Housing Action NH
January 2017 News & Legislative Update 
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Housing Action NH
 News and Legislative Update 
April 2017
NH Statehouse
State budget advocacy has been the major focus of housing proponents this legislative session, advocating for a capital budget appropriation into the Affordable Housing Fund and ongoing operating fund support for the state’s homeless shelters and programs. 

At the federal level, there is growing concern in New Hampshire and across the country regarding the severe cuts to HUD and USDA rural housing programs proposed in both the FY 17 and FY 18 budgets that would have adverse impacts on thousands of New Hampshire residents. More details below.

 
IN THIS ISSUE:

FEDERAL

FY 17 Budget. The White House is urging Congress to cut $18 billion from non-defense programs in the FY 2017 spending bill, including a $1.7 billion cut to HUD, to offset increases to defense spending and to start to build a wall along the Mexican border. Currently, federal agencies are funded under a continuing resolution for FY 2017 that expires April 28. President Trump's request for FY 2017 discretionary cuts would have to be applied over the remaining five months of the fiscal year. The president's request could make it more challenging for Congress to address FY 2017 spending through omnibus appropriations bills because of the short time frame, given the April 28 deadline.
 
FY 18 Budget. On March 16, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for FY 2018. This proposal includes a $6.2 billion cut to HUD through eliminating key programs like CDBG, HOME, Neighborworks America, the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, as well as other programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which includes Rural Development and the Rural Housing Services, would see its budget cut by 21% compared to FY16 levels. Other key programs proposed for elimination include LIHEAP, Legal Services, and CDFI Funds. Although House and Senate appropriators from both parties have given the budget a cool response, it will create a more challenging negotiating environment to protect critical housing programs.
 
Tax Credit Legislation. Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to strengthen the tax credit. The Senate bill, sponsored by Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Hatch (R-UT), would expand the credit by 50% and create more flexibility within the program, such as income averaging. The House bill, sponsored by Representatives Tiberi (R-OH-12) and Neal (D-MA-1), would provide increased flexibility, simplify program requirements, make the financing of affordable housing more predictable and streamlined, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, and facilitate the Housing Credit development in challenging markets.
 
Interagency Council on Homelessness. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation to make permanent the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). This legislation is crucial to the continued operations and funding of the agency that coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies and provides guidance to local governments and private organizations to prevent and end homelessness. The legislation from Senators Reed and Collins stands in sharp contrast to President Trump’s FY 2018 budget request, which proposed to eliminate funding to USICH.
 

STATE

Affordable Housing Fund. The support for an appropriation to the Affordable Housing Fund to help address the short supply of affordable rental homes for NH’s workforce has grown considerably. Those testifying in support of the Affordable Housing Fund at House and Senate hearings include several regional chambers of commerce, banks, and business leaders. The Senate passed, then tabled, SB 94, calling for a $5 million capital appropriation. Advocates are urged to contact Senate members to include the $5 million appropriation in the final budget.
 
Homeless Shelter Funding. About $4 million per year for the next biennium has been included in the operating budgets proposed by both the Governor and the House Finance Committee. The Homeless Shelter Program is flat funded at current levels and a small increase has been proposed for the Homeless Housing Access Fund to help transition people out of shelters into housing. Homeless advocates will now advocate with the members of the Senate Finance Committee to ensure that enough resources available to help shelters deal with the challenges of the opioid crisis and the increasing length of shelter stays. You can view the budgets proposed by the both the Governor and House Finance Committee here and beginning on page 1090 you will see that Homeless Funding has been left intact. The House will vote on its budget today.
 
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention.  SB 247, legislation proposed to prevent childhood lead poisoning and amended to reflect compromises between public health advocates and the landlord community, passed the Senate 15-7. The bill still includes universal testing in NH of all one- and two-year-olds and the establishment of a fund to assist landlords in eliminating lead hazards from their properties. Housing Action NH is in support of the legislation.
 
Accessory Dwelling Units. HB 265 modifies the new accessory dwelling unit (ADU) law allowing single-family homeowners to build an ADU by right or special exception. HB 265 clarifies that a municipality may prohibit accessory dwelling units associated within multi-family and manufactured housing properties. It also prohibits an ADU from conveying into a condominium. The bill has passed the House and heard by the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.  Another bill, SB 173, that attempted to prohibit the use of ADUs as short-term rentals were killed in the Senate. 
 

REPORTS & RESOURCES


Medicaid Managed Care for Members with Mental Health Conditions and/or Substance Use Disorders: Integrating Benefits and Care. This report recognizes the value of non-medical supports, such as supportive housing services in improving health outcomes and decreasing costs.

A Place To Call Home Report. This report compiles the latest research that shows how investments in affordable housing boost economic mobility, reduce poverty and homelessness, improve health outcomes, and strengthen the economy. This report also features affordable housing success stories including, Cross Roads House in Portsmouth. 

EVENTS

Save the Date:
Home Matters in NH Week and Awards Breakfast
Wednesday, May 10, 8:00 - 9:00 a.m.
State House Cafeteria, Concord 

 
Housing Matters Workgroup
Friday, April 14, 10:00 -11:30 a.m.
Concord


Housing Action NH invites representatives from all member organizations to attend this monthly opportunity to learn more and exchange information about priority policies affecting NH’s ability to create, preserve more affordable housing and end homelessness. Contact Tom@housingactionnh.org for meeting information. 

JOIN HOUSING ACTION NH


If your organization is not yet a member and would like to join our growing coalition, simply download, complete and return our one-page member form.

Click here to see Housing Action NH MEMBERS

ABOUT HOUSING ACTION NH: Housing Action NH was created to build and coordinate alliances in effective advocacy for strong federal and state investment in the preservation of existing affordable housing, the development of new affordable housing, rental subsidies for low-income families and strong policies and funding to serve the homeless and end homelessness. For more information about our work, see our website.
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