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Tell Mayor Walsh: 
Fund Housing Vouchers for the Homeless!
Support Housing, Not Warehousing! 
Homelessness in Boston is on the rise!
Urgent action needed NOW!
 
According to the Boston's 2015 Annual Homeless Census there were 7,663 people experiencing homelessness in Boston. In January, Boston was found to have the highest rate of economic inequality in the United States and is also one of the most rapidly gentrifying cities in the Country. Without urgent yet sustainable action the number of residents experiencing homelessness will only increase. In response, a broad coalition of housing and community groups have proposed a city-funded voucher program, to provide “Housing First” for people experiencing homelessness in Boston. 

A City Funded Housing First Voucher Program Would: 
  • Be a meaningful avenue to permanent housing for Boston residents experiencing homelessness. Currently, there are 38,000 people on the Boston Housing Authority's waitlist. Even with "priority status" residents experiencing homelessness have to wait years before receiving a housing voucher and even then they may not be able to attain housing as voucher amounts do not meet Boston's market-rate rent. A city-funded voucher would allow the BHA to set “payment standards” to landlords up to 130% of  HUD’s Fair Market Rent (FMR), making it easier for renters to find housing in gentrifying Boston. The Mayor's current allocation of $900,000 for "rapid rehousing rental assistance" only covers first and last month's rent, which is only a temporary solution with the incredibly high cost of rent in Boston. City Vouchers would be a more permanent solution. 
  • Meet Boston’s rental housing needs.  A City Voucher program would help address the low-income renter needs identified in the Mayor’s Housing Plan.  More than 60% of Boston’s residents are below 50% of Area Median Income and would qualify. It would ensure a net increase in low income housing by providing an alternative source for the 1,700 low income subsidies the Plan proposes for new housing by converting federal BHA vouchers to project-based vouchers. It would also help offset the reduction in federal and state vouchers to Boston since 2010.
  • Reduce shelter overcrowding.  25% of people experiencing homelessness in Boston are employed. By providing Housing First for the many homeless able to stand on their own two feet, City Vouchers would open up shelter space for the many people currently forced to sleep on floors or the streets. City Vouchers would realize the objectives and ensure the success of the City’s Action Plan to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness.  
  •  A City-funded Voucher program will save money by reducing public safety, health and social service costs.  A recent HUD study confirmed that providing rental Vouchers for Housing First is at least as cost-effective in reducing homelessness as either emergency shelters or supportive housing.
  • For more information click here
At our request, City Councilors sponsored a hearing on March 21. Following amazing turn out and moving testimony, 9 councilors, led by Council President Wu and Housing Chair Zakim, submitted a letter to Mayor Walsh in support of including $5 million in the budget for the voucher program to house between 350 and 400 individual residents and families in Boston.

Unfortunately, Mayor Walsh did not include the funding for the city-funded voucher program in his draft FY2017 budget. The final budget is not complete, so there is still time to convince the Mayor to include the necessary funds. 
Please join us in taking action for
a City-Funded Housing First Voucher Program to house
Boston residents experiencing homelessness!
It will take only a few minutes to take action and contact the Mayor, all four At-Large Councilors and your Councilor to request $5 million be included in the FY17 budget for a City Funded Housing Voucher Program to provide permanent housing for up to 400 families and individual Boston residents. Click here to find out who your District Councilor is. Clicking on the Mayor's and Councilors' names will bring up an email requesting the inclusion of funds for the program; you will need to insert your name, neighborhood, shelter or organization, and contact info. Please feel free to include personal testimony or specific reasons you feel the program should be implemented.

If you are contacting the Mayor and your Councilors by phone, or the click through to email them isn't working a script and contact info can be found here. Please remember to ask for them to return you call, and when contacting the Mayor request a case number. Also, please let us know here when you have reached out and if you receive a response here, via email or by calling one of the folks listed at the bottom of this email. 
Contact Mayor Marty Walsh and ask him to include $5million in his 2017 budget for the program.
Mayor Marty Walsh (617)635-4500
Contact all four At-Large Councilors as well as your District Councilor, if they are included below, to thank them for their support and encourage them to continue to advocate for a city-funded housing voucher program. 
 
At Large Councilors: 
City Council President Michelle Wu (
617)635-3115
Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George (617)635-4376
Councilor Ayanna Pressley (617)635-4217
Councilor Michael Flaherty (617)635-4205

District 3: Councilor Frank Baker (617)635-3455
District 4: Councilor Andrea Campbell (617)635-3131 
District 6: Councilor Matt O’Malley (617)635-4220
District 7: Councilor Tito Jackson (617)635-3510
District 8: Councilor Josh Zakim (617)635-4225
If your District Councilor is listed below, please contact them and encourage them to support and advocate for a city-funded housing voucher program.

District 1: Councilor Salvatore LaMattina (617)635-3200
District 2: Councilor Bill Linehan (617)635-3203
District 5: Councilor Timothy McCarthy  (617)635-4210
District 9: Councilor Mark Ciommo (617)635-3113 
For more info, contact:
Michael Kane, MA Alliance of HUD Tenants: (617)522-5133
Cassie Hurd, Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee: (617)817-7785
Ronda Jackson, Save our Section 8 / City Policy Committee (857)266-4766
Facebook Event     Full Documents & Information     #BOSCITYVOUCHER
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Boston Homeless Solidarity Committee · 9A Hamilton Place · Boston, MA 02108 · USA

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