Housing Action NH February 2015 News & Legislative Update


National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events took place at year’s end in Nashua, Portsmouth, Concord, Manchester, Lebanon, Newport, Laconia, Keene and Peterborough. These events allow us to remember our homeless neighbors and remind us why we advocate for more affordable housing and services to prevent and end homelessness. Forty-three people were remembered at the 2014 memorials: 

Carol B.
Curtis B.
Sarah B.
Kristen B.
Alphonse Belanger
Richard Burhoe
Jerry C.

David Castonguay
Ron Del Dotto
Tim Flaherty
Nicole Foster
Michael G.
Paul G. 

Dave Gagne
John Goba
Joanne H.
William Hayes
Chris J.

Mayme Jackson 
Randy K.
Robert Kennedy 
Michael Kilgore 
Jamie Kupchun 
Jerry Lozeau 
Bonnie M.
Jean M. 
Joseph M. 
Norman McInnis, Jr. 
Paul M.
Shaune Milligan 
Mike Muldoon
Bill Prescott 
Todd Proctor 
Ray R.
Phil Ribaudo 
Frances S. 
James S. 
John S.
Alex Starkweather
Daryl Stimpson
Katelyn Kyle Walker
Scott Y. 


Our membership is growing! Please join Housing Action NH in welcoming our newest sponsoring member People’s United Bank. We also wish to thank and welcome Concord Coalition to End Homelessness and Granite State Managers Association for joining Housing Action NH as new members. 

Not Yet a Member?
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.

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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.
Several priority bills are now on the docket in the NH legislature, and housing advocates are awaiting Governor Hassan’s soon-to-be-announced proposed budget to look for essential supports for housing and homeless services.

The mobilization of the Housing Action NH coalition to support federal and state initiatives that improve housing policy and resources and prevent setbacks has been impressive to date and we are looking forward to a productive 2015.

National Housing Trust Fund Interim Rule Released. Following the announcement by FHFA Administrator Watt ending the suspension of GSE funding to the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), HUD released its interim Rule for the program. The Interim Rule uses HOME regulations as its model and takes effect March 31. New Hampshire, a “small state minimum” state, is expected to receive $3 million from the program at its initial funding levels.
FY16 Budget. The President released his 2016 Budget. An updated budget chart can be found on the Housing Action NH website. The proposal breaches the caps of the Sequester and provides increases to the voucher program, public housing and expands the Moving to Work program, successfully deployed in NH. A Budget Forum webinar is offered by the National Housing Conference Thursday, Feb. 19, 2 - 3:30 p.m. Click here for more info and to register.
Fair Housing. The Supreme Court recently heard Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs. The Inclusive Communities Project, a fair housing case regarding the issue of disparate impact (housing practices that have adverse impacts on protected classes without intent). See the SCOTUS Blog for info on the case.
Federal Home Loan Bank. The Federal Housing Finance Agency recently released a proposed Rule limiting membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank. If enacted, the new limited membership is expected to reduce contributions to the Affordable Housing Program, an important capital program for NH affordable housing projects. Housing Action NH, along with developers and organizations around the country, submitted a comment requesting the proposal be withdrawn.



Budget. Governor Hassan will soon propose her biennial state budget for 2016-17. Hassan’s announcement will be the first in a series of steps to arrive at a final ‘16-‘17 state budget by the end of June.  Housing Action NH has engaged a task force of members and allies to call upon the governor and legislators to support the full DHHS agency request for Emergency Shelters funding and the Homeless Housing & Access Revolving Loan Fund. Part of the requested funds would help implement Coordinated Access in more areas of the state. Coordinated Access pilots in the Keene and Seacoast regions are showing promising results in preventing and addressing homelessness, and all HUD and state-funded agencies are expected to participate in Coordinated Access networks by July 2015.
Affordable Housing Fund. A broad community of stakeholders is also looking to the Governor’s Capital Budget proposal for the inclusion of the Affordable Housing Fund. This is the primary tool used in most states for workforce housing development and is a key recommendation of the recent SB185 Commission Report on housing policy and regulation. (View the full report here).
Rent Deposits. HB 269, sponsored by Representative Duarte, would allow private landlords to increase required upfront rental deposit costs for prospective tenants to first month, last month and a security deposit. A public hearing Jan. 28 drew significant opposition from nonprofit agencies, local government, CAPs, veterans groups, faith leaders, NH Legal Assistance and others who provided testimony to the House Judiciary Committee that this bill would increase homelessness, raise costs to deliver the same level of assistance or cut the level of assistance they could give. The Judiciary Committee voted 13-2 to recommend the bill Inexpedient to Legislate, and a full House vote is expected shortly.
Driver’s Licenses. SB62, sponsored by Senator Kelly, would 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 process would mirror the existing statute that allows someone lacking a permanent address to register a car in NH, and is a request of DMV.  A public hearing is scheduled Feb. 5 in Senate Transportation.
Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. A few proposed bills follow recommendations of the SB185 Commission to study housing policy and regulation. These include SB98, sponsored by Senator Watters, and HB368, sponsored by Representative Butler, both allowing a developer to choose from engineering firms when an outside review is required by a planning board. SB98 awaits recommendation by the Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee. HB368 will be heard by the House Municipal and County Government Committee Feb. 5.
In addition, HB268, sponsored by Representative Butler, establishes a committee to study the adoption of low-impact housing development standards by the Department of Environmental Services. The House Municipal & County Government Committee holds a public hearing Feb. 12 at 9:30 am, Room 301, Legislative Office Building
Accessory Dwelling. Senator Boutin has sponsored a bipartisan bill to establish requirements for local regulation of accessory dwelling units. In its preamble, SB146 recognizes a growing need for more diverse affordable housing opportunities for aging homeowners, single parents, young people starting out, caregivers, and people with disabilities and updates the framework for local land use ordinances.  A hearing was held Feb. 4 and awaits recommendation by Senate Public and Municipal Affairs.
Lead Paint. A bill to reduce the incidence of lead paint poisoning for NH children has been introduced by Senator Feltes. SB135 would establish a task force to consider essential maintenance practices for pre-1978 homes and childcare facilities, require DHHS to notify property owners when a child residing in their property has tested positive for lead, and require educational information to parents when a child tests positive for lead. It would also increase screening rates for lead and adjust legal processes for both landlords and tenants in pre-1978 structures. SB135 awaits a hearing in Senate Health & Human Services.



NH Coalition to End Homelessness issued its State of Homelessness report for 2014 at year end, sparking numerous press reports and boosting public awareness of NH’s homelessness issue.
The Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services released its Annual Report last month, which provides an overview of services provided and how many served via state-funded shelters in State Fiscal Year 2014.


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, 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, 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, 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 

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