Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Help us Bring a Housing Court to Cape Cod and The Islands!

We need your help, we need your voice.

Help us bring a Housing Court to Cape Cod and the Islands!  We need letters of support to go to MA Legislative Budget Conference Committee. You can help us protect women who rent.
(This bill is on CCICSW's priority legislation list for the 2017-2018 legislative session

This is an update on the progress of the Housing Court bill, Cape Cod does NOT have a Housing Court, this is important to women:
  The Housing Court is a layer of protection for women who rent. MA has adopted the key provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and parts are related to issues with landlords. Housing Courts are where women can enforce these protections. The Housing Court has judges and staff with expertise in housing law and who are trained to provide tenants and landlords with a fair court process. Both landlords and tenants can access the resources that only Housing Courts have, including the Tenancy Preservation Program, Lawyer for the Day Programs and Housing Specialists. Homeless can be prevented and municipalities can address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively.


Housing Court Bill Goes to Budget Conference Committee
On May 25, Senate Ways and Chairwoman Senator Spilka made the case on the Senate floor for statewide housing court expansion and an amendment to strike the housing court from the Senate’s budget because of costs was withdrawn. Housing Court expansion advances to the FY2018 Budget Conference Committee thanks to Senator Spilka’s leadership. Thank you to those who reached out to key leaders, if you haven’t given your input it’s not too late. (Note: Bills are also still pending in the Judiciary Committee.)
Budget Negotiations Start Today, Monday, June 5.

The 6-member Budget Conference Committee is led by Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov  and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov. Today, they start negotiations to reconcile the Senate and the House budgets. The other four members are Senators Sal DiDomenico: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov and Vinny deMacedo: Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov  and Reps Stephen Kulik: Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov and Todd Smola: Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov .
Action Needed This Week – Please Help.
  1. Send a letter to the Conference Committee. Use this sample letter or tell your own story.
  2. It is critical that leadership gets a copy of your letter. Please “cc” House Speaker DeLeo Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov and Senate President Rosenberg  Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
  3. If you email your letter to Annette R. Duke, Esq. Housing Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute: ADuke@MLRI.org by Thursday, June 8 at 11 am, she will deliver it to all 8 elected officials that afternoon.
  4. Ask your Rep and Senator to contact leadership and convey how much people in their districts want a Housing Court. It is unfair that some have access to a housing court and others do not.

Welcome New Supporters
Housing Court 4 All Coalition has grown to close to 150 organizations and welcomes:
  • Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • Watertown Health Department
  • Chelsea Fire Fighter Local 937
  • Falmouth Human Services
  • Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Feldman Law, Boston
Please  invite organizations to Join the Growing List of Supporters for Statewide Housing Court.

Contact Annette R. Duke, Esq. Housing Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute: ADuke@MLRI.org   with any questions.