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March 13 -Governor Hassan Announces $8.6 Million Federal Grant Awarded to State for Rental Assistance to Strengthen Community-Based Mental Health Care

Press Release

For Immediate Release
March 13, 2015

Communications Office

Governor Hassan Announces $8.6 Million Federal Grant Awarded to State for Rental Assistance to Strengthen Community-Based Mental Health Care
New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority to Receive Funds from HUD to Provide Rental Assistance for People with Severe Mental Illness

CONCORD – Continuing efforts to implement last year's landmark mental health settlement and strengthen community-based mental health care in New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (New Hampshire Housing) an $8.6 million federal grant to provide rental assistance for people with severe mental illness.

The award, to be used over five years, will provide rental assistance for community-based housing to up to 150 low-income individuals or families with at least one family member who has a severe mental illness.

"Over the past two years, we have worked across party lines to strengthen community-based mental health care, helping to ensure that we are providing appropriate care at the right place and time, before individuals reach the point of crisis," Governor Hassan said. "Through the implementation of our landmark mental health settlement, we have worked to increase community-based housing for people with mental illness, and this grant will help New Hampshire ensure that these residents have access not just to stable housing and full inclusion in their communities, but the community resources and support they need to lead healthy lives."

New Hampshire Housing will receive the funds and administer the rental assistance program. Through a cooperative inter-agency agreement, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will facilitate and support successful community living for the rent-assisted tenants. 

This effort will be achieved through coordination with mental health centers, peer support organizations, and a housing placement contractor. The 150 units of rental assistance will be blended into existing and new affordable housing developments throughout the state, ensuring low concentrations of no more than 10 percent per development.

"At New Hampshire Housing, we are committed to supporting safe, affordable housing for Granite State residents," said Dean Christon, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Housing. "We are pleased to be able to administer this critical rental assistance, and we look forward to collaborating with DHHS so the recipients of this assistance have the resources they need to stay in stable housing and succeed in their communities."

"We are very pleased with the opportunity to partner with NHHFA on this rental assistance program, leveraging Medicaid and other mainstream resources with affordable housing," said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. "We know housing stability is a key component to an individual's health and well-being. This program provides real opportunity for individuals with mental health issues to leave institutions, integrate into the community and, with appropriate support services, lead healthy, meaningful and productive lives."

Although New Hampshire Housing has received notice of the funding award, it may be up to 12 months before rental assistance is available under the program. Rental assistance under this program will be renewable and considered permanent for up to 30 years, provided funding remains available from HUD. Many of the existing processes in place for the Department of Health and Human Services' successful New Hampshire Housing Bridge Subsidy Program will be utilized for program participant referrals and placements. Information on applying for assistance under the new Section 811 program in New Hampshire will be made available at a later date. 

Governor Hassan's fiscally responsible, balanced budget works to build on the progress made in 2013's bipartisan budget to strengthen community-based mental health. The Governor's budget includes the funds necessary to continue implementing the landmark mental health settlement, as well as funds for the new crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital to help relieve overcrowded hospital emergency rooms.

The award comes through HUD for its Section 811 program. New Hampshire's award of $8.6 million is part of HUD's total funding for this year of $150 million to 25 states and totaling almost 4,600 units of housing. The goal of the Section 811 program is to keep people with disabilities from being unnecessarily institutionalized or potentially homeless and, instead, provide permanent affordable housing solutions along with services to help them live independently within their communities. For more information about HUD's Section 811 program, visit www.HUD.gov.

New Hampshire Housing is a self-supporting public benefit corporation. The Authority operates a number of rental and homeownership programs designed to assist low- and moderate-income persons with obtaining affordable housing. Since its inception, New Hampshire Housing has helped more than 41,000 families purchase their own homes and has been instrumental in financing the creation of more than 14,500 multi-family housing units. More information about its programs can be found on the agency's websites at www.nhhfa.org and www.GoNewHampshireHousing.com.