December News and Legislative Update
Table of Contents
Accessory Dwelling Units. House Bill 1291 has been introduced for the 2024 session that proposes improvements to New Hampshire’s ADU law. The ADU law, passed in 2015, requires that municipalities allow attached ADUs by right, conditional use permit (CUP) or special exception. HB 1291 would also add detached ADUs, increase the number of ADUs allowed from one to two, allow the municipality to require up to one parking spot per ADU, and enable municipalities to require that a second ADU on the property meet the definition of workforce housing.
HOMEnibus Bill. Senator Perkins Kwoka (D-Portsmouth) has introduced an omnibus package for the 2024 session, currently LSR 3120, that proposes establishing a tax relief program for office conversion to residences, enabling municipal governing body zoning decisions, allowing parking requirement alternatives, and creating science-based lot sizing.
Affordable Housing Development. Senator Innis (R-Bradford) has introduced SB 364 that would establish a new historic housing preservation tax credit and make additional appropriations to the InvestNH program.
Landlord Incentive Program. Senator Fenton (D-Keene) has introduced LSR 3115 to create a statewide program to incentivize landlords to accept housing choice vouchers. Due to the tight rental market, voucher recipients are struggling to find landlords who will accept section 8. Landlord incentive programs piloted in recent years have shown success in making more housing choices available.
Housing Appeals Board. Chairman Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown) will introduce a bill, currently LSR 2353, to expand the jurisdiction of the Housing Appeals Board to include state agency decisions.
NH Homeowner Assistance Fund (NH HAF). According to recent communications from NH Housing, the federally funded program will transition to a waitlist status on December 15, 2023. Applications received on or after that date will be held pending determination of available funding. Since its launch in March 2022, NH HAF provided assistance to eligible New Hampshire homeowners through grants of up to $40,000 per household towards past-due mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and association fees. NH HAF has awarded $28.5 million in grants and anticipates an additional $5 million in funded applications. About 97% of beneficiaries have incomes less than 100% of the area median income, 68% of which have incomes less than 50% of AMI. Details are available at NHHousing.org/HAF.
FY 24 Appropriations. Unable to pass a full funding package, Congress passed a Continuing Resolution in November, keeping federal agencies, including HUD, funded until January 19 and others until February 2. Overall, both Senate and House FY 24 spending proposals call for increases to housing programs.
Community Reinvestment Act. Federal banking regulators approved a final rule that substantially reforms bank requirements under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations in October. The rule attempts to modernize CRA requirements to reflect market developments and to encourage more investment in and lending to low and moderate income households and communities.
Mackenzie Scott Donation to NLIHC. The National Low Income Housing Coalition announced in December that they have received a $15 million grant from Mackenzie Scott’s Yield Giving initiative. “Now, with tremendous need, momentum, partnerships, and allies, we will use the donation from MacKenzie Scott to strengthen, deepen, and expand our impact,” noted NLIHC CEO Diane Yentel. NLIHC priorities for additional investments include: advancing racial justice; amplifying the leadership of impacted people; strengthening the Our Homes, Our Votes campaign; expanding tenants’ rights initiatives; and advancing equitable housing disaster relief.
Home Matters in New Hampshire Awards. The Governing Council of Housing Action NH announced the annual Home Matters in NH awards at the Housing We Need conference on December 8. Senator Dan Innis (R-Bradford) and House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester) received the legislative champion awards for their respective roles in securing unprecedented investments in housing and homelessness services in the last state budget. Tara Reardon received the advocate of the year award for her leadership in building the resident owned manufactured housing communities throughout the state. Michaela Towfighi from the Concord Monitor received the press award for her coverage of the housing crisis. Finally, Jayne Millerick, chief of staff to Governor Sununu, received the pandemic response award for her help in connecting housing and homeless advocates to needed resources during the Covid-19 crisis.
Planning and Zoning Legislation Preview, December 21. The New Hampshire Office of Planning and Development’s (OPD) Planning Lunches at Noon (PLAN) Webinar Series will present the 2023 Planning & Zoning Legislation Review and Preview of 2024 from 12 noon – 1 PM on Thursday December 21, 2023. OPD Principal Planner Noah Hodgetts and New Hampshire Housing Deputy Executive Director/Chief Legal Officer Benjamin Frost, AICP, Esq. will review legislation enacted during the 2023 legislative session that affects the responsibilities and authority of municipal planning and zoning boards. Click here to register.
Policy and Pints Pop Up Series. Stay, Work, Play has launched a new round of their Policy and Pints series. Policy & Pints Pop-Ups bring together young people, aged 21-40, in the various regions of the state to discuss the issues most impacting their decisions to stay in, or leave, New Hampshire as a whole, as well as the specific regions in which they live and work. For more information, go to https://www.stayworkplay.org/policyandpints.
Seacoast Housing Advocacy Workshop, January 9. The Home for All Coalition in collaboration with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast, will be hosting a Housing Advocacy Workshop to equip Seacoast residents with the education, resources, tools, and support to speak up in favor of affordable housing in their communities. The event will be held at 3S Artspace on January 9 from 6pm – 9:30 pm. Click here to attend.