Archive for December, 2015

News and Legislative Update December 2015

Housing advocates are gearing up for the new state legislative session and a potential major advancement if the House affirms the committee recommendation on the formerly retained accessory dwelling units bill, SB 146. At the federal level, Congress passed and the President signed an omnibus spending bill and tax extenders package that includes several victories.

Click here for more on these and other affordable housing policy news and analysis important to NH.

FY16 Federal Budget & Tax Extenders Update

Congress has released the text of the omnibus spending bill and the tax extenders package. The omnibus funds all 12 appropriations bills, including the T-HUD and USDA bills, for FY16. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the omnibus and the tax extenders package by the end of this week.

Included in the omnibus and tax extenders bills are several potential victories for housing advocates:

HOME: The HOME program, cut by almost 93% in a prior version coming from the Senate Appropriations Committee, was restored to a level of $950 million. This will likely keep New Hampshire’s HOME program running at the small state minimum level of $3 million. Both Senator Shaheen and Governor Hassan assisted with HOME advocacy. Senator Shaheen had cosponsored an amendment to restore HOME funds and Governor Hassan signed a letter with five other New England Governors calling for strong support for HOME.

Homeless Assistance Grants: The omnibus increases Homeless Assistance Grants from FY15’s $2.135B to $2.250B.

Housing Tax Credit: The tax extenders package would permanently extend the minimum 9 percent credit rate (and make it retroactive to January 1, 2015) for new construction and substantial rehabilitation using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC). The permanent minimum 9 percent rate is considered a major victory, as it is expected to strengthen the Housing Credit by simplifying program administration and allowing states to allocate more Housing Credit equity into individual developments. The bill does not, however, establish a minimum 4 percent credit rate for acquisition that housing advocates had requested.

Public Housing Operating and Capital Funds: The package includes small increases for public housing authorities.

National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF): No NHTF funds are raided in the omnibus. A prior House proposal would have raided 100% of the NHTF’s funds in 2016 and used them to fund the HOME program. If the omnibus is passed, the National Housing Trust Fund will be on track to deliver its first resources to states in 2016 for the production, preservation, and operation of predominantly affordable rental housing for extremely low income households.

USDA Rural Development: Within USDA’s Rural Development appropriations, the omnibus would provide $1.38 billion for Section 521 Rental Assistance, a significant increase compared to FY15’s $1.167 billion, which proved significantly insufficient to meet FY15’s renewal needs. The omnibus bill would also increase funds for the rural housing voucher program.

New VASH Vouchers: The spending package includes new rental assistance vouchers for veterans, a key tool needed to end veterans’ homelessness.

Housing Action NH calls on the NH Congressional delegation to support passage of the omnibus and tax extenders bills. 

We will update you on any further developments.

Homeless Memorial Day 2015 Vigils

Sunday, December 20

Manchester: 12 noon at 1269 Café, 123 Hanover Street
Contact: Craig Chevalier, cachevalier@consumerprofilesinc.com

Monday, December 21

Concord: 4 pm in front of the State House
Contact:  Maggie Fogarty, AFSC, mfogarty@afsc.org

Peterborough: 4:30 pm Peterborough Town Hall
Contact:  Susan Howard, Program Manager, Monadnock Area Transitional Shelter, mats.peterborough@gmail.com

Lebanon: 5 pm, Tri-County CAP, 57 Mechanic Street, Ste G0-1
Contact:  Dianne Munson (603) 443-6150 or Angel Hudson, angelhudson82@gmail.com

Keene: 5 pm, Central Square
Contact:  Mindy Cambiar, mcambiar@hundrednightsinc.org

Portsmouth: 5:30 pm, Market Square
Contact:  Jessica Parker, Crossroads House, j.parker@crossroadshouse.org

Laconia: 5:30 pm, Veterans Park
Contact: Len Campbell, NH Catholic Charities, lcampbell@nh-cc.org

Newport: 6 pm, On the Common
Contact:  Alice Roberts, aliceandruss@comcast.net

Tuesday, December 22

Nashua: 5 pm, Main St. Methodist Church (corner of Temple & Main Streets)
Contact:  Eileen Brady, Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, eileen@nsks.org

 Scheduled as of 12/11/15

Housing Matters Workgroup Meets Jan. 14

Housing Action NH hosts a monthly meeting for members interested in learning, connecting and sharing with a network of advocates united around affordable housing and homelessness policy. These meetings are open to any interested Housing Action NH member.

Our next meeting takes place Friday, January 14, 10-11:30 AM in Concord.

Please contact Membership Coordinator Laurel Redden for location details or to receive meeting notices at laurel@housingactionnh.org.

Last Day to Register Dec. 1!

New England Housing Network Annual Conference
Friday, December 4
Sheraton Needham Hotel, Needham, MA 

Join New Hampshire advocates at this annual event! National housing advocates reflect on what has happened over the last two decades, and what we can do to shape policy and funding going forward.  The format provides opportunities to interact with the advocates and other conference attendees, learn more about key areas for change through in-depth workshops, and help chart a course for future actions of the New England Housing Network.
Click here for more information, including list of speakers and registration. More about the New England Network here.