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Sununu’s Rental and Housing Assistance Backlog Raises Concerns About a “Potential Crisis”

On Friday, WMUR reported that the Sununu administration has failed to act on 3,200 applications for emergency housing and rental assistance — nearly 68.5 percent. The result is a staggering backlog, with many Granite Staters waiting weeks and even months for their applications to be approved or denied. The emergency rental and housing funds, which were secured by the Congressional delegation, would allow eligible Granite Staters to stay in their homes and avoid eviction as the economy recovers, ensure that landlords receive the rent they are owed, and allow those landlords to make mortgage payments to local lenders. Yet the Sununu administration’s failure to quickly and efficiently distribute funds to eligible Granite Staters could lead to evictions, late mortgage payments — and a potential housing crisis in communities across the state. Read more: WMUR: Housing advocates warn of impending crisis without more rental assistance KEY EXCERPTS: A backlog in applications for the state's rental assistance program has some housing advocates concerned about a potential crisis in the coming months. Tenants who have been hit financially during the pandemic can apply for the assistance, but housing advocates said the application process needs to be faster before it's too late. Paul DiIolio, owner of Derryfield Property Management, which oversees 33 units, said he helped three of his tenants apply for rental assistance in April. "It's now May 21, and I have not heard from them, so they are overworked right now," he said. "There is no playbook on how to deal with a pandemic, so they are really trying to get up to speed." [...] More than 4,700 applications have been received by the state, and roughly 1,500 of those applications have been approved. "Thanks to the federal government, there is a lot of money in New Hampshire for emergency rental assistance, and the need is great," Knoy said. Fifty-seven applications have been denied, and roughly 3,200 people are still waiting, which is a concern for housing advocates. "With the eviction moratorium expiring, some people may lose their housing before the money gets processed," Knoy said. "The other action could be to extend a state moratorium for at least a couple of months until the agency can get its act together to process these applications more quickly."

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