Housing Action NH
July 2015 News & Legislative Update 
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Housing Action NH
 News and Legislative Update 
July 2015
NH State House Dome
The state legislative year wound up June 30, and housing advocates celebrated several accomplishments, including a state capital appropriation for the Affordable Housing Fund, passage of lead paint legislation, improved access to driver’s licenses for the homeless, restoration of the Emergency Shelter program in the operating budget (now vetoed) and the defeat of proposed increases to required rental deposits. Given the veto, homeless funding advocates will need to re-engage in the fall. Details on these topics, federal updates, new housing-related reports and event information follow.


Tax Reform Working Group Silent on Housing. The Senate Committee on Finance released reports this month from its five bipartisan working groups, each centering on different areas of the federal tax code. Of particular interest to housing advocates were reports from the Individual Income Tax Bipartisan Working Group, expected to review the Mortgage Interest Deduction, and the Community Development and Infrastructure Bipartisan Tax Working Group, which was expected to consider the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. In the end, neither report included housing-related recommendations. Final reports are here
HOME Cuts Proposed in Senate Appropriations Committee. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the T-HUD bill on June 25. The bill’s funding levels were significantly restrained by a shrinking Subcommittee allocation and the sequester. The bill includes a 93% proposed cut to the HOME program, from $900 million in FY15 to $66 million in FY16. At these levels, it’s unclear what funding, if any, would come to small population states like NH. An amendment offered to restore HOME funding was co-sponsored by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who serves on the Appropriations Committee. The amendment failed on a party line vote of 14 to 16. National partners have noted that it is unlikely that the Committee bill as passed will be considered by the full Senate.
USDA Rural Development. Properties in NH are in the first wave of expiring USDA Rural Development mortgages under the 515 Direct Loan program that keep rentals affordable in dozens of NH communities. Housing Action NH, working with its regional partners in the New England Housing Network, shared policy recommendations with USDA, federal appropriators, the New England congressional delegation and the White House on steps to preserve 515 properties. The letter can be found here.
SCOTUS Fair Housing Ruling. On June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld of the disparate impact standard in housing discrimination in a 5-4 decision ruling on Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v The Inclusive Communities Project. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, which means that only a pattern of impact needs to be demonstrated to support a claim of discrimination, rather than an actual intention to discriminate. The decision was a major victory for fair housing, housing, consumer, and civil rights organizations. A summary of the majority and dissenting opinions can be found here.


Emergency Shelters. The Senate restored $4 million in cuts to Emergency Shelters made by the House in the 2016-2017 state operating budget, providing level funding for shelter contracts from the 2015 budget. This brings total funding back to the $8 million originally proposed by Governor Hassan for the biennium. However, issues related to tax and revenue cuts, and disagreement over the amount of the 2015 carry-over prompted the governor to veto the budget. The legislature passed a six-month Continuing Resolution to keep state agencies operating at 2015 levels through the end of the year. Governor Hassan has requested legislative leaders meet during the summer to compromise on the budget. House Speaker Jasper and Senate President Morse have both publicly indicated their timing would be in the fall. A special session will need to be called in order to take a vote on a new budget proposal.
Affordable Housing Fund. The 2016-17 Capital Budget (HB25) signed by Governor Hassan includes $800,000 for the NH Affordable Housing Fund. The figure reflects a compromise reached between House and Senate conferees. The governor’s $2 million appropriation had been zeroed out by the House, but partially restored in the Senate to $1 million. The appropriation marks the first time since 2007 that any funds have been appropriated to the Fund, which has helped create 1,849 homes in NH since it was established in 1988.
Driver’s Licenses. The House passed SB62, Senator Kelly’s bill to allow someone without a permanent address to apply for a driver’s license with the help of a supporting social service agency serving as contact point for Department of Motor Vehicles purposes. The law takes effect August 11.  
Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. SB98, allowing a developer to choose from engineering firms when an outside review is required by a planning board, passed the Senate and House and became law without the Governor’s signature. The new law takes effect August 8.
A legislative committee authorized by passage of HB268, sponsored by Rep. Butler, will study low-impact housing development standards and is expected to convene soon. This committee will review and make recommendations to address inconsistencies between standards set by NH’s Department of Environmental Services and localities. A report is due by November 1.
Accessory Dwellings. SB146, Senator Boutin’s proposal to give home owners greater leeway to create Accessory Dwellings was retained in the House Municipal and County Government Committee for further work. Its recommendation will need to be made ahead of a vote in the full House in January.
Lead Paint. SB135, Senator Feltes’ bill to reduce the incidence of childhood lead poisoning, passed the legislature and was signed by Governor Hassan. The final bill establishes important notification, education and screening requirements, as well as a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Screening Commission that will study and try to form consensus around issues such as the role of local building officials in lead-safe renovation practices. Housing Action NH is pleased to be among the Commission members and will provide updates as its work gets underway. The Commission is due to report out by December 1, 2016.
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure. The House voted to kill SB52, a proposal by Senator Pierce that would have studied the issue of residential tenancy rights in foreclosed properties. This proposal was among the recommendations of the 2014 Commission on NH Mortgage Foreclosure Law and Fair Foreclosure Practices created by SB306. Federal protections that allowed tenants to remain in their home for 90 days or until their lease expired during a foreclosure sunset in December, 2014.  
Homeowner Foreclosure. SB50, sponsored by Sen. Pierce, provides somewhat greater protection to home owners threatened by foreclosure by increasing the notice period required in advance of a foreclosure sale, from 25 to 45 days. It also requires foreclosure notices to include contact information for the NH Banking Department, where home owners will find information to help them with housing and foreclosure issues, including a toll-free hotline. SB50 was signed by the Governor and takes effect January 1.

FHLB of Boston 2015 Affordable Housing Program. The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston will soon accept applications for at least $15 million in subsidy to support the development of affordable housing across New England. Housing partners, developers, member financial institutions, and other stakeholders interested in applying in the upcoming funding round are encouraged to participate in AHP trainings in Boston July 23 or at Bretton Woods, NH July 28.

Application webinars are also available:
Revolving Loan Funds - July 21
Rental Initiatives - August 4
Homeownership Initiatives - August 12
Find info and registration for all trainings and webinars here
Info about the FHLB Affordable Housing Program, including the 2015 Round Announcement, 2015 Notice of Changes and 2015 AHP Implementation Plan can be found here.


2015 Rental Cost Survey. NH Housing’s annual survey finds median 2-BR rental costs have jumped to $1,157 a month, while vacancy rates have decreased to just 2.2%, creating what it calls a “landlord’s market” across the state. Since 2010, rental costs have increased 10% statewide, and 15% in Grafton and Coos counties. Access the full report here.
CBPP Housing Fact Sheets. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has updated its state fact sheets and data for Housing Choice Vouchers and Rental Assistance programs, including utilization and impact of sequestration on these programs. Find searchable databases here
Family Options Study. The Urban Institute analysis on the HUD Family Options Study outlines new evidence showing rental assistance leads to significantly better outcomes for families from a host of perspectives. The stability in housing resulting from rental assistance leads to better educational outcomes for children, reduced domestic violence rates, better health outcomes and more. Click here for the analysis, including links to the Family Options Study. 


BIA Housing Forum – Friday, September 11, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm, Radisson Hotel, Manchester. Luncheon and panel discussion on housing in NH. Topics include: the impact of housing on hiring; how the cost and availability of housing affects young working professionals’ decisions on where to locate; examples of ways housing advocates and the business community are working together to improve housing availability and affordability; what’s happening at the local and regional level to plan for new housing starts; and a 30,000-foot review of housing challenges in the Granite State. The forum is sponsored by New Hampshire Housing, and in partnership with Housing Action NH and the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast. Find more details and registration here.
NH Conference on Homelessness – Monday, September 28, Grappone Conference Center, Concord. Housing Action NH is pleased to provide a breakout entitled “Policy Matters: Stepping Up to Advocacy.” Please watch our website for details and registration info.  
Housing Summit – Friday, October 16, 8 am - 4 pm at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. Hosted by the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families and the Bipartisan Policy Center. More information will be available at the Foundation's site


Housing Action NH thanks all of our members and allies for participating in Home Matters in NH Week this spring. With everyone’s participation, we were able to share information and stories about the challenges NH faces without enough affordable homes, and inspire support for state and Federal affordable housing policy solutions.

Keep our Home Matters report and info graphics handy for quick, NH-specific facts and data your can use in your work.
Award recipient Mike LaFontaine with Juliana Eades of NH Community Loan Fund
Congratulations to our first Home Matters in NH Award recipients, honoring outstanding work in three categories that help advance policies for more affordable housing and ending homelessness. We were pleased to present awards to Senators Jeb Bradley and Martha Fuller Clark for their legislative work; to Concord resident Mike LaFontaine, formerly with the NH Community Loan Fund, for his long-time advocacy; and to Concord Monitor reporters Megan Doyle and Jeremy Blackman for their series covering the issue of homelessness in Concord in the media category.
Sen. Jeb Bradley receives Award from Elissa Margolin


Please join us in welcoming a new member to Housing Action NH’s coalition: J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families.
We also wish to thank and welcome new subscribers who have signed up for our email list and signed our petitions over the last few months. Your continued interest and participation in Housing Action’s work makes our advocacy stronger.


If your organization is not on the list below, please consider joining Housing Action NH as a member. Our unique coalition focuses on NH issues, and we are stronger together! Simply download, complete and return our one-page member form. Contact our membership coordinator at Laurel@housingactionnh.org for more information on 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, 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., 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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