The NH Coalition to End Homelessness submitted written testimony to inform the House Finance Committee’s April 23rd discussion about SB406, making an appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services to increase rates for shelter programs.  NHCEH supports this legislation, which would allocate $2.5 million to increase the reimbursement rate emergency shelters receive to help cover the cost of the continuum of services they provide to the people who access their care.  The letter highlights data on the increase in overall and unsheltered homelessness in NH, and the impact of services provided by emergency shelters – particularly case management for housing navigation support.

As stated in the letter:

“It is important to note that the funding of emergency shelters is not only about providing individuals and families experiencing homelessness with a warm meal and a safe place to sleep at night.  Shelter providers who receive State Grant in Aid (SGIA) funds for emergency and specialty shelter operations are also required to deliver supportive case management services to assist with the identification of and connection to long-term housing solutions. This is especially difficult work now, at a time where vacancy rates have decreased to less than 1% and rents have increased an average of 40.5% (with a range of increases from 28%-82% across NH’s 10 counties) from 2018-2023, according to the NH Housing Finance Authority’s Annual Residential Rental Cost Survey.  Shelter-based case management services help people more rapidly exit emergency shelters, increasing bed availability for outreach workers to refer those living unsheltered, decreasing the staggering number of people living unhoused on the streets and in encampments across the state. Additional funding for emergency shelter services will help improve the movement of people into more permanent housing solutions along the housing continuum, which then increases the response and access to resources for those living unsheltered.”

 Click here to read the letter of testimony in its entirety