State’s rental assistance program wants $87.5 million in funding

BOSTON (WWLP) – Homeless families and shelter providers gathered at the State House to ask lawmakers for a $30 million dollar increase in funding for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program. The program helps very low income families pay their rent, as well as creates more affordable housing units for homeless people. The Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program assists more than 7,000 low income families. The program currently receives nearly $58 million in state funding, but shelter providers say it’s not helping homeless families move from shelters and hotels into homes.

“The need is so big and for so long we have identified temporary short term solutions, MRVP is a permanent solution that’s cheaper than shelter and is so much better for families,” said Diane Sullivan from Homes for Families.

Shelter providers say that increased homelessness in the state has created a bed shortage causing families to stay in hotels, costing the state more than $75 million a year.

Libby Hayes with Homes with Families said, “just increasing shelter beds alone won’t get us out of motels and just increasing housing subsidies won’t get us out of motels, but if we do both of these things together we actually have a chance of making that vision of reality.”

The group says the average monthly income of families seeking vouchers is $900. Without the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program, these families would be at risk of homelessness. Homes for Families says the extra $30 million would help approximately 3,000 more families move from shelters and hotels into permanent homes.

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