HUD Leadership. The incoming Administration has indicated Dr. Ben Carson will be its choice for HUD Secretary. National advocates hope to forge a working relationship with Carson and incoming HUD leadership.
FY 17 Budget CR. The lame-duck Congress opted to pass another Continuing Resolution instead of a FY17 budget, extending current spending levels through April and giving the new Administration and Congress the opportunity to set its own FY17 budget. Housing advocates will be focused on HUD and USDA’s Rural Housing budgets as well as the issue of “sequestration parity” for non-defense and defense discretionary programs.
Tax Credits. The National Low Income Housing Tax Credit program continues to be the major resource for affordable housing development in New Hampshire. Changes in the market and proposals to lower corporate taxes have weakened the current value of the credit. Advocacy for the longevity and strength of the program is essential to the future of affordable housing in the Granite State. See the recent letter to Congress and the Administration to prioritize the credit.
United for Homes to Fund NHTF. The incoming Administration’s promise of substantial tax reform has spurred renewed hope for the United for Homes campaign, which will re-launch January 11 with a webinar for supporters. The campaign, led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, proposes fund the National Housing Trust Fund by reforming the mortgage interest deduction. Homeowners with mortgages of up to $500,000 would be eligible for a 15% tax credit for interest paid instead of a traditional deduction for those who itemize deductions. See the Campaign page for more information or to register for the webinar.
State Budget. Governor-elect Chris Sununu is expected to propose a 2018-19 biennial state budget in early February. Homeless advocates will again be monitoring the state’s Emergency Shelters line item, funded currently at about $4 million per year for state-funded shelters. Advocates expect level funding. Meanwhile, the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) recommended reinstating the Homeless Housing Access Revolving Loan Fund (HHARLF) to full funding of $200,000 per year. The HHARLF, which provides security deposit loans and guarantees to landlords for those experiencing homelessness, has been operating at $50,000 per year.
2017 Legislative Service Requests. Housing Action NH is tracking a number of proposals awaiting review by the new legislature and governor. Full bill text is pending on most Legislative Service Requests, and we will report on those that we will act on in subsequent editions of Update. In addition to items in the state operating and capital budgets that will be prioritized, other bills we will further discern and act on include:
- NH Affordable Housing Fund. A $25 million request to capitalize the state Affordable Housing Fund is proposed by Sen. Dan Feltes of Concord. See “Events” section below for notice of a Housing Action NH Policy Briefing January 11 for businesses, developers, financiers and other affordable housing stakeholders.
- Increase Community Development Tax Credits. Proposed legislation from Rep. John Hunt would increase the limits on tax credits, some of which are used for housing development and preservation, allocated to the NH Community Development Finance Authority.
- Tenancy in Homeless Shelters. Rep. Steven Boudoin of Rochester has proposed HB229, which would establish notice requirements for termination of tenancy in a homeless shelter.
- Community Investment in Housing Development. Legislation proposed by Sen. Feltes would allow NH communities to invest municipal pension funds and other funds in affordable housing through the state’s development finance institution, the Community Loan Fund.
- Lead Poisoning. Sen. Feltes has introduced legislation to prevent childhood lead poisoning from paint and water. Housing Action NH has a seat on the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Screening Commission, and this bill is a recommendation of that Commission.
REPORTS & RESOURCES
State of Homelessness Report.
The 2016 report, published annually by the NH Coalition to End Homelessness, notes that available data show that overall homelessness continues to decrease in NH. The report attributes the decline to recent sector initiatives such as the Homeless Coordinated Entry System. The report cites continuing concern, however, in rising rental costs, historically low vacancy rates and a slight increase in the number of schoolchildren counted as homeless over the last school year. And, while the unemployment rate in NH remains low, at 3%, the rate of poverty has increased in the last 4 years, from 8.4% in 2012 to 8.9% in 2016.
NH Supportive Housing Business Case Released
. The New Hampshire Business Case for a Supportive Housing Services Benefit
documents the cost savings that can be achieved by providing services. Housing Action NH and the NH Coalition to End Homelessness worked with CSH to analyze the 2015 Medicaid claims data of NH residents experiencing homelessness. The analysis shows about 70% of individuals in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) are now enrolled in Medicaid, 4,296 people. The analysis suggests that Increasing pre-tenancy and tenancy support services would have a significant positive impact in decreasing public costs for this population. State and federal savings for the top decile who received supportive services are $287,798.
Fact Sheet on Federal Rental Assistance Released.
The Center for Budget & Public Policy offers a new rental assistance fact sheet for the state. Among its highlights: 22,000 NH households received federal rental assistance. It shows nearly all households receiving rental assistance include children, or are seniors or people with disabilities. Of the non-elderly/non-disabled households, 77% worked.
Projections and Implications for Housing a Growing Population: Older Households 2015-2035.
A new report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University outlines the growing demand for accessible, affordable homes and services as the population ages and copes with disability, housing cost burdens, and long-term care costs. The report states that the number of older renters eligible for housing assistance is projected to nearly double by 2035. Meantime, appropriations do not provide housing assistance for all eligible now.
Provider Resources on Chronic Homelessness
HUD has released a flowchart, documentation standards and checklist to help providers understand who meets the definition of chronic homelessness, and how to track this population within programs.
NH’s Affordable Housing Fund: Responding to Workforce Challenges
and Building NH’s Economic Future
Wednesday, January 11, 9:30 – 11 AM
32 Constitution Drive (East Entrance, NH Housing)
Housing Action NH will convene housing developers, financiers, allied service professionals and NH’s business community to discuss this year’s capital request for the NH Affordable Housing Fund. Agenda includes a NH employer panel to discuss the role of housing in meeting their business goals, overview of the Fund’s intent and review of a legislative proposal to capitalize it. RSVP required; email Laurel@housingactionnh.org or call 425-3855.
Investing in New Hampshire’s Future: Strategies to Maintain a Strong Workforce and a Vibrant Economy Budget and Policy Conference
Friday, January 13, 8:30 AM – 4 PM
Sponsored by the NH Fiscal Policy Institute. Affordable housing will be among the topics to be discussed. Click here for info/registration info.
Housing Matters Workgroup
Friday, January 20, 10-11:30 am
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 Laurel@housingactionnh.org for meeting information.
Vigils were held in communities around the state last month to remember our NH neighbors whose lives were shortened by homelessness over the last year. A total of 45 people were remembered by attendees at vigils in Concord, Hampstead, Keene, Laconia, Lebanon, Manchester, Nashua, Newport, Peterborough and Portsmouth. Those were:
Robert William Cook
Aaron C. Heywood
Dale Hodgkins, Jr.
Frederick H. Schofield
Denis Thorsel Carpenter
Our sincere thanks to Housing Action NH members and sponsoring members who have renewed their membership commitment to Housing Action NH for 2017.
Since our inception in 2009, we have asked members to renew annually in order to maintain the strength, credibility and integrity of our coalition. If your organization has not yet returned its renewal, please take a moment now to do so.
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.