A host of budget amendments will provide about $500,000 for area capital improvements, the arts, battling homelessness and other human services.
Among them is an amendment that will provide $50,000 for the remediation of the old Foxboro State Hospital building, including removal of hazardous materials, exposed water and electrical lines and additional renovations. State Rep. Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield, included this funding in the House budget last month which was supported by state Sen. Paul Feeney, D-Foxboro.
Funding for the arts was also approved with $50,000 each for programs, productions and improvements for the Marilyn Rodman Performing Arts Center and the Mass Music & Arts Society building in Mansfield.
Another $100,000 is slated for the Attleboro Norton YMCA and its tenant partners to renovate the Sweet Community House in Attleboro. The funding, announced by Feeney, will make the Sweet Community House’s kitchen suitable for commercial use and capable of distributing hundreds of meals per week to area residents, as well as additional upgrades that will allow this facility “to serve as the hub of food security in the Attleboro region.”
Feeney said he also worked with state Rep. Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, to earmark $25,000 to assess the structural concerns at the Burr’s Pond Dam in the Burr’s Pond Conservation Area in Seekonk.
The two legislators also worked together to get $25,000 for building code upgrades to the fire alarm and security system at the Rehoboth public safety building.
Feeney said he and state Rep. James Hawkins, D-Attleboro, worked to obtain $60,000 for the Northern Bristol County Assistance Collaborative Emergency to Permanent Supportive Housing Facility.
The state senator said he worked with state Reps. Adam Scanlon, D-North Attleboro, and Edward Philips, D-Sharon, to get $15,000 for facility and storage improvements to Our Daily Bread, a food pantry in Mansfield.
Feeney also got $15,000 for a program run by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul District Council in Attleboro to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals throughout Bristol County adjust to their release.
The Senate’s version of the 2022 fiscal budget was recently adopted by a 40-0 vote.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the many areas where we need to improve our services as a society. I am proud that this budget maintains the fiscal health of the Commonwealth while investing and supporting our residents who need it the most,” Feeney said.
The budget also includes $3.89 million for the Home and Healthy for Good Program, operated by the Massachusetts Housing and Shelter Alliance.
The program is designed to stop homelessness by providing low- or no-cost housing to chronically homeless individuals first, instead of relying on crowded emergency congregate care shelters, Feeney said.
It has been a top priority of Feeney since he joined the state Senate.
“We can end homelessness in the Commonwealth. We just need to make it a priority and act boldly,” he said.