[Hpn] Housing crunch an issue in NH governor's race - Campaign 2000 FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Tue, 29 Aug 2000 14:10:47 -0700 (PDT)

Would "reducing property taxes" help to "decrease the shortage of affordable housing" for low-income persons? Why or why not? See below for a related article, on the NH Governor's race: http://newsfinder.arinet.com/fpweb/fp.dll/$stargeneral/htm/x_dv.htm/_ibyx/cg0302 6/_itox/starnet/_svc/news/_Id/672847690/_k/ejZhTj6W3c54ovp2 FWD Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Aug 24, 2000 GUBERNATORIAL HOPEFULS SKKE SOLUTION TO LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING By HARRY R. WEBER Associated Press Writer CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ While gubernatorial hopefuls are knocking on doors to win entry to the Statehouse, some New Hampshire residents are having a tough time finding houses of their own. The candidates said countering the affordable housing crunch in the state is a priority, though they believe there is no easy solution. Republican Jim Squires said Thursday the state needs to do more to help people find cheaper houses and apartments. He said he supports state subsidies for low-income residents. ``Part of this campaign is about trying to lower the statewide property tax,'' said Squires, a state senator from Hollis. ``Although it will take a while to do it, some feel what is driving the high rents and home prices is the state property tax.'' ``We have to lower that,'' he added. ``Over time, one would hope that would be reflected in individual rentals.'' Squires said that in the short-run, it may be difficult to fix the problem. There are existing state programs to help the homeless and low-income people, but they do not receive enough funding, Squires said. Nationally, according to housing officials, more than 500 apartments per month have been withdrawn from America's subsidized housing stockpile this year. The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority said the median rent, plus utilities, for a two-bedroom apartment went up 6 percent since last year, to $770 a month. Last year, the figure was $730. The highest costs are in Rockingham County. ``People are getting priced out of the market,'' said Democrat Mark Fernald, a state senator from Sharon. ``We have to do something about that.'' Fernald, like Squires, said lowering property taxes is essential in helping people find more affordable housing. Both support an income tax to pay for public schools instead of the statewide property tax now in place. Fernald said the state also needs to do more to provide housing for the poor and the homeless, though he was not specific. He said education funding needs to be solved first to allow more money in the budget for housing programs. ``Obviously, we're not covering all of the bases there,'' he said. ``We're not doing enough for the homeless. It's a problem we have to solve.'' Judy Reardon, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, said the Democrat is working to fully implement several state programs designed to help people find affordable housing. Housing prices have risen dramatically in southern New Hampshire, reminiscent of the booming mid-1980s. Rental agents said most home prices have jumped 10-20 percent in the past year. Many would-be buyers have been overbidding for homes by $2,000 or $3,000 only to find themselves shut out of deals by people offering more, real estate agents said. Housing officials said the booming economy is boosting rents, making it tougher for poor families to afford apartments. They said they have been using available statistics to identify priorities for housing programs. Republican hopeful Gordon Humphrey, a former U.S. senator, said that as governor he would lobby Congress to increase the bonding cap of the nonprofit New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to give it more capital to fund programs for low-income people and the elderly. He said that when the economy is good, it is more difficult for people to find affordable housing. ``In a sense, we're victims of our own success,'' said Humphrey. ``We'll have to cope with it the best we can.'' He added, ``One of the most useful functions a governor can perform is to lend the prestige of the office to efforts of groups that serve humanitarian purposes.'' Republican hopefuls Fred Bramante and Jeff Howard did not return AP-ES-08-24-00 1504EDT Received Id AP1002371EB4E1DE on Aug 24 2000 15:08 END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** *********************************************************** 8000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************