The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) welcomes the Senate budget, which maintains funding for the crucial services and programs long championed by our community. JCRC’s budget advocacy has long been focused on securing funds prioritized by Jewish communal social service partners for critical human services. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a financial crunch on service providers throughout the Jewish and broader community. The public resources supported through this funding will allow continuation of these vital and innovative initiatives. Some highlights include:
- A Summer Camp Stabilization Fund would be created to help provide a safety net for summer camps, many of whom are at serious financial risk as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.
- $856K for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs), designed to bring wellness programs and socialization services directly to seniors, allowing them to remain in their homes and communities.
- $250K for Transitions to Work, an innovative job training model for young adults with disabilities.
- $3 million for Secure Jobs Initiative, a silo-busting delivery model conceived by the Fireman Family Foundation, which promotes new partnerships between housing and workforce development agencies, as well as state agencies. This represents a $1 million increase over last year.
- $1 million for Non Profit Security Grants, which provides vital security enhancements to non-profit communal infrastructure at increased risk of threat.
- $1.25 million for the Employment Service Program for Immigrants and Refugees, which provides English-based job training and placement services for recent immigrants and refugees.
- Crucial authorizing language for the MA Pathways to Economic Advancement initiative, the nation’s first workforce development Pay for Success program. The model is working; nearly 2,000 participants have enrolled, increasing their job skills and take-home earnings, which is increasing revenue for the Commonwealth. This language will ensure that contracted funds continue to flow to sustain this initiative.
“We applaud Senate President Karen Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and the entire Senate for redoubling their commitment to the social safety net, stretched thin by the COVID-19 pandemic and its destructive impact.” said Aaron Agulnek, Director of Government Affairs, JCRC. “This budget includes funding that can keep seniors safe in their homes, train job seekers for a more robust recovery and provides access to supports for the housing insecure.”
JCRC also applauds legislative leadership, lead sponsors Senate President Emerita Harriette Chandler, Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad, Representative Claire Cronin and Representative Jay Livingstone, and the bipartisan coalition of legislators who joined with thousands of advocates across the Commonwealth to enshrine reproductive rights in state law. Crucial elements of the Roe Act were included in both the House and Senate budgets and passed with wide majorities.
“We commend the historic vote by both the House and Senate to protect reproductive rights across the Commonwealth,” said Emily Levine, Chair, Public Policy Committee, JCRC. “Reproductive rights are human rights and these healthcare decisions should be made between pregnant people, their doctors and anyone else that they choose. We look forward to this bill being signed into law in the near term.”
The Fiscal Year 2021 budget will be reconciled by both the House and Senate and sent to Governor Baker for his approval.