Waltham Delegation Submits Budget Requests to FY22 Budget Conferees

(June 21, 2021) – In a letter to House and Senate Ways and Means leadership, Rep. Tom Stanley, Rep. John Lawn and Senator Mike Barrett expressed their strong support of budget line items to be included in the FY22 Conference Committee Report. The budget items will support Waltham as the City recovers from the pandemic, from addressing food insecurity, to empowering our youth and preserving our natural spaces.

“As our state and communities continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical that our City receives the necessary state aid to lift us forward,” said Rep. Stanley. “The pandemic has affected residents in different ways, and these budget items will support and strengthen important programs within our community as well as protect valuable environmental resources.”

The delegation’s requests include:

  • $200,000 for 240 Beaver Street Improvements (Waltham Field Station).

This would allow for funds secured in a FY19 Supplement Budget (Chapter 142 of the Acts of 2019) for the Waltham Field Station (240 Beaver Street in Waltham) to be carried over and used in FY22.  The $200,000 would support improvements to the building at 240 Beaver Street in Waltham which houses a number of non-profit tenants that are dedicated to healthy eating and sustainable agriculture.

  • $50,000 for Waltham Fields Community Farm ((Department of Agriculture) from House Budget

Waltham Fields Community Farm has been active in Waltham for over 25 years, helping to educate residents and visitors on the importance of farm preservation and promotion.  This funding would support the many programs the organization offers, including farmer training, subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, volunteer days, and sustainable agriculture.

  • $100,000 for Healthy Waltham (Department of Agriculture) from House Budget

Since the pandemic began, Healthy Waltham pivoted to respond rapidly to our community’s food insecurity needs by expanding its food pantries to serve residents in dire circumstances.  Health Waltham quickly built infrastructure – added personnel, expanded volunteer base, connections with multiple food sources, and built out dry storage capacity – to give the organization the capacity to serve nearly 802,000 pounds of food to over 21,500 households since April 2020.

Unfortunately, many families will continue to experience food insecurity even as the Commonwealth recovers from the pandemic.  As such, Health Waltham is seeking to strengthen its food pantry operations so that it may continue to be a reliable source of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, canned goods and essential toiletries and sanitary goods for low-to-moderate income families from Waltham and the surrounding area.  This funding will support Health Waltham’s efforts to invest in transportation, refrigeration, and storage infrastructure so that they can increase their food services.

  • $150,000 for the revitalization and dredging of Purgatory Cove in Waltham (Department of Conservation and Recreation) from House Budget

Purgatory Cove is a small pond connected to the Charles River in Waltham.  Years ago, the water became stagnant because a stream that used to flow from the former Newton landfill on Rumford Ave was cut off.  As a result, the water became stagnant, and vegetation (water chestnut) began to overrun the Cove, making it unavailable for boating and fishing.  While efforts have been made to remove the water chestnut in Purgatory Cove over the last several years, a more permanent solution is needed.  This funding would support efforts to address the water flow issues, allowing more circulation into the Cove to prevent vegetation from overgrowing each year.

  • $75,000 for the Waltham Tourism Council (Massachusetts Marketing Partnership) from House Budget (H.4001).

In the past, this funding helped the Waltham Tourism Council provide physical and digital marketing for many of the spring and summer events the City hosts such as Waltham Riverfest and the Waltham Steampunk Festival.  As the Commonwealth recovers from the pandemic, this funding is needed more than ever to draw visitors back to Waltham and support our hospitality sector, an industry hit especially hard by COVID-19.

  • $100,000 for More Than Words, Inc.’s Young Parents Program (Department of Early Education and Care) from House Budget

More Thank Words empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business and has recently adapted programming to better support young parents to participate in programing and find success for themselves and their families.  Young parents access adapted scheduling to work around childcare commitments and individualized support and advocacy from the MTW Advocacy and Community Engagement team, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that all young parents at MTW have stable housing and access to childcare.  These funds directly support the staff who work with young parents and provide job training, case management, and individualized advocacy.

  • $75,000 for Waltham Partnership for Youth, Inc. Department of Public Health) from Senate Budget

             Waltham Partnership for Youth, Inc. works with community partners to develop programs that improve             opportunities and outcomes for Waltham’s youth.  This funding would support WPY’s staffing including, a       Coalition Program Coordinator who will assist with the organization’s youth-oriented substance use prevention   and mental wellness programming; a Wraparound Case Manager to provide to provide immigrant students and their families with employment, housing, food, health, and mental health services; and WPY’s Coordinator of   Operations Communications and Development.

  • $75,000 for the Community Day Center of Waltham, Inc. (Department of Housing and Community Development) from Senate Budget

The Waltham Community Day Center (CDCW) serves approximately 700 guests a year (40-50 daily), helping each to get the necessary tools and services to move towards stability.

  • $50,000 for More Than Words, Inc.’s vocational program for system-involved youth (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) from Senate Budget

These funds will directly support youth stipends for youth unfunded by other public sources of support as they participate in MTW’s transformative job training and youth development program at their Waltham location.  These earnings are often a youth’s sole source of income and can mean the difference between living in crisis and finding economic independence.  This $50,000 investment will support over 3,000 paid training and youth development hours for system-involved youth to move their lives forward.  The model has proven to be effective. In the most recently completed fiscal year, 79% of MTW Graduates were productively engaged in work and/or school for at least 30 hours each week.

  • $75,000 to support staffing and housing clinic expansion at WATCH CDC (Department of Housing and Community Development) from Senate Budget

The WATCH CDC Housing Clinic fills a much-needed gap in local housing supports for Waltham-area residents.  Many of their clients don’t have the resources to travel to Boston for multiple appointments in order to receive similar supports and services.  This funding will help WATCH’s Housing Clinic cover the salary and benefits of a full-time Housing Clinic Coordinator.  Having a full-time paid coordinator will help strengthen and streamline the Clinic’s support services as well as provide additional time for follow-up on critical cases.  The position will also allow WATCH CDC to further build connections with other regional resources such as job training programs, low-income health care providers, childcare programs, and youth programs.