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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

We can end homelessness

Letter to the Editor

As organizations working to end homelessness in New Hampshire, we appreciate The Telegraph¹s report on the latest count of the homeless and would like to take this opportunity to point out those residents who were not included. These are our neighbors who face the threat of homelessness – those whose income can¹t keep up with the state’s high cost of housing and who pay mroe than half their income for housing alone. For them – an estimated 35,000 households – any unexpected expense, such as a car repair or medical need, comes from the rent budget, increasing the family¹s risk of homelessness.

The fact that, on a single January day, there were more than 2,200 homeless people living in New Hampshire is eye-opening, but the situation should not be viewed as hopeless. As the decline in the homeless Point-in-Time count shows us, we have the power to reduce these numbers by prioritizing public policies that bring people home. ...

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As organizations working to end homelessness in New Hampshire, we appreciate The Telegraph¹s report on the latest count of the homeless and would like to take this opportunity to point out those residents who were not included. These are our neighbors who face the threat of homelessness – those whose income can¹t keep up with the state’s high cost of housing and who pay mroe than half their income for housing alone. For them – an estimated 35,000 households – any unexpected expense, such as a car repair or medical need, comes from the rent budget, increasing the family¹s risk of homelessness.

The fact that, on a single January day, there were more than 2,200 homeless people living in New Hampshire is eye-opening, but the situation should not be viewed as hopeless. As the decline in the homeless Point-in-Time count shows us, we have the power to reduce these numbers by prioritizing public policies that bring people home.

First, we can support the organizations in our communities providing shelter and services. Second, we can prioritize public policies that support affordable housing. Congress could help make housing more affordable for low-income families by capitalizing the National Housing Trust Fund, increasing housing tax credits and restoring money for rental assistance vouchers. State leaders could budget for the state¹s affordable housing fund, along with emergency shelters.

We can end homelessness in New Hampshire through better policy and services. We¹re on our way.

Cathy Kuhn, Director, N.H. Coalition to End Homelessness

Elissa Margolin, Director, Housing Action N.H.