Chapter 121B of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 60. (a) The department shall establish a program for state assisted housing pursuant to this chapter to provide residents increased opportunities to become self-sufficient. The program shall provide applicants for so-called chapter 200 housing a faster means to secure an apartment and become self-sufficient.
(b) The department shall promulgate rules, regulations and guidelines for intensive case management for the program to be administered for chapter 200 housing throughout the commonwealth. These regulations shall include but not be limited to: (1) a comprehensive 5-part personal and family assessment including assessment of the families’: (i) finances and financial literacy; (ii) health; (iii) education level; (iv) occupational history and readiness; and (v) personal or family challenges and (2) a family development plan developed in cooperation between the resident and a housing authority case manager.
(c) Adult public housing residents who agree to participate in the program shall work or attend school 30 hours per week as a condition of continued receipt of housing benefits. Residents who fail to participate shall be subject to lease enforcement including eviction.
(d) Adult participants in the program and all adult household members that are not performing 30 weekly hours of school or work, shall perform community service. For each such hour not performed, the adult shall perform one-half hour of community service; provided, however, that participants can combine their weekly school and work hours to count towards this requirement. The department shall promulgate regulations to implement the requirements of this program and shall set forth guidelines for community service that include, but are not limited to: assigning the community service work to be performed that may include exterior work such as picking up trash, raking leaves, cleaning stairwells, light landscape or office work such as filing, photocopying and customer service.
(e) Employed residents in the program shall be enrolled in an escrow program which shall place any increased rent, due to their employment, aside for their future use or in an income disregard program established by the department to immediately accelerate debt reduction.
(f) All adult residents who fulfill the school or work requirement shall participate in a comprehensive training program designed to gain needed skills to improve their lives and to become a constructive member of the larger community. Training shall include subject matter relating to financial literacy, domestic violence, conflict resolution, parenting and other topics.
(g) All school aged children, of residents fulfilling the school or work requirement, shall attend school on a regular basis and not exceed the guidelines for absences set by the local school district for their family to continue to receive public housing benefits.
(h) Applicants for the program may submit an application with the department and shall receive a priority for placement. The department shall promulgate and implement regulations to administer this program on a state-wide basis. The regulations shall implement the following requirements:
(i) applicants for the program can expect to be offered an apartment by a housing authority quicker than applicants on a standard public housing waiting list; provided, however, that criteria for admission into a state subsidized public housing apartment shall apply and the process for application and review of said application will be the same as currently exists;
(ii) all of the rules and regulations governing occupancy of chapter 200 state assisted housing existing as of the effective date of this section shall apply; provided, however, that the resident shall agree to a lease addendum that outlines the requirements of the program; and
(iii) participants in the program shall pay the standard rent required of all housing authority residents based on their income. All other costs including security deposit and first and last month’s rent that apply to standard applicants shall apply to participants of this program.
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