[Hpn] NH affordable housing initiatives announced by Gov. Shaheen FWD

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sun, 03 Sep 2000 23:12:34 -0700 (PDT)


Is New Hampshire Governor Shaheen a friend to homeless and poor people?
Why or why not?

FWD  Associated Press - AP Wire Service - Sep 01, 2000


     Associated Press Writer

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ Financial aid to low-income families,
incentives for the landlords who rent to them and the construction
of affordable homes all will increase under initiatives Gov. Jeanne
Shaheen announced Thursday.

A task force Shaheen created has been working to alleviate the
state's affordable housing crunch since March. As a result of its
work, the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority has agreed to
increase the number of affordable housing units it will build next
year from 400 to 600, 50 of which will be for senior citizens.

The group also will double funding for its emergency rental
program that helps families on the brink of becoming homeless and
will hire at least eight workers to scour the state and help
families find housing.

Shaheen said providing affordable housing not only helps
families but ensures the success of the state's businesses and

``Housing is tied directly to our state's ability to attract
skilled workers, and without skilled workers, our businesses can't
continue to grow,'' she said. ``We recognize that there is not one
magic answer that's going to solve the affordable housing crunch we
have ... that's why we've taken a comprehensive approach to this

The Department of Health and Human Services is starting a pilot
program in Manchester that will guarantee landlords receive up to
three months of rent if they rent to low-income residents. The
state also has doubled the amount it loans families statewide for
security deposits, from $1 million to $2 million, and has obtained
500 more federal vouchers that subsidize rent for people moving off

Representatives from several state and local agencies joined
Shaheen in front of a former abandoned building that Manchester
Neighborhood Housing Services has turned into apartments and an art
studio for neighborhood children.

Mayor Bob Baines, whose mother grew up nearby, praised the
efforts to make the neighborhood safe and welcoming once again.

``This proves that partnership works,'' he said.

Liz Feliciano, who lives in another building being renovated by
the city group, said she and her husband moved to Manchester from
New York, hoping to provide a better life for their children. They
struggled to find safe, affordable housing until they found the
housing services group, she said.

``I am proud to be part of the rehabilitation that is going
on,'' she said. ``It's not about money, it's about housing people
and giving them a place to live they can be proud of.''

Eligibility requirements for each program differ based on a
family's size, income, location and other factors. For example, in
the finance authority's first-time home buyer program income limits
range from $58,000 to $69,000 for a family of four and the maximum
home prices range from $120,500 to $166,500 depending on location
and the home's condition.

Specific rent and mortgage payments for participants also vary,
with subsidies or vouchers making up the difference depending on
income and other factors.

AP-ES-09-01-00 0903EDT
Received  Id AP1002450EB06639 on Sep 01 2000 08:04


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