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NH Housing Advocates Hopeful about New State, Federal Proposals

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Evictions had risen about 21% before the pandemic, but dropped 10% once the moratorium took effect. (Frontier/iStock)
Evictions had risen about 21% before the pandemic, but dropped 10% once the moratorium took effect. (Frontier/iStock)
January 19, 2021

CONCORD, N.H. -- New Hampshire housing advocates are applauding President-elect Joe Biden's plan to extend the moratorium on evictions tomorrow, on day one of his administration.

The ban would extend through Sep. 30.

Elissa Margolin, director of Housing Action New Hampshire, said so far, the moratorium has kept a roof over the heads of hundreds of people in the Granite State during the pandemic.

"It definitely has really helped in the state of New Hampshire keep folks from becoming homeless, essentially," Margolin contended. "You can't adhere to a stay-at-home order or a safer-at-home order if you don't have a home to be safe or to stay in."

Stats from the New Hampshire Judicial Branch show about a 10% drop in evictions between 2019 and 2020, likely a result of the eviction moratorium.

The 2020 State of Homelessness in New Hampshire report, which came out in December, found 4,400 people experienced homelessness last year.

The most recent COVID package, passed by Congress in December, included a 4% low-income housing tax credit, which should spur production of affordable housing.

Margolin stated New Hampshire needs to build about 20,000 units of housing in order to meet the need.

"You don't want to deal with homelessness through shelter expansion," Margolin asserted. "You want to end homelessness through providing homes. And that's why affordable housing and ending homelessness are so interconnected."

At the state level, advocates want to put more money into the affordable housing trust fund and into the system of homeless shelters.

They also favor a package that creates economic incentives for towns to permit more affordable housing.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NH