Governor Lamont’s Budget Proposal Preserves and Expands Critical Homeless Programs – Pauses New Affordable Housing Bond Authorizations
February 20, 2019
The Governor’s proposed 2019-2020 budget preserves and expands critical programs that prevent and end homelessness.
“Governor Lamont’s budget released today provides critical resources for those who need a safe, secure, affordable home despite the tremendous budget constraints faced by the state. The budget preserves and expands essential programs for statewide efforts to end homelessness. The Governor has demonstrated that he, like our legislative colleagues, understands and supports the importance of ending homelessness in both fiscal and human terms improving the overall economic growth of the state.” said Kiley Gosselin, Executive Director of Partnership for Strong Communities.
The Governor’s biennial budget totals $21.2 billion for FY 20 and $21.9 billion for FY 21. The budget seeks to close a projected deficit of $1.5 billion in FY 20 and $2.2 billion in FY 21. It includes expenditure reductions of $270 million in FY20 and $480 million in FY 21. The capital budget provides $944 million in new authorizations FY20 and $977 million in FY 21; a reduction of over 40% compared to recent years. There are no new bond authorizations for the Department of Housing’s Affordable Housing Flex Fund or the Housing Trust Fund, with the Governor calling for the spend-down of the existing authorizations. Currently, there remains $71 million in the Housing Trust Fund, $147 million in Flex funding, and 12.1 million in the Homelessness Prevention and Response Fund. The budget continues to support vital services and supports for individuals experiencing or facing homelessness, and expands supportive housing through the proposal of a new Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit.
Budget Proposals Include:
Department of Housing
• Funding for the Housing/Homeless Services at $79.4 million in FY 20 and $84.8 million in FY 21. The increase is largely for implementing a Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit for High Cost High Need Individuals and Rental Assistance Vouchers for DSS’ long term care rebalancing strategy.
• A Medicaid Supportive Housing Benefit for High Cost, High Need Individuals FY 20 $459,200 and $2,258,300 for FY 21. Under this proposal, a 1915(i) state plan home and community-based services benefit will be developed that will serve up to 850 individuals who experience homelessness. Transition and tenancy-sustaining supports have been found to be effective at achieving housing stability as well as improved health, community integration and life satisfaction.
• Rental Assistance vouchers to support the Department of Social Services' Long-Term Care Rebalancing Strategy at $239,120 for FY 20 and $1,324,680 for FY 21. Provides funding to support housing vouchers for individuals who will transition out of institutional care. The funding is provided to achieve savings and support the Department of Social Services' rebalancing strategy.
• A reallocation of the Community Investment Account Funding to the General Fund and an appropriation in the amount of $2,480,415 for FY 20 and $2,480,415 for FY 21 to a new line item called Homeless Supports providing General Fund support for Coordinated Access Networks, the 2-1-1 Info line, cold weather protocol and grants.
• Preservation of the Homeless Youth Program funding at $2.3 million each year of the biennium.
• No new bond authorizations for the Housing Trust Fund, or the Affordable Housing (FLEX) Fund.
Department of Development Services
Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
Department of Social Services
Department of Corrections
Office of Early Childhood
Department of Transportation
Department of Economic and Community Development
Office of Policy and Management