UPDATE: This amendment has now been filed as a bill.
A full description of the bill and how you can help has been posted here on our website.
Bill: Housing Court Expansion S.946 (Sen. Spilka) / H.978 (Rep. Walsh).
Amendment to budget: 0336-0003 – Expansion of the Housing Court…$1,2000,000
PLEASE ACT ASAP – details about why this bill is important:
The Housing Court has judges and staff with expertise in housing law and who are trained to provide tenants and landlords with a fair court process. Both landlords and tenants can access the resources that only Housing Courts have, including the Tenancy Preservation Program, Lawyer for the Day Programs and Housing Specialists. Homeless can be prevented and municipalities can address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively.
Currently, one -third of the state’s population does not have access to Housing Court, including Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties.
Here is your message to your legislator:
Please support the amendments to this bill. If you would like to sign on to these amendments please contact Julie Watt Faqir by Thursday, April 13 at NOON by email at Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org or at extension 8879.
Additional talking points:
- 1/3 of the population in MA has no access to housing court including the Cape and Islands.
- Housing Court has the expertise in federal, state and local laws and the specialists who can mediate these cases. We would especially like to emphasize protections under the federal Violence Against Women Act and the recent additions to Massachusetts domestic violence protections through the 2014 Act Relative to Domestic Violence.
- Imagine how complicated housing issues can be for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
- no contact orders,
- replacing locks,
- early lease termination,
- and situations where DV victims are evicted because they’ve called police one too many times… the result being that DV victims not calling police so as not to make trouble so as not to get evicted.
- Specialists who can mediate are especially needed in light of the fact that there is no right to an attorney in civil cases and so many of these tenants and small business landlords are going into housing court on their own with no legal guidance to mediate on their own.
Contact your legislators – find your legislators’ contact information here.
On Cape Cod: Call Sarah Peake 617-722-2940, Also call Dylan Fernandes at 617-722-7300 x 7320, Will Crocker at 671-722-2425, Timothy Whelan at 617-722-2014, David Vieira at 617-722-2230 or Randy Hunt at 617-722-2450.
Please let us know what your legislators’ responses are by posting in comments here or send us an email: CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com.
This is directly connected to women’s safety. http://www.housingcourt4all.org/.
On January 25, 2017, Governor Baker included in his FY18 budget $1 million to start the expansion.
On March 13, 2017, under the leadership of Representative Chris Walsh, 42 Representatives sent House Ways and Means Committee a letter urging them to include funding in the amount of $1.2 million and authorization for housing court expansion in the FY18 budget. Click to see letter.
As the new 2017-18 state legislative session begins, Senator Spilka and Representative Walsh have both refiled bills to expand the housing court statewide. Both bills have been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
(If you see errors or omissions please contact CapeCodWomenforChange@gmail.com)
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