Housing Action NH
October 2016 News & Legislative Update 
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Housing Action NH
 News and Legislative Update 
October 2016
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Congress’ anticipated Continuing Resolution will fund federal housing and homeless programs at FY 2016 levels until December 9. At the state level, housing advocates are sharing the alarming data released in the annual Residential Rental Cost Survey indicating a severe shortage in the supply of affordable rental homes, generating workforce challenges and undermining economic recovery for New Hampshire families. Read on for the latest policies and resources impacting affordable housing and homelessness in NH.
IN THIS ISSUE:

FEDERAL

FY 17 Budget CR. On a 72-26 vote in the Senate and 342-85 in the House, Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution that will keep the government running through December 9. The spending bill funds all low-income housing and homeless programs at FY 2016 levels. A long-term CR, extending into 2017, would risk housing stability for those currently served by HUD- and USDA-funded housing programs.
 
Tax Credits. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016 (S. 3237), a comprehensive bill to expand and strengthen the Housing Credit. S. 3237 would raise the cap on Housing Credit allocation authority by 50% and make numerous programmatic modifications, including income averaging. This legislation builds on an earlier version of the bill, S. 2962, introduced in May 2016. Cantwell and Hatch will continue to seek co-sponsors for S. 2962, which now has 13 co-sponsors, including NH’s Senator Ayotte, and will begin to make the case for the reforms included in their new legislation.
 
USDA Releases Maturing Mortgage Dates. USDA has released a loan level database of all rural multifamily loans and their respective maturity dates, indicating when the properties are scheduled to exit the rural multifamily housing program. Once USDA Section 515 loans are paid, the accompanying regulatory requirements for affordable rents and rental assistance no longer apply, putting tenants at risk. The Housing Assistance Council has analyzed data on USDA's multifamily loan portfolio and found that an average of 74 properties, or 1,788 units, will leave the program each year for the next 12 years (2016-2027). From 2028 to 2032, the number of properties exiting the program is expected to increase to 556 properties, or 16,364 units, per year. New Hampshire has over 2,700 affordable units in 88 properties in USDA’s multifamily program.
 
CDFI Awards Through Capital Magnet Fund. The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) recently awarded 32 organizations, including the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, a total of nearly $91.5 million in grants for the development of affordable housing and community facilities in low-income communities. Awards were made through the FY 2016 round of the Capital Magnet Fund. They will support financing for the preservation, rehabilitation, development or purchase of affordable housing for low-income communities as well as related economic development and community service facilities such as day care centers, workforce development centers and health care clinics. New Hampshire will receive $1.5 million, which will be used for lending to help residents of manufactured housing parks form cooperatives in order to purchase and improve their parks. The award is intended to attract private dollars at a 9:1 ratio, which means the Community Loan Fund would need to raise $12 million from investors and another $1.5 million in equity for affordable housing lending. The total lending from this award will result in $15 million of lending for 431 affordable housing units throughout NH. The Community Loan Fund received this award based on its successful track record of addressing affordable housing in NH, which includes manufactured housing.  Access the announcement here.

STATE

State Budget. State agencies are currently formulating their requests for the State Fiscal Year 2018-19 budget. Housing advocates are monitoring the Emergency Shelters and Homeless Housing Access Revolving Loan Fund (HHARLF) line items. The Governor’s Interagency Council on Homeless, which has statutory authority to recommend funding levels for the HHARLF recently recommended restoring funding to its original funding level of $200,000 per year when it was created in 2007 to meet anticipated need for security deposit loans and first month’s rent to help transition families out of homeless shelters and into homes.
 
Affordable Housing Fund. The latest data gathered from the annual Residential Cost Survey indicate that the state has an unprecedented lack of affordable rental housing units. This is happening at a time when our renter population continues to increase, creating workforce challenges and income pressures on NH families.

In order to encourage the development of rental housing that is affordable to NH’s families and workforce, housing advocates will be urging a state investment in the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). The AHF is our state's housing trust fund created by the legislature in 1988.
 
NH’s Medicaid/Supportive Housing Crosswalk Released. The New Hampshire Medicaid Supportive Housing Services Crosswalk examines the extent to which services covered under the state’s Medicaid program align with supportive housing services for adults with significant needs. CSH conducted this Medicaid Crosswalk with funding from New Hampshire Housing, in partnership with Families in Transition and the NH Department of Health and Human Services. Several best practices and recommendations are identified in the report. Among them, CSH recommends:
  • a supportive housing services benefit included as a Medicaid waiver or state plan amendment;
  • supportive housing and case management services covered and expanded to include individuals with substance use disorders;
  • resulting cost savings redirected to behavioral health and housing systems;
  • training provided to all stakeholder organizations (managed care organizations and health and housing providers) on the role of supportive housing as a health intervention.
Read more about the process, findings and recommendations in the Crosswalk. Stakeholder education is already underway, through the Supportive Housing Medicaid Institute, funded by the Endowment for Health.

PUBLIC HEARING

The State's Consolidated Plan is the five-year plan for the use of HUD funds block-granted to the state to address community development, housing, and homeless needs. A public hearing on NH’s Plan will be held Thursday, October 13, 2-4 PM, at the Community Development Finance Authority, 14 Dixon Ave., Concord. In addition, comments may be submitted to comments@nhhfa.org by October 26. Access the plan draft here.
 

REPORTS


The Personal and Financial Costs of Insufficient Housing: Case Studies of High Frequency Service Users in Manchester, New Hampshire, published by the NH Coalition to End Homelessness in collaboration with the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, Families in Transition and New Horizons for NH, reviews the systemic costs of homelessness for three individual high utilizers, and recommends ways to reduce utilization by implementing multi-disciplinary teams, such as Community Care Teams, to manage complex cases, increasing supportive housing program, and expanding respite care options. Access the report here.

Opening Doors to Homes for All, published by the Center for Community Change, compiles information about state and local housing trust funds across the country, noting that every dollar invested by state housing trust funds leverage an average of $7 dollars from other public and private sources. NH’s Affordable Housing Fund was established in 1988. Unlike many other state housing trust funds, NH does not dedicate a source of ongoing funding. The Affordable Housing Fund has been capitalized just five times, including two small but important appropriations in 2015 and 2016. The report is available by clicking here
 
Housing Spotlight: The Long Wait for a Home, released this week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, examines wait times and waiting list closures for Extremely Low Income renters seeking Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing. It finds the median wait for a voucher nationwide was 1.5 years, and 25% of wait lists were three years or longer. It also found the median public housing wait is nine months, with 25% of public housing waits of 1.5 years or longer. In NH, the average wait for a voucher according to NH Housing is 6-8 years.  Read the report here

EVENTS

NH Housing Economic and Housing Market Update Conference – October 19, 8 am – 12 pm, Manchester Keynote Speaker: Douglas Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist, Fannie Mae. Registration closes soon; details and online registration here

NH Healthy Homes – October 25, 7:30 am – 4 pm, Concord. Agenda includes workshops on lead, safe drinking water, responding to housing condition challenges, safety and more. Information and registration here.  
 
Save the Date: New England Housing Forum  -- Friday, December 16, 9 am - 12 pm, Boston. National speakers, panelists and workshops cover affordable housing topics and challenges facing the New England region. More information and registration will be announced shortly. Please watch Housing Action NH’s website.
 
Housing Matters Workgroup – Friday, October 14, 10-11:30 am, Concord. Housing Action NH invites 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. 

ELECTION YEAR OPPORTUNITY

The Make Room Campaign, a collaboration of Enterprise Community Partners, the MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation and CohnReznick, calls upon housing advocates nationwide to send one million messages to Congress before the November 8 election about the nation’s affordable housing crisis. The campaign has sign-on letters for both organizations and individuals that will be delivered to Members of Congress post-election, and offers other ways and tools to raise the issue between now and Election Day.
 
Click here for more information about how you and your organization or business can participate.

JOIN HOUSING ACTION NH

Our unique coalition focuses on NH issues, and we are stronger together! To join Housing Action NH, 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. Click here to see Housing Action NH MEMBERS

CURRENT MEMBERS: It's member renewal time!
Please watch your inbox for your renewal notice. We hope all of our members will choose to renew. We're grateful for your membership and look forward to another year advocating for more affordable homes and ending homelessness in NH. For questions about your membership, please contact Laurel at Laurel@housingactionnh.org.


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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