The Bulletin Board

State diverts some Afghan evacuee resettlement funding toward rental relief

By: - November 28, 2022 4:17 pm
Displaced Afghans reach out for aid from a local Muslim organization at a makeshift IDP camp on Aug. 10 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Displaced Afghans reach out for aid from a local Muslim organization at a makeshift IDP camp on Aug. 10, 2021 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Paula Bronstein | Getty Images)

New Hampshire state officials are diverting federal funding meant to help the resettlement of the state’s 250 Afghan evacuees toward statewide rental assistance, one month after the U.S. Treasury moved to wind down the state’s rental relief funding. 

On Tuesday, the Executive Council approved an item from the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) that would reduce the funding available to resettle Afghans in New Hampshire from $408,330 to $242,000 – a reduction of $166,330. That money would instead go toward the state’s emergency rental assistance program, the office said.

The approved item also extends the end date for the rest of the $242,000 in resettlement aid. While the funds were previously due to end December 31, 2022, they are now set to end June 30, 2023. 

In his written explanation for the request, GOFERR director Taylor Caswell said the money was being repurposed because it was not being spent fast enough on resettlement. 

“The $166,330 in reduced funding is occurring because those funds are unlikely to be utilized, and they will instead be utilized for rental and utility assistance within (the rental assistance program),” Caswell wrote.

The state had originally approved the money in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021, which led a number of displaced Afghans to enter resettlement programs in the U.S. 

“In order to provide adequate support for the successful integration of up to 250 individuals that arrived in New Hampshire, federal evacuee resettlement funding was needed to be supplemented to support access to housing,” Caswell wrote, adding that the influx had required additional staffing and case management.

But last month’s decision by the Treasury to wind down continued funding to New Hampshire’s rental assistance program prompted Caswell and his office to seek alternative funding sources to help those relying on the program. The diverted money will go to the state’s five community action programs (CAP), which will disburse it to eligible applicants under the “Emergency Rental Assistance 2” program. 

The state froze new applications for the emergency rental assistance program on Oct. 21; only those tenants who had applied by that date will be helped with the additional funds.

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel. Email: [email protected]