homeless because of domestic violence
  2. Families who are homeless due to fire, flood, or natural disaster
  3. Families who were evicted from their housing for specific reasons.
  4. Families who are living in places not meant for human habitation or are doubled up in housing that poses a substantial health and safety risk to the family

 

Other Components of the EA line item: 

  • Families who exit shelter within 32 weeks will be eligible for re-housing assistance (up to $4,000) from HomeBASE
  • Families who stay longer than 32 weeks will no longer be eligible for re-housing assistance and will need to create a shelter exit plan
  • 16 week housing placement goal
  • Access limited to Massachusetts residents
  • Emergency shelter and over-flow motel/hotel shelters have now been divided into two separate line items
  • DHCD must enter into 7month shelter contracts with providers for shelter and stabilization services.

 

The memo addresses timing of the eligibility changes.   Effective Immediately, only Massachusetts residents will be eligible for EA shelter.  All other eligibility changes are subject to 60-day legislative review.  Please see the DHCD memo for more information.