SECTION 1. Chapter 23Bof the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after Section 24B the following:-
Section 24C. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to encourage low-income, disadvantaged families to make progress toward long-term economic success. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) shall coordinate with Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. (ABCD) in launching an initiative that builds on the strength of its multi-service system by providing low-income families with the types of support necessary to put them on a road to self-sufficiency. Built on ABCD’s track record of neighborhood based, comprehensive family support in the City of Boston, the ABCD FamilySTEPS (Services, Tools, Empowerment, Progress Success) Program will create an intensive economic security initiative that offers families a unified program of place-based supports designed to build long-term economic independence and asset building through birth to career education and skills training, employment, basic necessities assistance and financial education.. DHCD will:
1.Assist the ABCD Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Starts, and Central Departments in utilizing shared technology and databases that are used for multiple public and private support services in order to coordinate with each other around assistance to families in need.
2.Support ABCD in engaging in and delivering to families the type of intentional, high impact and integrated interventions that will open up significant opportunities and permanently change behavior over time, greatly increasing participants’ chances of obtaining longer term, high value educational, employment, financial, and health related outcomes.
3.Monitor and track the establishment of standards and services delivered for eligible participants in order to guarantee the progress and success of clients and to assist with replication of the program in other parts of the city and state. The standards for eligibility shall include the following:
a.Families must have young children to promote a multigenerational approach and to insure that households are eligible and to maximize access to the number and scope of ABCD programs, including educational programming such as Head Start, afterschool, or Youth Explorations programs.
b.Families have to be currently accessing or have accessed at least one of ABCD services within the last year.
c.Families have to be at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to insure eligibility for Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) services.
d.Heads of household must be willing and able to pursue educational, financial, or workforce gains.
e.Head of households must be willing to participate voluntarily and agree to comprehensive needs assessment, case management conferences, referrals, and active participation in key ABCD programming.
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