(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) released the following statements in response to news that the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA) has started accepting applications for mortgage assistance for Granite State homeowners, following approval by the U.S. Department of Treasury of the state’s Housing Assistance Fund (HAF) program and release of critical federal dollars in mortgage assistance. The U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the State of New Hampshire’s HAF plan in January, following calls from the Congressional delegation, and the application portal is now open. While the portal to apply is open, the program will not officially launch and assistance will not be made available to homeowners until contract approval from the Executive Council.
The announcement follows a November letter from Shaheen, urging the Department of Treasury to approve state plans to make this federal assistance available. Senator Hassan also led a similar letter on behalf of the delegation. While over a dozen other states have already stood up pilot programs with preliminary funding to make mortgage assistance available to homeowners until final plans were approved, the State of New Hampshire opted not to operate such a program and homeowners in New Hampshire have continued to be without access to direct mortgage assistance throughout the pandemic.
“As we enter the third calendar year of COVID, delivering federal assistance to vulnerable Granite Staters continues to be a critical concern. The pandemic exacerbated the housing crisis in New Hampshire, leaving struggling families in danger of eviction or foreclosure. I’m glad the Biden administration heeded our calls to approve the State’s plan and release these federal funds, and I appreciate the efforts of New Hampshire Housing to manage this program and work with statewide stakeholders to support homeowners in need,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to see that New Hampshire has access to its fair share of federal funding, and just as critically, to see that it goes out the door to those in need as swiftly as possible.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our economy, placing a real strain on some Granite Staters’ ability to pay their mortgages and stay in their homes,” said Senator Hassan. “Following our calls, homeowners in New Hampshire will be able to access federal funds that will help them stay in their homes and strengthen our communities. I am grateful to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for its work to launch this critical program, and I will continue working to secure federal resources to help support families’ bottom lines.”
“Ensuring every Granite Stater has a safe, stable place to live is essential to the well-being of our communities,” said Representative Kuster. “I’m thrilled the Treasury Department heeded the NH Delegation’s calls for action to quickly distribute relief to Granite State homeowners through the Homeowner Assistance Fund and approved the state’s plan for these federal dollars. I will continue working to ensure no Granite Stater is forced to choose between feeding their family, heating their home, or keeping a roof over their head.”
“I’m pleased that the Treasury Department has approved New Hampshire’s Homeowner Assistance plan, allowing these federal funds to be distributed across our state and ensuring Granite Staters who are struggling right now finally have access to mortgage assistance,” said Representative Pappas. “Helping homeowners remain safely and stably housed, especially during this current surge in COVID-19 cases, is of the utmost importance in these difficult winter months. Moving forward, I’ll keep working to ensure that these funds quickly get to those in need.”
Shaheen and Hassan have fought to protect New Hampshire homeowners and renters left vulnerable by the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Shaheen and Hassan-backed American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021, includes nearly $50 billion for housing, including support for vulnerable renters and homeowners. This is in addition to the emergency COVID-19 relief legislation, supported by Shaheen and Hassan and signed into law in December, which provided $25 billion in emergency rental assistance.