Seeking written testimony on behalf of House Bill 79/Senate Bill 286, an Act providing immediate childcare assistance to homeless families, in preparation for hearings that will take place this fall.
We are encouraged with the tremendous support for this legislation, which has garnered over 40 co-sponsors across the House and the Senate.
The goal of this bill is to reinstate a former policy providing immediate access to childcare for children and families experiencing homelessness.
This, as you know, would help thousands of families across Massachusetts stabilize during times of crisis, and ensure children are able to access opportunities for early childhood education/School Age care without interruption or delay.
When this Immediate Access policy was formerly in place, our annual survey of family shelters across Massachusetts documented that the number of homeless children with access to early education and care rose from 47% in 2007 to 64% in 2008.
With this policy reinstated, we will be able to help families on their paths to achieve economic stability, and to ensure the long-term well-being of their children.
This bill is critically important as we work to address the crisis of family homelessness in Massachusetts, and to ensure that children experiencing homelessness and housing instability do not miss out on fundamentally important early learning experiences.
Will You Help Us Gather Voices?
In preparation for the second and final hearing for this legislation –the Senate version was heard by the Joint Committee on Education two weeks ago – which will be for the House version, with the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities (date TBD)– we would like to collect written testimony on the bill’s behalf from constituents across the state.
We are working with our partners at Liberty Square Group, who will be happy to speak with interested individuals via telephone to actually craft the testimony.
Once they draft it, they would send it back for review and approval to be submitted in advance of the actual hearing date.
Please let me know if you are willing to speak on behalf of the value that legislation like this would have on them/those they serve. (We are working with Committee staff to identify the exact date of the hearing, and will get you that information as soon as we have it!).
Please share this request, as we would like to have as much upfront support for this bill as possible.
I am happy to answer any of your questions/speak further about next steps.
Emily Levine, director of Policy & Advocacy
Horizons for Homeless Children
1705 Columbus Avenue
Roxbury, MA 02119