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Lack of Affordable Aousing in Upper Valley Concerns Lawmakers

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-NH, brought together stakeholders, affordable housing advocates, and community members to discuss New Hampshire’s housing needs. Below is a report from WPTZ on the issue they are facing and what lies ahead:

Representative Annie Kuster personally greeted Pine Tree Lane tenants at the Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon on May 4. Kuster wanted to discuss the lack of affordable housing in the Upper Valley, an issue highlighted she says at the Pine Tree Lane apartment complex. Kuster spoke to Pine Tree Lane tenants, saying, “you are our inspiration for solving the issue of affordable housing.” In March, Pine Tree Lane residents were told that at the end of the year, their apartments will no longer be subsidized by the government. The people who live there will have to move out or pay market rates to stay. Pine Tree Lane tenants aren’t alone. Ted Brady of the USDA said the apartment complex is 1 of about 60 affordable housing developments nation-wide with USDA loans that will be maturing this year. He said those loans help property owners provide rental assistance to their tenants. “Your homes are the first ones in New Hampshire that are facing this natural maturation of the loan. Nationally, in the next 5 years, it just goes up and up, and in 5 to 10 years, it balloons,” Brady said. Brady said there’s no easy solution to what he says is a growing national problem. “We’re trying to find a way to keep these units that naturally can leave by contract in our program,” Brady said. As for Pine Tree Lane residents, there’s still a chance they might be able to stay. Andrew Winter, executive director of Twin Pines Housing Trust, said he’s trying to negotiate a deal to purchase the property. He says if that happens, housing assistance would likely be available. “There are people who have lived there for 20, 30 years, this is their home. And I think were really focused on trying to keep it their home,” Winter said. Winter said he’s still in the early stages of pursuing a deal with the Pine Tree Lane property owners, the Hodges Company. He said he hopes to have more answers within a few weeks. Kathy McFarlin lives at Pine Tree Lane, and said she feels hopeful. “I feel very [relieved that] there are people who are trying to work on a solution,” McFarlin said. Kuster said she’s going to work on not only finding a solution for Pine Tree Lane tenants, but for those affected by lack of affordable housing nation-wide.

To view the full report, including video, click here.

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