New Legislative Housing Caucus Aims to Address Housing Crisis in New Hampshire

The first New Hampshire Housing Caucus has been established within the state legislature to educate and inform lawmakers about the necessary steps to increase housing availability and stability for New Hampshire citizens, businesses, and communities. The bicameral, bipartisan caucus was created in 2021 stemming from a recommendation of the Council on Housing Stability’s Strategic Plan, which was published in June 2021. The Housing Caucus is composed of sixteen state senators and representatives that represent a diverse range of geographic areas and committees.

The Caucus is charged with tracking a multitude of housing related bills this session with a primary focus is SB 400, the “Community Toolbox Bill.” SB 400 provides communities new opportunities to address the housing shortage, including:

  • Opt-in tools for municipalities to address supply shortages;
  • Improvements to the project proposal process, such as faster timelines, and more transparency and documentation; and
  • Expanded education and training opportunities (voluntary) for planning and zoning board members.

“The housing crisis remains urgent in our state,” noted Housing Caucus co-chair Senator Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka (D-Portsmouth). “In order to restore our Main Street communities, to keep our next generation, to build an economy for the future, and to sustainably conserve our environment, we must be proactive on housing. The creation of New Hampshire’s first legislative Housing Caucus is an important step forward to make meaningful progress in the legislature on our housing crisis.”

“I am excited to help lead this bipartisan coalition to use our collective voice to engage and educate other policymakers on housing issues,” added Housing Caucus co-chair Representative Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown). “The housing shortage is directly related to New Hampshire’s workforce challenges so it is essential that we all work together to address this crisis.”

The bipartisan Housing Caucus will continue to take an active role throughout the 2022 legislative session and beyond, engaging and educating fellow policymakers on issues related to addressing New Hampshire’s housing crisis.

About the New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability was established by Governor Christopher Sununu with Executive Order 2020-22 on November 18, 2020. The Council brings together a broad base of diverse stakeholders from across the state and is co-led by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Business and Economic Affairs and the Community Development Finance Authority. More information on the Council, including news, upcoming meetings and its three-year strategic plan, can be found via www.nhchs.org.

Council on Housing Stability Releases 2021 Annual Report on Efforts to Address Housing and Homelessness Challenges in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability submitted its 2021 Annual Report to Governor Chris Sununu to provide an update on statewide progress to address housing stability. The Annual Report includes a review of the Council’s recently released three-year Strategic Plan, including goals, objectives, implementation activities, and progress to-date. The 2021 Annual Report and Strategic Plan can be accessed on the Council’s website: www.nhchs.org.

In less than six months since the Strategic Plan was released, the Council has made significant progress addressing housing and homelessness challenges across the Granite State. The 2021 Annual Report highlights include:

  • Distribution of $57 million through the NH Emergency Rental Assistance Program to support nearly 8,000 households around the state;
  • Focus on statewide efforts to increase housing production through outreach on available funding sources and the deployment of resources including American Rescue Plan HOME block grants and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits;
  • Establishment of a bi-partisan, bi-cameral Housing Caucus to engage and educate policymakers, as well as support policy advancements, on issues related to housing and homelessness;
  • Secured $9 million in American Rescue Plan funding from the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery to advance best practices and incentives for shelter providers to find stable housing for those experiencing homelessness; and
  • Awarded more than $3.4 million in federal grants by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program to fund innovative programs and services focused on ending youth homelessness in New Hampshire.

Additional funding has been provided through the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery to support: new resources for local community planning; the advancement of comprehensive regional housing needs assessments that will help guide communities in addressing housing challenges and opportunities; and a range of operational and programmatic activities. The Council will continue to coordinate with the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery to propose new opportunities for funding that supports the advancement of the goals, objectives, and actions recommended in the Council’s Strategic Plan.

Katherine Easterly Martey, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority and Council co-leads shared, “we are encouraged by the significant progress being made to advance the strategic plan recommendations and the level of collaboration we’ve seen across the state to address the housing challenges.”

Two key principles that continue to guide the Council’s work are ensuring planning and implementation is person-centered and informed by lived experience. To that end, the Council’s Annual Report emphasizes the importance of learning from those residents who have experienced housing instability to ensure their voices are prioritized. The report also shares the Council’s focus on collecting and aligning data to inform progress toward Strategic Plan goals, objectives, and actions.

Governor Christopher Sununu established the New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability with Executive Order 2020-22 on November 18, 2020. The Council brings together a broad base of diverse stakeholders from across the state. It is co-led by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, and the Community Development Finance Authority.

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Contact: Melissa Latham, CDFA. mlatham@nhcdfa.org / (603) 717-9107

Council on Housing Stability Releases Strategic Plan to Address Housing and Homelessness Challenges in New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability has released a three-year Strategic Plan to promote housing stability and tackle homelessness for residents of the Granite State. The plan outlines actionable next steps and mechanisms for deploying resources with a focus on two significant goals: address housing needs with an increase of 13,500 units of housing by 2024 and make homelessness rare, brief and one-time in New Hampshire.

The plan was unanimously approved by the full Council on June 22, 2021 and is New Hampshire’s first comprehensive strategy to address all aspects of housing and homelessness. A overview and full version of the plan can be accessed via https://nhchs.org/strategicplan/.

Addressing the lack of affordable housing is critical for New Hampshire’s future. The Council’s plan presents recommendations and strategies to promote new housing development, reduce barriers to affordable housing and use a data-driven approach to understand regional needs relating to housing stability and homelessness prevention, among many other priority areas.

“With a clear vision and guiding principles, the Council has delivered a strategic plan – including a comprehensive statewide plan on homelessness – that represents a significant step forward in addressing housing stability in New Hampshire,” stated Governor Sununu. “The plan serves as a blueprint for our collective efforts – statewide, regionally, and locally – with a focus on alignment, coordination, innovation, and accountability. The end goal: creating improved health, social, educational and economic outcomes for individuals, families and communities.”

The Council’s plan includes a three-year actionable framework to specifically address homelessness. The recommendations and strategies aim to make homelessness rare, brief and one-time in New Hampshire, with emphasis on the need for an increase in inventory of affordable housing. In addition, special attention was given to the issue of veteran homelessness, already in steady decline, setting a goal to end it for good in 2022.

The plan represents six months of efforts by Council members and four working groups with strategic assistance provided by the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), a national technical assistance provider in housing policy. Grants from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and Endowment for Health made support from CSH possible.

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability was established by Governor Christopher Sununu with Executive Order 2020-22 on November 18, 2020. The Council brings together a broad base of diverse stakeholders from across the state and is co-led by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Business and Economic Affairs and the Community Development Finance Authority.

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Contact: Melissa Latham, CDFA (mlatham@nhcdfa.org / (603) 717-9107)

Council on Housing Stability Submits Initial Plan to Governor Sununu

The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability was established by Governor Christopher Sununu with Executive Order 2020-22 on November 18, 2020. The Council brings together a broad base of diverse stakeholders for the purposes of developing and implementing a plan to create housing stability for all citizens of the State of New Hampshire. In doing so, the Council is tasked with addressing a broad-based set of challenges and providing short- and long-term recommendations to support planning, policy and resource allocation for statewide, regional and local community-based efforts.

The Council’s first order of business was to submit an initial plan to Governor Sununu by December 14, 2020. The initial plan will inform immediate actions that support the goals of the Council and sets a framework that will guide the long-term strategy to be developed over the coming months. The “New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability Initial Report and Action Plan” dated December 14, 2020 can be found here. The plan was approved unanimously by the Council on Friday, December 11, 2020.

The Council will continue to meet throughout the winter and spring to develop and implement a long-term plan to address the evolving housing stability needs for all citizens of the State of New Hampshire. To complete this comprehensive plan, four primary workgroups have been established to address priority areas of focus, including: planning and regulation; data analytics and integration; housing instability and homelessness system; and regional leadership and coordination.

The public can remain apprised of the Council’s progress via its website: www.nhchs.org.

Per the establishing Executive Order, the Council is being led by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, and the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority.