NH affordable housing in the spotlight

Oct 19, 2015

BY: Citizens Count

On Friday, October 16 the New Hampshire Institute of Politics hosted the New Hampshire Housing Summit to discuss the issue of affordable housing.

According to New Hampshire Housing’s annual residential rental cost survey, New Hampshire has a 2.2% rental vacancy rate, which qualifies as a “landlord’s market.” 

High demand for rentals has contributed to higher rent.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition says that an individual must earn $20.50 an hour to afford an average two bedroom apartment in New Hampshire.

That hourly wage is often far beyond what young professionals and elderly retirees are making.

Affordable housing advocates want policymakers to take action to increase rentals and decrease rents.  Their proposals include everything from allowing more accessory dwelling units to raising the minimum wage.

Opponents of large policy changes point to the work that has already begun to increase affordable housing.  The 2008 Workforce Housing Law has led many towns to loosen regulations that limited development to single family homes on large lots.  This year the legislature appropriated $800,000 for the Affordable Housing Fund, which helps affordable housing construction. 

Finally, opponents of a higher minimum wage may point out that Massachusetts and Vermont both have higher minimum wages yet rents that are no more affordable than New Hampshire’s.

How would you address affordable housing in New Hampshire?  Comment below!

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