On Springfield

Fighting for Homeless Families

A rally is planned today to protest proposed regulations for families seeking emergency shelter—regulations that Arise for Social Justice calls the state’s “biggest attack on homeless families to date.”

Activists will gather at noon outside Gov. Deval Patrick’s Springfield office, at 436 Dwight St., to speak out against the proposed Dept. of Housing and Community Development rules. Those regulations would place strict eligibility limits on the department’s emergency assistance shelter program for families. According to an analysis by the Mass. Coalition for the Homeless, the rules would deny shelter to families living in places like bus stations and those who’ve lost apartments through certain no-fault evictions, among many others. (For more information on the specifics, click here.)

The proposed regulations were issued by DHCD earlier this month and are set to go into effect in mid September. Advocates for affected families are hoping Patrick and state legislators will step up to stop their implementation and are asking allies to contact their state senators and reps (to find their contact info, enter their name or your zip code or town in the “find a legislator” box here) and the governor’s office (1-888-870-7770) to voice their unhappiness with the proposal.

With the end of the legislative session approaching next week, activists are also hoping lawmakers will address the issue through a supplemental budget request. Late yesterday, a group of sympathetic state reps filed an amendment that would increase funding for the emergency assistance program and would keep the proposed regulations from taking effect.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate