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May 29, 2015 6:33 PM

Elderly and college graduates have trouble finding housing


New Hampshire college graduates have the highest college loan debt in the nation, and that's impacting their ability to afford housing.

Owing an average of $32,900 when they graduate, many can't afford to rent, or buy, so they're forced to move back home with their parents, or double and triple up with roommates.

Katherine Bousquet owes $30,000 from loans she took out while studying at UNH. Now she's in the law school.

"I anticipate having $90,000 [in debt] when I'm done. That's the lowest it will be. I've also taken out more money for living expenses. It's very scary to think that's the position I'm in right now," said the Manchester student.

At the other end of the age spectrum is the state's growing elderly population, which is getting squeezed out of affordable housing.

Between 2000 and 2025, the elderly population is expected to double, making seniors the fastest growing demographic in the Granite State. Because most are on fixed incomes, they can't afford rising rental costs.

89-year-old Flo Silva has been trying to get subsidized elderly housing for years. She owns her own manufactured home and pays $450 a month to park in Londonderry's mobile home park.

"It's unaffordable. There's no help at all and it hurts. I don't know how long you can do it," Silva said.

This week, to connect housing advocates with government officials, Governor Maggie Hassan proclaimed May 25 - 29 "Home Matters" week.

Advocates want to pass laws to reduce regulatory barriers for developers who agree to build affordable housing in New Hampshire. They're also pushing Congress to more fully fund HUD programs such as rental assistance vouchers, HOME, and Homeless Assistance Grants.

For more news and legislative updates regarding affordable housing in NH, please link to: http://housingactionnh.org/home-matters-in-nh-week-may-25-29-2015/


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