News and Legislative Update – December 2022
In This Issue
Year-End Omnibus. Congress has passed a final FY 23 spending bill that includes some increases to key HUD and USDA RD programs. According to the analysis from the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), enough funding is provided to renew all existing voucher contracts and expand rental assistance to an additional 12,000 households at risk of homelessness. Other programs received an increase in funding, including Homeless Assistance Grants ($3.6 billion), Public Housing Operating Funds ($5.1 billion), Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($1.08 billion), Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities ($360 million), and fair housing programs ($86 million).
Some programs received level funding compared to FY22, including the CDBG program ($3.3 billion) and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program ($1.5 billion). See the final funding levels on NLIHC’s updated budget chart.
Out of Reach 2022. NLIHC’s 2022 Out of Reach report, a comprehensive data analysis on the cost of housing, indicates that New Hampshire has the 15th highest rental housing costs in the nation. The “housing wage,” the per hour wage required to afford a typical 2-bedroom apartment, rose to $26.29, up from $24.73 the prior year. The 2022 report also makes data available per metro area, revealing a New Hampshire hourly housing wage as high as $40.58 in parts of Rockingham County.
Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, All In: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness was released on December 19. Developed by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) in collaboration with 19 federal agencies, the plan outlines strategies to prevent homelessness and increase the supply of housing with supportive services, and announces the ambitious goal of reducing homelessness by 25% by 2025. The administration encourages state and local governments to use the new plan as a blueprint for developing their own plans to prevent and end homelessness and for defining their own goals for 2025. All In recommits the federal government to proven strategies to end homelessness, including housing first, an evidence-based approach for ending homelessness for individuals and families.
New Session. The 2023-2024 legislative session kicked off on Organization Day on December 7. In the House of Representatives, Representative Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry) was elected House Speaker. Representative Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) will serve as Minority Leader. The House is currently made up of 201 Republican Representatives and 197 Democrats with one open seat and one upcoming special election. The Senate elected Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfboro) to serve as Senate President and Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) will serve as the Minority Leader. The Senate’s make up is 14R- 10D.
New Housing Committee. The New Hampshire House of Representatives announced three Special Committees, including one on housing. The Special Committee on Housing will include 10 House members, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Representative Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown) will serve as chair of the special committee on housing, with Representative Ben Baroody (D-Manchester) as vice-chair.
Legislative Service Requests. More than 824 bills have been filed for the 2023 legislation with bill language expected next month. You can find the list of current LSRs here. Housing Action NH will create a web page of housing related bills on its website for stakeholders.
Budget Year. The Legislature will consider and pass the state budget for the next biennium this session. A key priority for housing advocates will be to secure appropriations for the Affordable Housing Fund for the Affordable Housing Fund and homeless services. You can track the budget process for SFYs 2024-2025 here.
2022 Home Matters in New Hampshire Awards.
Housing Action NH presented its “Home Matters in NH Awards” at the 5th Annual Housing We Need Forum hosted by the Center for Ethics in Society at Saint Anselm College.
Housing Action NH recognized the following policymakers and advocates for their efforts to advance and inform policy solutions to NH’s housing crisis:
- Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka – was recognized for her leadership in the State Senate. Senator Perkins Kwoka is co-chair of the legislative Housing Caucus.
- Representative Joe Alexander – was recognized for his leadership in the NH House. Representative Joe Alexander is co-chair of the legislative Housing Caucus.
- Donnalee Lozeau – the CEO of Southern NH Services for her leadership on housing stability during the pandemic.
- Elliott Berry – from New Hampshire Legal Assistance for his decades of advocacy for affordable housing and tenant rights.
- Deborah Schachter – from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for her leadership in addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Awards were also given to the following members of the media who demonstrated excellence in covering housing issues:
- Granite State News Collaborative was recognized by Housing Action NH for their work illuminating the housing crisis in New Hampshire through the Invisible Wallsseries; and
- Ethan DeWitt was recognized for his work at New Hampshire Bulletin covering New Hampshire’s housing crisis.
“We need excellent leadership, advocacy and good reporting in order to recover from the housing crisis.” said Elissa Margolin, director of Housing Action NH. “The Home Matters in New Hampshire awards provide us an opportunity to showcase the excellent work happening.”