Housing Action NH
October 2015 News & Legislative Update 
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Housing Action NH
 News and Legislative Update 
October 2015
NH State House Dome
Through strong advocacy from the homeless services provider community, the final budget included full funding for Emergency Shelters. The efforts to advance opportunities for Accessory Dwelling Units also progressed, and the SB 135 Lead Poisoning Commission began its work. At the national level, diverse housing interests have come together to challenge the sequester caps through the Caps Hurt Communities campaign.

In time for the presidential primary season in NH, the UNH Survey Center released poll results showing nearly 90% of Granite Staters think housing affordability is a problem and 75% think presidential candidates should address the issue.
IN THIS ISSUE:

FEDERAL

FY ’16 Budget. Congress averted a government shutdown for the moment, passing a Continuing Resolution that funds government services at FY ’15 levels through December 11. Leaders are working on a deal that could raise the spending caps that were put in place under sequestration.
 
A national campaign, Caps Hurt Communities, has been building among advocates to end federal sequester caps.  Housing Action NH is participating in this campaign. Click here for info on a webinar Monday, Oct. 19 on spending caps, budget negotiations and impact on housing and community development.
 
Meanwhile, a separate but related deadline nears on whether Congress will raise or suspend the nation’s debt ceiling, allowing the Federal government to continue paying its obligations, including Federal contractors, veterans benefits and Social Security. The Treasury Secretary expects to arrive at that point on or about November 5.
 
HOME.  One of the most critical programs to creating affordable housing in NH is the HOME Investment Partnerships program. Appropriations for HOME has been sinking in recent years, and the recent T-HUD bill voted out of the Senate Appropriations bill cut HOME by another 93%. Housing Action NH, in partnership with the New England Housing Network, secured letters over the summer from almost all New England state governors stating strong support for HOME, including NH Governor Maggie Hassan. In addition, Enterprise Community Partners has now re-circulated a call for sign-ons by organizations to a letter asking for fully funding HOME. Deadline to sign on is Nov. 9. Click here to access the letter.

STATE

Budget. The House, Senate and Governor reached agreement on the 2016-17 biennial budget last month. The full $8 million appropriation for Emergency Shelters remained intact in the final version, reflecting a level funding pool for homeless services providers. The end product was largely as the Senate passed it, with some concessions that the governor sought, such as funding for state employee contracts. Cuts to business taxes were negotiated to include a “trigger” intended to prevent further business tax rate cuts should increases to revenue not materialize.

Accessory Dwelling Units. The Municipal and County Government recommended on October 6 that SB 146 Ought to Pass as Amended by a vote of 11-2.  SB 146 allows an accessory dwelling unit in single-family homes as a matter of right through a conditional use permit or by special exception. This bill is viewed as a key statewide strategy to providing much needed housing for NH’s growing senior population who want to stay in their homes longer as well as other family members requiring in-home care.
 
Lead Poisoning Commission. The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention & Screening Commission, formed as part of the passage of SB135 this session, has been meeting over the summer and fall. The Commission will assess and recommend measures to prevent childhood lead poisoning and improve screening rates among children under age 6. Housing Action NH is represented on the 18-member Commission by its Governing Council member Elliott Berry of NH Legal Assistance. Its first report is due December 2016. Information about Commission membership and meetings is available here

UNH POLL: HOUSING UNAFFORDABLE


Almost 90% of NH Residents Concerned About Housing Affordability
 
A recent UNH Survey Center poll of NH residents shows residents are significantly concerned about housing affordability in NH. The poll, released this week shows 88% of NH adults polled believe housing affordability is a problem in the Granite State, and 75% say it’s an issue they want presidential candidates to address. Those polled are particularly concerned about affordability for NH’s young people, with 82% responding it has become more difficult for young people to find an affordable home in NH.
 
The poll, commissioned by J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families, will be shared at today’s NH Housing Summit at St. Anselm College Institute of Politics. http://jrthousing.org/event/new-hampshire-housing-summit/
 
Read the full article at the NH Business Review http://www.nhbr.com/October-30-2015/Affordable-housing-on-voters-agenda/
 

COMMENT ON 5-YEAR PLAN

Comment on 5-Year Consolidated Plan
NH’s 2016-2020 Consolidated Plan and 2016 Action Plan for the proposed use of HUD funds to address community development, housing and homeless needs have been posted and are open for comment.  The Consolidated Plan identifies priority needs, and the Action Plan establishes how those priorities will be addressed in NH with HUD resources over the next calendar year. The Draft Consolidated Plan and Action Plan are available at http://www.nhhfa.org/housing-data-state-planning-consolidated-plan.cfm.  Comments should be emailed by Oct. 28 to comments@nhhfa.org.

EVENTS

OCTOBER 16: New Hampshire Housing Summit, 7:30 am – 5 pm, St. Anselm College Institute of Politics. Sponsored by J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America’s Families.
 
OCTOBER 27: NH Healthy Homes Conference, 7:30 am – 4 pm, Grappone Center, Concord. Keynote speaker Murray Banks, Ellen Tohn, Tohn Environmental Strategies LLC & Mary Jean Brown, Chief, Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the Centers for Disease Control. Sessions on Drug Paraphernalia, Preventing Mold in Your Home, One Touch, Home Fire Safety, Bedbugs, Safety for Home Visitors, and Meth Labs. $50 registration; closes today, Oct. 16.
 
OCTOBER 28: Economic & Housing Market Update, 8 am – 12:15 pm, Radisson Hotel, Manchester. Speakers: Luke Tate, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council and Chris Estes, President and CEO of the National Housing Conference. Panel on How the Market is Responding to Forecasted Demographic Changes; optional afternoon training on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. First of NH Housing’s 2015-2016 Statewide Housing Conference Series. $55 registration.
 
DECEMBER 4: New England Network Annual Conference, Sheraton Needham Hotel, Needham, MA. New format: national advocates present their thoughts “in the round” and hold “office hours” to address specific questions. Click here for more information, including list of speakers. Registration and more details to come. More about the New England Network here.
 
NOVEMBER 13: Housing Matters Workgroup, 10 – 11:30 AM, Concord. A chance for Housing Action NH’s members to meet, share and learn more about priority housing policies. Open to all members. Please contact Membership Coordinator Laurel Redden to be added to invite list at laurel@housingactionnh.org.

ADVOCACY TRAININGS

NH House Members assist at mock hearing.
Housing Action NH was recently invited to present an advocacy workshop at this year’s Conference on Homelessness. Those attending the breakout participated in a mock legislative hearing on a bill Housing Action NH worked on in the 2015 session, HB269, the proposal to raise rent deposits. It was a great exercise, and we were pleased to have the assistance of several NH state legislators – Representatives Steven Smith, Marjorie Porter and Patrick Long â€“ on our mock panel.
 
Housing Action NH also conducted the mock hearing with a class in the UNH School of Social Work, where we were assisted by NH Representatives Jacqueline Cilley, Timothy Horrigan and Janet Wall. Our thanks to these busy legislators for taking the time to serve on these panels.
 
These trainings were a great learning experience for organizers and participants alike, and helped build skills for tomorrow’s affordable housing advocates.
 
Have you thought about training your board or group in advocacy? The team at Housing Action NH stands ready to assist! Please contact our Director, Elissa Margolin at Elissa@housingactionnh.org to discuss.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS

Please join us in welcoming two new members to Housing Action NH’s coalition: the NH Public Health Association and LeadingAge Maine & New Hampshire.
 
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.

JOIN HOUSING ACTION NH

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, LeadingAge Maine & New Hampshire, 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, NH Public Health Association, 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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