News Conference committee begins negotiating final bill on family shelter stay limits

A conference committee began negotiations today to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions of a bill that will invest more funds into the state’s emergency assistance family shelter system and put limits on how long homeless families can stay in the system.

Senate Democrats late last month passed a redrafted version of a House bill that aimed to cap the maximum length of stay for most people in the shelter system to nine months.

While the House version had provisions that would allow certain groups to stay for up to 12 months, the Senate bill would allow those in the shelter system to receive “one or more 90-day extensions” if they met certain criteria, which could include being a veteran, being a single parent of a child with a disability, having a child in the middle of a school year, having made progress toward receiving a permit to work or several other expanded criteria.

The Senate version would also require the state to create a “rehousing plan” for every family in the emergency assistance family shelter system.

Once negotiations have concluded, a final version of the bill will be sent to Gov. Maura Healey for approval.

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