Call to Action: DLTA in Senate Budget
The Senate Ways and Means Committee just released their FY21 budget proposal, and District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) wasn't included.
Please act today: tell your state senator to support Senator Eldridge's amendment to the budget, which would level-fund DLTA at $3 million in FY21.
There's not much time: reach out to your Senator before debate begins next week to encourage them to sign on!
DLTA is critical to supporting municipal needs in our region and across the Commonwealth. This funding helps cities and towns throughout the state expand what they can do, enabling them to take on projects they don’t have the capacity to complete on their own.
At least half of Massachusetts communities don’t have professional planners to help shape their future economic development, transportation, housing, green spaces, and town facilities. Thirteen regional planning agencies (RPAs) in Massachusetts help the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns with these essential tasks, providing technical assistance on everything from updating stormwater guidelines to managing data to preparing economic development plans.
Planning assistance funds have taken on heightened importance during the current crisis. The 13 RPAs in Massachusetts started nearly 100 projects in the first month of the outbreak, and have taken on more since then. These included everything from PPE distribution to creating unemployment and small business rapid response plans to coordinating meal access for families and first responders.
The technical assistance work of most of these RPAs is funded almost entirely by DLTA: without the $3 million in DLTA funding split between the 13 agencies, many of them won’t be able to continue providing this level of support to cities and towns.
Your voice is essential: let your Senator know that this funding is vital.
Examples of COVID-Related Projects by Regional Planning Agencies:
- Convening local boards of public health to provide technical assistance
- Providing public nursing assistance, hiring and training new nurses and support staff
- Mapping positive COVID-19 cases
- Distributing emergency funding to local boards of health
- Distributing PPE to hospitals, health care providers, and first responders
- Processing PPE requests
- Coordinating meal access for families and first responders
- Helping farms sell directly to food relief programs in the absence of farmers markets
- Establishing weekend food drop program for youth
- Developing surveys to assess small business and regional economic recovery needs
- Creating rapid response plans to address unemployment
- Gathering and sharing the stories of immigrant business owners and their resilience in the face of COVID-19
- Creating small business support plans
Convening and Coordination
- Convening municipal leaders for discussions and collective action
- Facilitating local information sharing
- Sharing best practices around remote meetings
- Disseminating timely and pertinent information about the COVID-19 response and recovery
- Establishing, staffing, and equipping recovery centers for people ill with COVID-19
- Studying how COVID-19 will impact households and the housing market
- Accelerating the release of funds to support the transportation needs of vulnerable populations
- Assisting RTAs with changes related to COVID-19, communicating changes to communities