Shaheen-Hosted Discussion with Agriculture Secretary Results in 10 New Transitional Housing Units for New Hampshire
**In May, Shaheen Brought Secretary Vilsack to the Hillsborough County Adult Drug Court to Hear about the Challenges Facing Those Recovering from Drug Misuse**
(Manchester, NH) – As a result of a roundtable meeting hosted by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and members of the Hillsborough County Adult Drug Court in May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced new national initiatives to use USDA’s rural development resources to help fill the need for transitional housing for people recovering from opioid and other substance use disorders. The new initiative will open up 10 new rental assistance units in New Hampshire. During the discussion in Nashua, Secretary Vilsack heard from individuals involved with the drug court program and the challenges they face accessing affordable housing to successfully complete their recovery from substance misuse. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack was appointed by President Obama to coordinate a federal response to the heroin and opioid crisis in rural areas of the country.
“The road to recovery from substance misuse is long and difficult, and more transitional housing is urgently needed to support those who want to get clean,” said Senator Shaheen. “In May, I had a very productive meeting with Secretary Vilsack and the Hillsborough drug court and I applaud the USDA’s decision to support new housing units in New Hampshire as a part of these new rural housing initiatives. These programs clearly reflect the impact Granite Staters’ stories had on Secretary Vilsack during his visit. Drug court programs and improved accessibility to affordable transitional housing through the USDA’s initiative will help our state’s most rural areas that have been hit the hardest by this crippling epidemic.”
The new USDA initiatives include:
- Encouraging the use of USDA Community Facilities financing for transitional housing projects;
- Making vacant USDA housing properties available for lease or sale to qualified non-profits to transform the properties into transitional housing;
- Launching a pilot project to make vacant USDA multifamily rental units available to tenants participating in treatment programs;
- Releasing a suite of data that will better link existing USDA facilities with treatment service providers across the country.
The roundtable meeting in May also included Judge Jacalyn Colburn and members of the Hillsborough County Adult Drug Court, as well as a recent graduate of the drug court program. The Hillsborough County Adult Drug Court is a team-based program aimed at rehabilitating, rather than sentencing to prison, nonviolent and high-risk offenders.
Senator Shaheen has been a leader in the Senate on efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Last month, President Obama signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), co-sponsored by Senator Shaheen, which authorizes support for treatment providers and law enforcement’s efforts to combat drug trafficking, though it does not provide funding for these programs. Shaheen has continued to lead the effort in Congress to pass emergency supplemental funding for those on the frontlines of the opioid addiction crisis. Her legislation would provide supplemental appropriations totaling $600 million to programs at the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that focus on treatment and recovery, as well as state and local law enforcement initiatives.