Leslie Matthews |
The House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs is continuing to hear testimony on H216 an act relating to federally assisted affordable housing.
Todays testimony started with what the administration thought about this bill. What I heard was that the administration doesn't like this bill and won't support it for several reasons and believes that it will be challenged in court if passed. Committtee members asked if anything in this bill is salvageable and was told I dont know. When asked if this can't be done what is going to be in place of it and will there be state policy to cover it? The answer was that preservation of this housing is a priority to the administration and we have to rely on the owners to do what is right. Basically because of the contracts signed 20 to 40 years ago the owners want to be able to sell their properties by what was said in them.
Questions about lack of affordable housing being connected with a lack of employees for businesses and where will solutions come from were asked. The committee was told that state and federal resources are not there. Meaning there is no money for it." So, no increased resources means more homelessness" said one committee menber. "Probably",was the answer.
Other testimony about section 8 vouchers, property tax benefits being out, terms of sale being made public, and once again that the federal government is not giving any money added to the already disheartening conversation.
Once again tropical storm Irene was brought up as a reason for not having the money to do any more.
Another testimony gave support to this bill and gave instances of 12 other states who have similar bills like this and not sure that this bill would even be challenged or that the state would be sued.
The last testimony was a representative of a current owner of subsidized housing in Burlington who's contract will be up soon. Issues were that there were parts of this bill that were changed and that was good but issues like notice to residents, longer process for sale,and fees are a sticking point. This testimony ended with a statement that all need to work together to overcome and come up with creative ways to make this happen.
Please contact me if you would like more details.