Veteran's HOME act now law

Rep. Josh Cutler joined his colleagues in the Legislature to unanimously pass “An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment” (HOME Act). This legislation continues the commitment of the Massachusetts General Court to the Commonwealth’s veterans, servicemembers and military families by focusing on housing and long-term support services.

This passage of this legislation builds on the successes of the Valor Act I passed in2012 and the Valor Act II passed in 2014, which helped Massachusetts become the number one state in the nation for providing for veterans services.   

“I am immensely proud and humbled that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation when it comes to military-benefit programs and services,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “It’s so important that we provide comprehensive services for military personnel both while they are on active duty and when they return home. We recognize the unique contributions that veterans can make to the economy and to the fabric of our society and we want to support that in every way possible”

Rep. Josh Cutler joined his colleagues in the Legislature to unanimously pass “An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment” (HOME Act). This legislation continues the commitment of the Massachusetts General Court to the Commonwealth’s veterans, servicemembers and military families by focusing on housing and long-term support services.

This passage of this legislation builds on the successes of the Valor Act I passed in2012 and the Valor Act II passed in 2014, which helped Massachusetts become the number one state in the nation for providing for veterans services.   

“I am immensely proud and humbled that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation when it comes to military-benefit programs and services,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “It’s so important that we provide comprehensive services for military personnel both while they are on active duty and when they return home. We recognize the unique contributions that veterans can make to the economy and to the fabric of our society and we want to support that in every way possible”

 “I am so proud of the commitment from my colleagues and the leadership of the Senate in continuing to address the needs of our veterans,” said Senator Mike Rush (D-Boston) Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.  “This legislation not only provides comprehensive services and programs to those who serve their country, but give them the recognition that they deserve.  It is our job as elected officials to do all we can to support those brave men and women and their families who serve this great country.”

"There is no question that Massachusetts is number one in terms of providing services to our veterans,” said Representative Jared A. Parisella, House Chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs (D-Beverly). “Although we do so much for our veterans, it is important that we continue to improve the lives of those who have so gallantly served their country.”

“This bill earned bi-partisan support because it provides important benefits to veterans and their families in terms of employment, housing, property tax relief, education, and other services,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).  “Massachusetts leads the nation in our assistance programs offered to veterans, and rightly so because they deserve a support system which reflects their vital service to America and sacrifice on our behalf.”

The bill establishes the Office of State Veterans’ Homes and Housing which will advise the Department of Veterans’ Services and provide oversight for the Commonwealth’s two soldiers’ homes in Chelsea and Holyoke. It creates an Executive Director position to head the new office. The Executive Director will focus on long-term care and will be responsible for the coordinated implementation and enforcement of laws, regulations and policies.

To increase access to housing for veterans, the bill grants veterans preference in admission for scattered site housing units where no low-income family housing has been developed.  The bill also requires housing authorities to exclude amounts of disability compensation paid by the federal government when computing rent for a disabled veteran.  In addition, the bill gives eligible veterans a preference in elderly and disabled housing in all communities, not solely the community in which the veteran resides.  

To honor the service of veterans and their families, the bill provides a property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of any veteran or servicemember who, during active duty, suffered an injury or illness which led to his or her passing. Veterans who have a 100% disability rating for service connected blindness will also be granted a property tax exemption.

Other provisions of this legislation include:

  • The expansion of the Public Service Scholarship to children of any military or service person missing in action or prisoners of war;
  • Allows employees of the Commonwealth who are members of the armed forces reserves and are ordered to service for more than 30 consecutive days to be paid the regular base salary reduced by the amount received as base pay for military service.  It also preserves the seniority and accrued leave time the veteran has earned prior to their deployment;
  • Allows cities and towns to appoint a veterans agent for up to 3 year terms instead of the current 1 year term;
  • Extends the Veterans’ Long-term Care Commission and reworks the Post-Deployment Council, both of which were created through the 2014 VALOR Act and focus on housing and support services for veterans transitioning from active duty to civilian life.
  • Adds veteran status as a protected class under the statute prohibiting discrimination in employment;
  • Allows municipalities to create a voluntary check off box to donate money to a municipal veteran’s assistance fund to provide support for veterans and their dependents in need of immediate assistance with food, transportation, heat, and oil expenses;
  • Provides excise tax exemption for veterans while deployed;
  • Extends assistance from the Military Relief Fund to service members whose death was related to their military service. Previously the Fund was only for service members killed in action;
  • Businesses with more than fifty employees must grant veterans a paid leave of absence on Veterans Day;
  • Prohibits municipalities from transferring the right to receive debt payments if the municipality receives notice that the debtor is a veteran;
  • Expands eligibility for Gold Star Family license plates, and establishes Bicentennial Park in Fall River as the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument of the Commonwealth;
  • Instructs the departments of veterans services to study the implementation of a  sliding scale property tax abatement for disabled veterans, costs of transporting incarcerated disabled veterans to VA medical facilities, and the implementation of tax rebates for veterans who lease dwellings to veterans.

The bill will now be sent to the Governor for his signature.

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Rep. Josh S. Cutler
State House, Room 26
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2080

Legislative Aide: Cole Angley

Please direct campaign or volunteer related inquiries to our local office:
Email: rep@joshcutler.com
Mailing Address: PO Box 2775, Duxbury, MA 02331





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