Ruais joins with fellow NH mayors in support of Senate emergency housing assistance bill

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Mayor Jay Ruais is focused on addressing homelessness in the new year. File Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH – Mayor Jay Ruais and Keene Mayor Jay Kahn along with 9 other city mayors announced the joint issuance of a letter to Sen. Regina Birdsell, Republican representing District, 19 and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee,  in support of SB 406, legislation relative to funding for emergency housing assistance.

The mayors, representing a combined population of 540,000 in 13 municipalities are concerned about the pressing issue of significant budget overruns experienced by cities since the conclusion of the Pandemic Related Emergency Rental Assistance (ERAP) in January 2023. 

With the expiration of federal rental subsidies and the eviction moratorium, cities in New Hampshire have been overwhelmed with requests for sheltering, rental, and mortgage assistance, resulting in a doubling of costs in the current fiscal year.

RSA 165:1 requires public welfare departments to provide support for individuals seeking assistance, and the mayors collectively support the state legislature in mitigating these escalating costs and finding solutions that aid cities in meeting this statutory obligation without overburdening taxpayers. The mayors, along with the New Hampshire Municipal Association, are eager to collaborate with legislative leaders to address the challenges faced by cities in providing housing services.

Ruais expressed optimism about the collaborative relationship between municipalities and the state legislature, saying,

 “This legislation aligns with the city’s commitment to addressing homelessness comprehensively, and we’ve been thrilled with the collaborative relationship we’ve already built with the Governor and Legislature to address this issue. SB 406 has the potential to create a more sustainable and impactful framework for combating homelessness in Manchester.  Since July 1 of 2023, the city has already spent a total of $387,549.09, exceeding our general assistance budget for the entire fiscal year. The financial commitment made by the city thus far in the fiscal year underscores the urgency of finding effective solutions. SB 406 presents an opportunity to optimize the use of resources and enhance collaboration between local government and community organizations.”

Mayor Kahn added: 

“No one forecasted the fiscal impact of ending Pandemic Related Emergency Rental Assistance, including a moratorium on evictions, and the state’s statute that places the cost on towns to help a poor person, whether or not he has resided there.  These convergences with a housing shortage and escalating rental prices place a heavy burden on NH cities providing services.  SB 406 can provide a framework for the State, municipalities and community action programs to target funding assistance where it is needed.”

The full list of mayors:

  • Mayor Jay Ruais, Manchester
  • Mayor Jay Kahn, Keene
  • Mayor Jim Donchess, Nashua
  • Mayor Robert Cone, Berlin
  • Mayor Andrew Hosmer, Laconia
  • Mayor Dale Girard, Claremont
  • Mayor Byron O. Champlin, Concord
  • Mayor Timothy McNamara, Lebanon
  • Mayor Robert Carrier, Dover
  • Mayor Deaglan McEachern, Portsmouth
  • Mayor Matt Gerding, Somersworth

A copy of the letter is below:

About this Author

Office of Mayor Jay Ruais