The Senate Finance Committee considered housing-related amendments to the 2022-23 budget last week. In a vote of 6-0, the Committee approved a $25 million general fund appropriation to the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF). In addition, they reinstated the Real Estate Transfer Tax carve-out to the AHF, adding another $10 million for a total of $35 million.
The same Committee rejected an amendment presented by NH DHHS to increase the funding for homeless services by $19.8 million. Instead, they advanced a separate amendment to reinstate the Department’s eviction prevention program for $3 million. Homeless service advocates are continuing to seek support from state policymakers for the resources needed to address the increase in the homeless population. According to HUD, New Hampshire experienced one of the highest increases in the homeless population in the country between 2019 and 2020, with an overall increase of 21%.
Budget bills, HB 1 and HB 2, still need consideration by the full Senate and a likely Committee of Conference before heading to the Governor.
Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentives/HB 154.Representative Casey Conley’s bill to enable municipalities to offer community revitalization tax incentives for the construction of affordable housing has passed the House and Senate and heads to the Governor for signature. This bill is an expansion of the existing RSA 79:e statute. It would allow developers to access tax relief provisions if one-third of the housing units are set aside as affordable. The bill also extends the maximum period of this relief from 9 to 10 years.
Right to Cure/SB 126. Senator Perkins Kwoka’s bill to extend the right to cure for tenants up until the date of the eviction hearing passed the Senate and received a favorable recommendation by the House Judiciary Committee. The bill will be on the consent calendar at the next session of the full House.
2021-2025 Consolidated Plan. NH Housing Finance Authority, NH Community Development Finance Authority and the NH Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Housing Supports have submitted the 2021-2025 Consolidated Plan to HUD. The plan establishes priorities for addressing the state’s housing, homeless, and community development. The plan is developed with the support of the Housing and Community Development Planning Council.
Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Report. New Hampshire Legal Assistance has finalized its updates to the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Report. The report reviews issues related to housing discrimination and proposes actions and policy improvements, including the need to end source of income discrimination for those seeking to pay for housing with vouchers.
Supportive Housing Medicaid Benefit. The NH Department of Health and Human Services has posted the 1915i state plan amendment for supportive housing services for public comment. Following the comment period, the proposal will be submitted to CMS. The proposed effective date is September 1, 2021.
NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Relief and Recovery has launched data tracking of the ERAP program on its website. According to the data posted on May 21, the program has supported 2,089 households with payments totaling $12,093,890.31. Governor Sununu has also submitted a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen requesting flexibility to use resources to address housing production needs. New Hampshire is eligible to receive a total of $352 million in rental assistance funding from the December 2020 and American Rescue Plan packages.