The winter shelter status is ACTIVE Saturday, February 16 through Tuesday, February 19 at 8 a.m. Extra shelter space will be available for single adults and families. Find more details here

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2019 Legislative Session

Get fired up for the bills we're prioritizing in 2019!


Fight for $15 | MAT Access | Minors' Right to Consent to Housing | Fair Housing Opportunities Act | Expungement Reform

 

Fight for $15 (HB 166/SB 280)

By 2023, this bill will increase the state’s minimum wage from $10.10/hr to $15/hr.

Why we support the bill:

  • It empowers workers by reducing the burdens of poverty and moves us toward equity and justice for all workers.
    • Despite being the United States' richest state, 10% of Marylanders (and 13% of our state's children) live in poverty. Fifty percent of poor Marylanders live in deep poverty, with incomes below 50% of the poverty line. 
    • While $15/hour is not enough, it is a huge step towards a livable wage.
  • At Health Care for the Homeless, we walk the walk:
    • No one at Health Care for the Homeless earns less than $17/hour.
    • A livable minimum wage has been good for our 275 employees and for our agency: improving our bottom line, increasing our growth and supporting our mission.

access to Medication-assisted treatment (HB 116/SB 846)

HB 116 expands access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) in jails and prisons in Maryland. The bill will mandate that all state prison facilities and local detention centers conduct assessments of people who are incarcerated and provide MAT and counseling to those diagnosed with OUD who want treatment. 

Why we support the bill:

  • Medications (buprenorphine, methadone and extended release naltrexone) are proven effective treatments for opioid addiction. 
  • Providing people with OUD who are incarcerated with MAT has proven successful:
    • Inmates treated with mehadone or buprenorphine prior to release are more likely to engage in post-release treatment and to stay in treatment longer 
    • Treatment with extended-release naltrexone can reduce relapse rates among criminal justice-involved adults with a history of opioid-dependence
    • Forced discontinuation of methadone treatment during incarceration can lead to a reluctance to engage in future treatment
  • A study of a similar program in Rhode Island showed that it reduced overdose deaths among those released by more than 60%.
  • Expanding treatment options helps to reduce stigma and treat addiction as a disease.

minors' Right to consent to housing (HB 911)

This bill allows an unaccompanied minor experiencing or at risk of homelessness (as well as the minor’s child or children) to consent to admission to an emergency shelter or housing program and receive related services.

Why we support the bill:

  • Youth experiencing homelessness who are not connected with family face significant barriers to the receiving housing, health care and other crucial services.
  • Obtaining parental consent usually isn't possible.
  • Providing housing and supportive services to unaccompanied youth is a critical step toward ending their homelessness.

Fair Housing opportunities act (HB 451/SB 812)

This bill prohibits property owners from discriminating against people seeking housing based on their “source of income.” Source of Income means any lawful source of funds used to rent or purchase housing, including money from: lawful employment; any government or private assistance, grant, loan or rental assistance program; and any gift, inheritance, pension, annuity, alimony or child support.

Why we support the bill:

  • Aligns with our mission to provide permanent supportive housing services to people living in deep poverty—most of whom rely on public voucher programs to fill the gap between what housing costs and what they can afford. 
  • Ensures better housing and economic opportunities for tens of thousands of Maryland residents with vouchers and thousands more with legal non-wage income such as disability payments.
  • Helps encourage the creation of mixed-income communities, greater affordable housing and fairness for seniors, working families, veterans and the disabled seeking housing.
  • Deconcentrates poverty by opening up housing opportunities in other neighborhoods through the city, keeping families from having to move out to escape poverty.

Expungement Expansion (SB 833)

This bill allows non-convictions and adult offenses that have been moved to juvenile court to be automatically removed from criminal records. It makes misdemeanors eligible for expungement after five years, felonies eligible for expungement after seven years, and nuisance crimes after the completion of probation or parole. The bill also limits public access to criminal records on Maryland case search and changes the disposition of unexecuted arrest warrants to make them eligible for expungement.

Why we support the bill:

  • An estimated 1.5 million Marylanders, nearly 25% of the state’s population, have a criminal record that may surface in a routine background check.
  • A criminal record can serve as an insurmountable barrier to getting a job, housing and other critical resources, even if the record did not result in a conviction.
  • Streamlining criminal record expungement can significantly improve our clients’ opportunities for housing and employment.