September 17, 2019

Senator Hassan Introduces Legislation to Address Eviction Crisis

The Prevent Evictions Act Would Support Potential Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to address the eviction crisis. The Prevent Evictions Act – which is backed by Matthew Desmond, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book Evicted – would support cost-effective solutions to keep families in their homes, including through landlord-tenant mediation programs and rent insurance programs.

“When a family is kicked out of their home because an unexpected expense prevented them from making the rent that month, the entire community – and economy – suffers,” Senator Hassan said. “The Prevent Evictions Act would provide support to help landlords and tenants reach fair agreements that keep families in their homes.”

“The New Hampshire Judicial Branch, in partnership with the New Hampshire Access to Justice Commission, is exploring the possibility of designing and implementing a landlord/tenant mediation program, which could help generate solutions for landlords and tenants alike,” said Heather Kulp, Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator of the New Hampshire Judicial Branch. “The grant funding available in The Prevent Evictions Act would be an important component for us as we consider creating a program.”

“Rising rents and unprecedented low vacancy rates in New Hampshire have created a concerning increase in housing poverty around the state,” said Elissa Margolin, director of Housing Action NH. “We applaud Senator Hassan’s proposal to provide new tools to help with eviction prevention. Certainly one of the best ways for us to stave off an increase in homelessness is to decrease evictions.”

"The lack of affordable housing is a wellspring for many other social problems, from poor health and family stress to poverty and educational inequality,” said Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted. “Millions of American are evicted from their homes every year, but this problem is utterly fixable. This bill would go a long way to reducing family homelessness and stabilizing communities.”  

The Prevent Evictions Act would:

  • Create a landlord-tenant mediation grant program to bring landlords and tenants to the table to find informal, mutually agreed upon solutions that keep tenants in their homes

 

  • Provide grant funding for translators, ensuring that all individuals have the ability to participate

 

  • Direct the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the potential for certain types of rent insurance to be cost-effective eviction mitigation tools

Click here for text of the bill. Click here for a one-pager. 

This summer, Senator Hassan met with housing advocates, city officials, and affordable housing residents across the Granite State to discuss New Hampshire’s housing crisis. Senator Hassan recently cosponsored two bipartisan bills to expand affordable housing in New Hampshire and across the country by strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit while continuing investments in affordable housing. Senator Hassan also joined in reintroducing the Rent Relief Act to create a new, refundable tax credit to provide relief to families, and the bipartisan Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act, which aims to help policymakers better understand and respond to America’s housing affordability crisis by creating a bipartisan housing task force.

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