Hassan promotes NH mediation to avoid evictions

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., calls on the Biden administration to use New Hampshire’s mediation programs as a federal model to prevent evictions for those struggling to pay their rents due to the pandemic.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., is urging the Biden administration to use New Hampshire as a model for how landlords and tenants can resolve rent disputes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, Hassan said these programs can help access more of the $47 billion for landlord and tenant assistance contained in the two most recent relief bills Congress has approved.

“We encourage HUD to pursue landlord-tenant mediation efforts at the federal level, using New Hampshire’s pilot program as a model, in order to ensure that all Americans can remain safely and stably housed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” Hassan wrote in a letter the Union Leader has obtained.

The U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey found nearly 1.4 million renters feel eviction is “very likely” within the next two months and, similarly, more than 9.2 million renters are behind on their payments, Hassan said.

These mediation programs can help prevent a wave of evictions later this year, she added.

The state’s circuit courts have set up the pilot mediation program here.

Last year, Congress approved a federal moratorium on evictions, and upon taking office President Joe Biden extended it through the end of this summer.

Gov. Chris Sununu noted during Wednesday’s Executive Council meeting that while he’s set aside $35 million for renter and landlord assistance, more than $10 million of it has yet to be spent.

The state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation is co-signing Hassan’s letter.

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