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How We Advocate

With the start of the 193rd Congress and the new Healey Administration, United Way is focused on building more equitable communities.

United Way reaches people across sectors – community members, businesses, nonprofits, and policymakers – to build public will and promote engagement in the region’s most pressing issues.

We contribute to movement building, influencing policy, and advancing narratives that will highlight our community’s aspirations and the barriers they face to achieving financial wellbeing.

We are at our best when we harness the power of community and connect our partners with one another. Together, we aim to address the root causes of inequality, creating long-lasting, population-level change in our region.

Why this Matters

At United Way, we believe:

  • By investing in economic inclusion and wealth-building programs that increase income, build credit and saving; and reduce debt, we can mitigate the inherent inequities in how under-resourced individuals and families benefit from the economy and help them ultimately achieve financial wellbeing
  • By expanding access to quality and affordable childcare and out of school programs, we enable families/caregivers to remain in the workforce, connect children to essential learning and supports, and reduce the percent of household income spent on care.
  • By increasing access to safe, affordable, and dignified living conditions, all individuals and families can increase their agency and achieve economic mobility and financial well-being.
  • By advancing educational and career pathways for young adults, inside and outside the classroom, we create a higher-skilled workforce and increase the financial well-being of community members of all ages.

Addressing these issue areas is central to achieving economic justice in Massachusetts. After working in the communities that we serve and in consultation with experts on the national best practices, we have, in partnership with state legislators, introduced and support several bills to achieve the first steps towards the wider systems change that United Way is pursuing.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley 2023 Legislative Agenda

Massachusetts Flexible Supportive Housing Subsidy Pool Program (MFSHP), HB.1354; SB.855

The Massachusetts Flexible Supportive Housing Subsidy Pool Program bill filed by Representative Joan Meschino and Senator Brendan Crighton creates a nimble pot of state funding to meet the complex health and housing needs of our most vulnerable residents. This bill will also create a unified strategy for connecting Massachusetts’ most vulnerable residents with the permanent supportive housing needed to stabilize, heal, and thrive.

Flex Pool legislation would:

  • Streamline the administration of services to individuals, youth, and families experiencing homelessness
  • Ensure that existing state programs are deployed equitably to reach our most vulnerable residents
  • Create a statewide Funder’s Collaborative to End Homelessness.
  • Braid existing resources for housing and health care into a unified, flexible funding stream to support trauma-informed service delivery, regional coordination efforts, and integrated services.
  • Improve outcomes and identify best practices for sustained investments.
Contact your legislator about Flex Pool

Matched Savings, SB.628; HB.1023

The Matched Savings bill filed by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Carmine Gentile will allow participants to build wealth and financial security through a 4:1 matched savings account up to $20,000. At the end of the program, participants can use the money saved for wealth building activities like a down payment, starting a business, pursuing higher education or a trade school. Participants in a matched savings program will also be given financial coaching to help them build wealth and financial security long after they graduate from the program.

Matched Savings would:

  • Allow low-income people to build generational wealth
  • Create new opportunities for low-income people to buy a home, pursue higher education, or start a business
  • Reduce both the racial and general income wealth gap
  • Increase COVID-19 economic recovery
Contact your legislator about Matched Savings

Providing Affordable and Accessible High Quality Early Education and Care

United Way is a key partner in the Early Childhood Agenda, headed by Strategies of Children, our policy agenda reflects a commitment to furthering a suite of bills that work to address the major pain points within Massachusetts for both children and childcare providers.

Investment in Early Education would:

  • Give all children an equal ground to succeed in life
  • Address historical inequities with childcare for low-income and minority families
  • Provide educators with an equitable wage

Reauthorize the Community Investment Tax Credit Program (CITC), HB.2876; SB.1789

The Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) has fueled resident-led community development that drives inclusive opportunity across the Commonwealth since 2014. Since the program’s launch, CITC has helped Massachusetts community development organizations raise more than $100 million. This legislation will eliminate the program’s 2025 sunset and expand the statewide cap on donations from $12 million to $15 million, so that in partnership with the Commonwealth, the community development field can continue to flourish and meet the ongoing needs of community residents.

CITC would:

  • Build stronger and more resilient communities
  • Develop Massachusetts aging housing stock
  • Increase COVID-19 economic recovery

In order to create an economically just region UWMB is also supporting the following legislation:

  • HB.2762; SB.1793: An Act to increase family stabilization through the earned income tax credit
  • SB.1798: An Act to reduce poverty by expanding the EITC and the child and family tax credit
  • HB.2761; SB.1792: An Act establishing a child and family tax credit
  • HB.1157; SB.1999: An Act addressing the racial wealth gap (Baby Bonds)
  • HB.147: An Act providing immediate childcare assistance to homeless families