State Senator Cyr Helps to Secure $7.34M in FY20 Budget

BOSTON – Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) helped to secure appropriations totaling $7.34 million in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget for district and statewide programs.

About $740,000 in local initiatives will benefit Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, along with $6.6 million in statewide priorities.

A majority of the spending will go to programs that provide housing, shelter and mental health services, fight the opioid crisis and support public safety.

The $43 billion budget has been sent to governor Baker’s desk.

“The final FY20 budget secures programs that help people in their darkest time, while making targeted investments to spur economic development and strengthen communities,” Cyr said.

“Through this budget, we’ve been able to advance priorities that will make a difference for Cape Codders and Islanders, whether someone is homeless or housing insecure, lives with mental illness or addiction, hopes to sustain a small business, or seeks to steward our fragile environment.”

Details on the appropriations can be found below.

The Opioid Crisis and Public Safety

Harm Reduction Strategies to Fight the Opioid Crisis – Harm reduction is a strategy used to keep people using opioids alive and safe until they progress into clinical treatment.  The final FY20 budget will fund a $5 million package encompassing several evidence-based harm reduction strategies, as recommended by the Harm Reduction Commission established under the 2018 CARE Act, including:

  • $1.5 million to further expansions of syringe/needle exchange programs throughout the Commonwealth to mitigate the transmission of blood-borne diseases.
  • $150,000 for a pilot program for fentanyl test strips to determine the presence of fentanyl in substances.
  • $300,000 for hospitals to stock Narcan kits to be sent home to any patient discharged from an emergency department for post-overdose care and recovery.
  • Provide funding for the Department of Public Health to seek expansion of Boston Medical Center’s highly successful Supportive Place for Observation and Treatment (SPOT) site through one or multiple pilots. These pilot programs, based on SPOT, would be a supportive place(s) for observation and treatment, offering medical monitoring, Narcan rescue kit distribution, counseling, and connection to primary care, behavioral health, and addiction treatment services.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Opioid Study – Expends $50,000 for a study on opioid use in the Commonwealth specifically related to the impact opioid use has had on grandparents and other relatives raising children whose parents are addicted to opioids.

Protecting Victims and Witnesses from Violent Offenders  –  Raised funding to Massachusetts Office of Victims Assistance (MOVA) by $100,000 for training programs for victim witness advocates in district attorneys’ office throughout the Commonwealth. MOVA advances the rights of crime victims and witnesses by providing outreach and education, policy advocacy, policy and program development, legislative advocacy, grants management and service referrals.

Anti-Addiction Prevention Programs in Schools – Expends $50,000 for Calmer Choice, an innovative Cape-based non-profit, to offer substance abuse prevention programs in school districts on Cape Cod.

Narcan Bulk Purchase for Cape Cod Provides $20,000 to Barnstable County Human Services to fund a bulk purchase of naloxone/Narcan, for distribution to public safety agencies and non-profits on Cape Cod and the Islands. This revenue will provide close to 300 life-saving doses of Narcan.

Dukes County Substance Abuse Program-  Provides $40,000 in the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services line item for the Dukes County substance misuse and detox program, which is run by Martha’s Vineyard Community Services to provide medically assisted treatment to Islanders.

Shelter for the Chronically Homeless – Expends $45,000 to the Barnstable Police Department Community Impact Unit for an emergency shelter program to shelter homeless individuals during weather related emergencies. This funding was highly successful and fully utilized in FY19.

Children’s Advocacy Centers – Provides level funding for all Children’s Advocacy Centers that funded through earmarks in FY19. Children Advocacy Centers specializes in comprehensive services for children who are the victims of child abuse. These include: Children’s Cove of Barnstable County; Children’s Advocacy Center of Worcester County; Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County; Plymouth County Children’s Advocacy Center; and Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County, IncChildren’s Cove of Barnstable County will receive $140,000.

Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy – Provides $100,000 for the operations of the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy to be used for the possible relocation of the Academy to Joint Base Cape Cod. It is the only training academy available to firefighters on the Cape and Islands and is essential to providing continuing education for fire departments, as well as training new recruits.

Mental Health

Eliminate Waiting List for Department of Mental Health (DMH) Rental Subsidy Program –   The final FY20 budget increases funding by $1million, to $7.5 million overall, to provide for new housing vouchers for DMH clients who are homeless or stuck in hospitals.  A safe and stable home is critical to effective treatment and recovery. With this funding, the existing wait list will be eliminated and over 80 DMH clients will move into housing.

Mental Health for Older Adults – The final FY20 budget increases funding by $300,000 to the Elder Mental Health Outreach Teams (EMHOT) to augment services to home-bound and geographically isolated elders.  Existing services include mental health assessments, counseling, and connecting elders to additional community supports to address the broader factors associated with age and behavioral health.  

Housing

Veterans Housing and Homelessness Services  – Provides $55,000 to the Cape and Islands Veterans Outreach Center for veterans housing and homeless prevention services, including a contract for services with the Blinded Veterans Association of Cape Cod and the Islands. 

Housing Assistance – Expends $80,000 to Housing Assistance Corporation of Cape Cod for regional programs to provide comprehensive services to remove obstacles to housing for homeless and housing insecure individuals and families. HAC provides homelessness prevention assistance, and employment services to individuals and families to enable family self-sufficiency.

Walsh Property Provides $25,000 designated for municipal use by the Town of Truro to help begin the process of planning the use of the recently purchased 70 acre parcel known as the Walsh Property.

Economic Development

Promoting Employee Ownership – Expends $150,000 for the Massachusetts Office of Employee Involvement and Ownership (MASSEIO). MASSEIO operations were restarted in April 2019 thanks in part to Senator Cyr’s leadership.  This funding will allow MASSEIO to continue to provide education, outreach and promotional efforts to create an environment in the Commonwealth which will expand and enhance employee involvement and ownership.

Fisherwomen and Fishermen Job Training  – Expends $40,000 to Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance to provide young fisherwomen and fishermen training to succeed in entry-level positions in Cape Cod’s commercial or charter fleet. This funding will help train the next generation of Cape Codders to create a life from the regions’ small boat fishing industry.

Public Health

Access to Emergency Services on Nantucket – Expends $40,000 to Nantucket Cottage Hospital to provide off-island medical transportation for residents including the transportation of patients with behavioral health conditions. 

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention –   The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) will perform a study to estimate the revenue necessary for DPH’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to provide all eligible children with legally-mandated services to prevent elevated blood lead levels. Further, DPH will make a comparison of how states with comparable housing stock finance childhood lead poisoning prevention programs. This initiative is a companion to a $2.7 million investment in Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Trust in the FY20 Senate Ways and Means budget championed by Senator Cyr. 

Environment

Local Food Access and Affordability – Provides $50,000 to Sustainable Cape for a Local Food Access & Affordability Program, to expand a coalition of farmers markets throughout Barnstable and Dukes counties to promote SNAP, WIC, Senior and Veteran benefits at Farmers Markets, as well as the creation of site-specific programs targeted to schools, libraries and community centers.

Culture and Educational Programs

Civics Education on Cape Cod –  Expends $30,000 for the John F. Kennedy Museum of Hyannis to expand their civics education programming for pre-kindergarten through high school students to develop skills to embrace individual differences, learn to listen closely, dialogue respectfully, and think critically.

Provincetown 400 – Provides $25,000 to Provincetown Memorial Association for its 400th commemoration of the landing of the Mayflower in Provincetown Harbor. This funding will support educational programs recognizing the Mayflower Compact, will enhance the Wampanoag’s native people’s exhibit at the Pilgrim Museum, and highlight Provincetown as the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in the New World.

Additional Statewide Priorities Included in Final Budget

  • Historic level of $5.176 billion for Chapter 70 education funding, an increase of $268.4M over FY 2019, which was championed by the Senate.
  • Special Education Circuit Breaker – $345.2 million (level from the Senate’s version of the budget)
  • Regional School Transportation – $75.9 million (level from the Senate’s version of the budget)
  • Rural School Aid – $2.5 million (level from the Senate’s version of the budget)
  • $10M for the new Behavioral Health Outreach, Access and Support Trust Fund to support a loan forgiveness initiative for behavioral health workers and a general public awareness campaign, championed by Senate President Spilka, Senator Cindy Friedman, and Senator Cyr.
  • Regional Transit Authorities – $90.5 million (level from the Senate’s version of the budget)
  • Deposits $476 million into the Commonwealth’s Stabilization Fund, bringing the balance of the so called ‘rainy day’ fund to over $3 billion.
About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.



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