Community Toolbox Bill. After passing the Senate, SB 400, known as the “Community Toolbox bill,” will be heard before the House Municipal and County Government Committee this Thursday, April 7, at 4 pm. Housing advocates have prioritized this package of enabling policies, economic incentives, and improved timelines developed by a special task force convened by the Governor in 2019. A one-pager on the legislation can be found here. A sign-on letter can be found here.
Housing Appeals Board. Housing advocates successfully defeated two bills that threatened to repeal or undermine the Board. Both HB 1216 and HB 1254 were killed in the House. Housing Action NH will oppose HB 1307 in the Senate. This bill, sponsored by Representative Barbara Griffin, seeks to narrow the jurisdiction of the Board. See this recent Concord Monitor article on the success of the new Housing Appeals Board.
Notice Bill. Senator Rebecca Perkins Kwoka’s bill, SB 217, which would increase the notice requirement to 60 days in cases of relocation due to substantial repair, renovations, or sale of the property, will be heard by House Judiciary on April 6 at 3 pm. Housing Action NH supports the legislation.
Housing Study Commission. SB 329 which would establish a commission to study barriers to housing development in New Hampshire, including workforce and middle-income housing, also passed the Senate. The bill, supported by Housing Action NH, has a hearing this Thursday, 4/7, before the House Municipal and County Government Committee at 3 pm.
Fourplex Bill. Representative Ivy Vann’s bill, HB 1177, which proposed allowing up to 4 residential units within single-family lots on water/sewer, was laid on the table in a vote of 167 – 157 at the March 17 House session. Housing advocates supported the legislation. For a review of the Roll Call House vote, see RC (a vote to table is a vote against the bill.)
Homeless Shelter Services Rates. SB 415, introduced by Senator Kahn, to increase the reimbursement rates for homeless shelters, was tabled in the Senate in a vote of 13-11. A roll call of this vote is available here, RC. A bipartisan floor amendment that would have appropriated another $4.5 million for homeless services, introduced by Senator Giuda, Senator Rosenwald, and Senator Kahn, also failed to advance. Housing Action NH will support an increase in homeless services in the next biennial budget.
InvestNH Housing Incentive Fund. Governor Sununu has proposed a $100 million housing investment with American Rescue Plan Act’s Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. “Using ARPA funds, the state proposes utilizing $100 million in federal funds to provide gap funding for new multifamily housing developments, per housing unit “bonus” incentive payments to municipalities that build multifamily developments to reinvest back in their communities, millions in funding to help municipalities demolish old and dilapidated buildings that are costly to clear, and millions to cities and towns to aid in modernizing and updating town zoning rules” notes the proposal released by the Governor’s office.
Praising the level of investment, housing advocates have called for a programmatic commitment to invest in long-term affordable units to help those who are having the toughest time accessing the market. In addition, NH Fiscal Policy Institute released a new Fact Sheet on Addressing New Hampshire’s Affordable Housing Crisis with American Rescue Plan Act Funds, noting the federal rules requiring that affordable housing investments serve impacted and/or disproportionately impacted households.
Since the Governor’s announcement, the Joint Fiscal Committee has approved just under $1.5 million for the NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs to hire staff to build out the program.