New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is urging U.S. House and Senate leaders to provide more support for people on the brink of homelessness in future COVID-19 relief packages.
People experiencing homelessness, and the organizations that support them have been hit hard by the pandemic, according to the letter from Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, and Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster.
“Ensuring that individuals experiencing homelessness have the resources that they need to practice social distancing and self quarantine if needed is critical to mitigating the spread of the virus, both now and over the coming months,” the letter states. The letter pointed out that Gov. Chris Sununu has already dedicated $3 million of New Hampshire’s CARES Act funding to supporting shelters.
But they wrote there could be a crisis coming for renters, with millions still out of work, and said more people are at risk of becoming homeless.
“While the federal eviction moratorium in the CARES Act was a necessary first step, many renters who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic will struggle to make up their rent once federal, state, and local moratoriums lift.”
Rental assistance included in the CARES Act was an important first step, they wrote, but the legislators asked House and Senate leaders to include support for landlord-tenant negotiation in a future relief package.
Hassan introduced a bill in September 2019 called the “Prevent Evictions Act.”
The act would provide $1.5 million to set up agencies that mediate disputes between landlords and tenants, to prevent evictions and reach equitable agreements to keep struggling tenants housed.