Housing Action NH
February 2016 News & Legislative Update 
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Housing Action NH
 News and Legislative Update 
February 2016
Statehouse Dome
At the State House, Housing Action NH and our coalition members have been actively supporting the reauthorization of the NH Health Protection Program and advocating for supportive housing for those with substance use disorders.
Good news came from the Obama Administration, which just proposed unprecedented new funding to help end family homelessness. In Congress, housing advocates cheered the unanimous passage of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA). HOTMA contains important efficiencies for federal housing programs. Read on for details on these topics and more.


FY17 Budget Proposal. President Obama announced the Administration’s FY ‘17 proposed budget last week, which includes $48.9 billion for HUD programs. Included in the request is $88 million for 10,000 new vouchers for homeless families with children, funding for 25,000 new permanent supportive housing units, and funds to provide 8,000 families with rapid re-housing. In addition, HUD announced a legislative proposal for $11 billion in mandatory spending over the next 10 years to serve 550,000 families with additional vouchers, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing assistance. This is intended to end family and youth homelessness by 2020, per the Opening Doors initiative. The proposal also offers modest increases for Project-Based Rental Assistance ($194 million) and Public Housing Operations ($69 million), while HOME is level-funded at $950 million. CDBG would be cut by $180 million, and Public Housing Capital Fund would lose $35 million. See our updated budget chart for programs of most importance to NH.
Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. The House, by a vote of 427-0, passed HOTMA Feb. 2.  HOTMA makes improvements to the Housing Choice Voucher program, project-based rental assistance and public housing programs. It also reduces administrative burdens for housing agencies and private owners by providing more flexibility to further key goals such as reducing homelessness, boosting families’ access to higher-opportunity neighborhoods, and addressing much-needed public housing repairs.  Many of the proposals included in HOTMA have been pending before Congress for several years in prior bills like the Section Eight Voucher Reform Act (SEVRA). Representative Frank Guinta, a Member of the House Financial Services Committee, spoke on the House floor in favor of the bill, saying it will “lighten administrative burdens for housing agencies and owners.”
Welch Amendment for Manufactured Housing. The passage of HOTMA in the House included several amendments, including one from Representative Peter Welch (D-Vermont) that would allow housing choice vouchers to cover costs beyond the rental of the land underneath a manufactured home, including helping the manufactured homeowner pay for the cost of their home, its insurance, utilities, and property taxes.
Expiring USDA Properties. Housing Action NH continues to raise concerns over the potential loss of units for low-income families due to maturing mortgages of USDA’s 515 Direct program. Housing Action NH director Elissa Margolin, with Erhard Manke of the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition, co-facilitated a national call with USDA Rural Housing Administrator Tony Hernandez hosted by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, to raise concerns about preserving units and displacing tenants. Meanwhile, Housing Action NH continues to work with Representative Ann McLane Kuster on the introduction of the Rural Housing Preservation Act. 


Supportive Housing to Help with Addiction Recovery. SB528, introduced by Senator Feltes and co-sponsored by Senators Stiles and D’Allesandro, would help close the housing gap in addiction recovery, improve health outcomes, decrease public costs and free up treatment beds. SB 528 would provide a $2 million appropriation to the Affordable Housing Fund to develop supportive housing units for those suffering from substance use disorders. It awaits a public hearing in Senate Finance.
Accessory Dwelling Units. After SB146 passed the House by a vote of 188-93, the Senate concurred by voice vote with the House bill as amended. The bill now heads to the Governor for signature. SB 146 would allow an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on a single-family home as a matter of right, through a conditional use permit or by special exception. Governor Hassan has indicated that she will review the legislation as it reaches her desk.
Market Study. Housing Action NH testified before the House Commerce Committee in opposition to HB1617 that would require community based market studies for funding any housing projects. The bill, filed by Representative Sad in reaction to a split vote by the Walpole planning board over a specific project, is redundant, ambiguous and likely unconstitutional. NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire and NH Legal Assistance also testified in opposition. A subcommittee work session is set for Feb. 18 at 1:15 pm, Room 303 of the Legislative Office Building.
NH Health Protection Program. The NH House last week voted 207-136 to reauthorize expanded Medicaid, the first of two votes that will be needed to send the proposal to the Senate. HB1696, sponsored by Rep. LaChance, will be heard next in House Finance Feb. 17 at 10 AM, Room 210 Legislative Office Building. This bill is one of two proposals to reauthorize the NHHPP and includes provisions such as work requirements, monthly premiums and co-pays, all of which would require a waiver from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and would sunset in 2020. HB1690, sponsored by Rep. Sherman, would extend the current program, set to expire at the end of this year. It will be heard in House Health and Human Services Feb. 17, 11 AM, in Room 205, Legislative Office Building.  A detailed comparison of the two proposals is at NH Fiscal Policy Institute’s site.


The Emerging Opportunities Program, offered by NH Housing, provides up to $50,000 to NH-based nonprofits whose primary mission is to develop and operate housing programs serving very low- to moderate-income households, including advocacy. Deadline is March 28. More info here


Housing Action NH, in conjunction with CSH and supported by the Endowment for Health and the NH Charitable Foundation, will offer a Medicaid Institute this year. Most providers understand the importance of supportive services in keeping those served permanently housed. However, most acknowledge the funding for those services is not easy to raise, and the result can be fewer services offered, higher caseloads and ultimately outcomes that could be vastly improved if service could be funded through a reliable source. The Institute is designed to help agencies access funding through Medicaid to pay for supportive housing services. Providers will participate in a series of educational seminars, leading to the development of individualized business plans for accessing this potentially new and significant funding stream.

Housing Action NH invites providers interested in learning more about the Institute and about how services can improve success in permanent housing to an information session to be held in March. Please contact Laurel at laurel@housingactionnh.org to be added to the notification list.


NH Fiscal Policy Institute Policy Conference: Making Ends Meet
Friday, Feb. 19, 8:30 am – 3 pm, Grappone Center, Concord. National and state experts will keynote and participate in plenaries examining the struggle for working families to make ends meet in NH. Housing Action NH’s director Elissa Margolin will participate in a plenary session that examines the high costs of housing, child care, and health care and policies that could help. Info here.
Home Matters in NH Week April 11-15
Housing Action NH members and supporters are invited to attend our Home Matters in NH Awards event the morning of April 13, 8:30-9:30 am, Statehouse Cafeteria. We will recognize legislators, advocates and media for their work this year in advancing policies and awareness of homelessness and affordable housing. Please mark your calendar and watch for more details as we draw nearer the date. 


Housing Action NH welcomes new Governing Council members Cathy Kuhn, VP of Research & Training at Families in Transition and Paul Stewart, President of Stewart Property Management.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing Governing Council members Maureen Beauregard, Executive Director of Families in Transition and Bill Caselden, Principal of Great Bridge Properties for sharing their expertise and time over the last several years to advise our work.


Please join us in welcoming the Community Action Partnership Strafford County as a new Housing Action NH member. 


Is your business or organization a Housing Action NH member? We invite you to join and add your voice to our growing coalition. Click here for more information: or contact our membership coordinator at Laurel@housingactionnh.org about becoming a member.

HOUSING ACTION NH MEMBERS: AHEAD, Alliance Asset Management, Inc., Anagnost Companies, American Friends Service Committee, Ascentria Care Alliance, Avesta Housing Development Corp., Belknap-Merrimack Community Action Program, CATCH Neighborhood Housing, Center for Life Management, Centrix Bank, Chinburg Properties, Citizens Housing and Planning Association, Community Action Partnership Strafford County, Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, Community Housing of Maine, Cross Roads House, Dakota Partners, Inc., Attorney John Deachman, Dover Housing Authority, Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition, Every Child Matters in New Hampshire, Families in Transition, Family Connections Resource Center, Fellowship Housing Opportunities, Inc., The Friends Program, Granite State Managers Association, Great Bridge Properties, Greater Nashua Mental Health Center, Greater Seacoast Coalition on Homelessness, Granite State Independent Living, Granite State Organizing Project, Home Builders and Remodelers Association of NH, Homeless Center for Strafford County, Housing Initiatives of New England Corporation, Harbor Homes, Inc., The Housing Partnership, Isaiah 58 New Hampshire, J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, Keene Housing, Laconia Area Community Land Trust, Laconia Housing Authority, Lake Sunapee Bank, League of Women Voters New Hampshire, Manchester Housing Authority, Marguerite’s Place, Inc., Maria Sillari, Consultant, Merrimack Valley Assistance Program, My Friend’s Place, Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, National Housing Conference + Center for Housing Policy, NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, Nesseralla & Company, LLC, NH Community Development Finance Authority, NH Community Loan Fund, NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, NH Coalition to End Homelessness, NH Council of Churches, New Hampshire Housing, NH Legal Assistance, Northern New England Housing Investment Fund, Otis/Atwell, Pentucket Bank, People’s United Bank, Portsmouth Housing Authority, Seacoast Family Promise, Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Exeter, Southern NH Services, Inc., Southwestern Community Services, Inc., Steven Lewis, Inc., Stewart Property Management, TD Bank, N.A., The Front Door Agency, The Way Home, Twin Pines Housing Trust, United Valley Interfaith Project, Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast 

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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