Policy & Advocacy

About Our Work

Even though homeless families constitute one of the most vulnerable segments of our state’s population, they are virtually invisible to the vast majority of their fellow citizens. They are also among the most underrepresented constituent groups in the halls of government. As a direct service provider to over 2,000 homeless children per week, we see the direct impacts that legislative actions and regulatory policies can have on the families we support. Through our policy and advocacy initiatives, we give homeless children and families a stronger voice in governmental decision-making.

Examples Of Our Work

Through our policy and advocacy initiatives, we improve the lives of homeless children and families by working to reduce the complexity of the Commonwealth’s support systems, and making it easier for families to access critically-needed services. To that end, in 2015 we filed legislation in both the House and Senate to streamline access to child care vouchers for families living in shelters in Massachusetts. As of August 2016, this legislation had advanced; it was successfully referred favorably out of the Joint Committee on Children, Families & Persons with Disabilities, and the Joint Committee on Education.  We will continue to leverage this momentum, and the bill will be refiled in the 2017-2018 legislative session. Stay tuned for updates and opportunities to help us get this important legislation passed into law!

Furthering Our Impact

We partner with legislators to effect systemic changes that reflect the needs of homeless families and the realities they face – from reducing bureaucratic red tape at social service agencies to securing and maintaining funding for early education programs. We’ve welcomed elected officials into our programs to see our work first-hand, including Governor Charlie Baker, Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and more.

 

To further our impact, we have also engaged with statewide coalitions and formed partnerships with agencies including: The On Solid Ground coalition; Homes for Families; Citizens’ Housing and Policy Association (CHAPA); Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care (MADCA); Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; the Massachusetts Head Start Collaboration Office (HSSCO); and the Advisory Council to the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

Horizons' advocacy staff with group for testimony hearing
The number of Homeless families in MA increased
starburst
94%
between Jan. 2007 and 2014
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