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HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1523         FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 100

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Danielle W. Gregoire

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To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act removing barriers to emergency shelter.

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PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Danielle W. Gregoire

4th Middlesex


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 1523        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 100

By Miss Gregoire of Marlborough, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 100) of Danielle W. Gregoire relative to emergency shelter for families with children.  Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. 

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE HOUSE, NO. 139 OF 2009-2010.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

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An Act removing barriers to emergency shelter.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              Section 1. Notwithstanding any other general or special law or rule or regulation, families with a child under age 21 or including a woman who is pregnant shall be eligible for Emergency Assistance shelter if they satisfy financial eligibility requirements and do not have alternative feasible housing. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the department of transitional assistance is authorized to deny Emergency Assistance shelter to an otherwise eligible family but only if the family is determined, based on clear and convincing evidence, to have engaged, while in shelter, in criminal conduct that threatened the health or safety of shelter residents or staff or to have failed, on three or more occasions to comply with reasonable and uniform rules of the department governing the shelter system, and based thereon was terminated from shelter, within the past 12 months. Notwithstanding the first sentence of this section, the department of transitional assistance is also authorized to terminate Emergency Assistance shelter to an otherwise eligible family but only if the department determines, based on clear and convincing evidence, that (1) a member of the family, while in shelter, engaged in criminal conduct that threatened the health or safety of shelter residents or staff; (2) the family failed, without good cause, on three or more occasions to comply with reasonable and uniform rules of the department governing the shelter system; (3) the family, without good cause, refused a shelter placement within 20 miles of its home community or refused a transfer to a placement within 20 miles of its home community; or (4) the family, without good cause and with an intention not to return, left shelter without advance notice to the shelter or to the department.

              Section 2. Notwithstanding any other general or special law or rule regulation, the department of transitional assistance shall immediately provide temporary Emergency Assistance shelter for up to 30 days to families who appear to be eligible for Emergency Assistance shelter based on statements provided by the family and any other information in the possession of the department but who need additional time to obtain any third-party verifications reasonably required by the department. In no event, shall the department impose unreasonable requirements for third-party verification and shall accept verifications from the family whenever reasonable.

              Section 3. Notwithstanding any other general or special law or rule or regulation, the department of transitional assistance shall, within 60 days of the effective date of this act, revise its Emergency Assistance regulations to expand its existing good cause rules to establish that a family has good cause for alleged instances of noncompliance with any rules, regulations or requirements applicable to Emergency Assistance shelter in cases in which the family made good faith efforts to comply, the rule or requirement is unreasonable generally or as applied to the particular family or in the particular case, the family refused a placement or transfer or left shelter with or without advance notice for good reasons, and other cases in which a reasonable person would conclude that good cause existed.

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