News & Events

Budget Update: State Legislature Upholds Right to Shelter Law – with temporary limits

While all eyes were on House FY25 budget deliberations last Thursday, the House and Senate voted to approve a supplemental FY24 budget directing another $426 million to the emergency shelter system, most of it to cover current year costs.

Highlights include $7 million for refugee resettlement agencies to resettle newly arrived immigrants and refugees; the launch of a state-sponsored workforce training program that includes tax incentives for participating private employers; and the creation of a state commission to recommend improvements to the emergency shelter system.

The final bill also imposes a temporary 9-month time limit on emergency shelter stays, with up to two 90-day extensions for beneficiaries experiencing a broad range of circumstances, including barriers to employment faced by single parents or other guardians caring for young children or disabled family members, and the need to avoid education disruptions for children enrolled in school. Additional “hardship” extensions are also permitted upon certification.

The temporary nature of the time limits—until the end of the shelter crisis—is a victory for MIRA and other advocates who strongly oppose ending the right to shelter in Massachusetts.

As Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues said last Thursday, “It’s important to remember who we’re talking about here, ultimately: families with young children, who deserve nothing more than our help and a path out of the shelter system and into self-sufficiency.” We agree.

The House, for its part, allocated another $335 million dollars for the shelter system in its FY25 budget bill passed last week, rejecting Republican efforts to limit access to shelter for newly arrived immigrants. Senate Ways and Means will propose its version of the FY25 state budget next week.