Targeted Investments in Substance Use Treatment, Education, Housing, & COVID-19 Initiatives
BOSTON – Last week, State Representative David Biele joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing its Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21).
Funded at $46 billion, the House budget aims to address the sweeping effects of the global pandemic by making crucial investments in housing, food security, substance use addiction services, education, and economic development.
“During this public health pandemic, I was proud to join my colleagues in passing a budget that supports the most vulnerable in our communities,” said Rep. Biele. “Despite these difficult and unprecedented times, this year’s budget makes crucial investments in programs and services that residents rely on every day for housing stability, food security, education, and mental health and substance addiction treatment.”
Locally, the City of Boston is set to receive $221.9 million in Chapter 70 education funding and $201.1 million in Unrestricted General Government Aid under the House budget. The House budget also includes an additional $53 million allocation for COVID-related student supports.
Due to the pandemic, access to safe and affordable housing for many families across the Commonwealth is threatened and this year’s House budget makes targeted investments into rental and housing assistance to combat the housing and homelessness crisis by providing $50 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition Program (RAFT) and $135 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP).
To provide assistance to those who are battling substance addiction, the budget increased funding for the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services to $162 million while offering continued support for step-down recovery services.
In response to the widespread economic effects of the COVID pandemic, the House budget invests in labor and economic development programs that provide opportunities for the Commonwealth’s workers and its businesses. The budget authorizes $50 million for economic development, including $15 million for local Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $15 million for community development financial institutions and $16 million for grants to support small businesses.
The budget also invests in critical health and human services agencies and providers including $30 million in emergency food assistance.
In order to support programs for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the House budget increases funding for developmental services to $2.1 billion, including $264 million for community day and work programs, $236 million for residential services and $39 million for autism omnibus services.
The House budget calls for $302 million in spending for environmental programs, which aim protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources, including $50 million for state parks and recreation.
The budget is now with the Senate.