With proposed cuts to critical housing programs coming from both the Federal and State levels, housing advocates are warning that New Hampshire may see significant increases in homelessness and find itself without enough resources to provide basic shelter.
In addition to some cuts included in Obama’s proposed FY 2012 budget, the US House of Representatives is considering drastic cuts to housing programs for funding the remainder of FY 11. The federal budget has been running at 2010 funding levels via a Continuing Resolution that is due to expire March 4th.
Additionally, housing and homeless advocates learned today that the Governor’s budget proposes at least 7% cuts in funding for New Hampshire’s homeless shelters and homelessness prevention programs which contract with the Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services.
“The down economy has created more demand for homeless and low income housing services, not less,” said Maggie Fogarty, Economic Justice Project Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee. “There are surely better ways to balance state and federal budgets without driving more families and children into homelessness.”
The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that budget cuts could increase homelessness by 160,000 people nationwide.
“Where does someone go if they can’t sleep in a cold weather shelter?,” said Fogarty who is also on the Board of Housing Action NH. “Shelters are rock bottom for New Hampshire’s homeless and operate with minimal budgets already. Communities will not be able to absorb these cuts. Instead they will see rising costs in local hospitals and law enforcement.”