Community Toolbox Bill. A Committee of Conference included an amended version of the Community Toolbox Bill in its final report on HB 1661 adopted by both the House and the Senate. Now headed to the Governor’s desk, the amended package includes enhanced training and improved timelines for planning and zoning boards, density provisions, impact fee disclosures, and improved review options. The legislation also enables tax increment financing for affordable housing development. Housing Action NH thanks the broad coalition of stakeholders who came together to advocate for the bill.
Housing Appeals Board. Housing advocates successfully defeated the 3 bills which aimed to repeal or weaken the Housing Appeals Board. The one bill that had moved to the Senate, HB 1307, received an inexpedient to legislate recommendation from the Election Law and Municipal Affairs Committee 5-0 and was killed by the full Senate via the Consent Calendar. Hearing notices and Board decisions can now be found on the Housing Appeals Board website.
ARPA for Housing. The legislative Joint Fiscal Committee and the NH Executive Council have approved the new $100 million InvestNH program to address affordable housing supply challenges. In its letter to the Executive Council, Housing Action NH noted the addition of affordability requirements, including: 1) the requirement to demonstrate affordability for projects in the capital grant program; 2) connecting to other established federal and state affordable housing programs that have long-term affordability provisions, income targeting, and compliance practices; 3) a programmatic focus on adding new units to avoid displacement of current residents; 4) a commitment to ADA upgrades and universal design standards; 5) a focus on capital investments for NH’s workforce earning 80 % or less than area median income; and 6) flexibility to include mixed-income; mixed-use and small-scale projects. More information on the capital grant program is expected at the end of June 2022.
Homeless Funding. An amendment to HB 1662 sought to appropriate $5 million in ARPA or state general funds designated for municipalities to address costs related to eviction prevention, rapid rehousing, hoteling, and sheltering. However, the proposal failed to advance due to disagreements among the conferees. Homeless services funding will again be under consideration in upcoming state budget proposals for state fiscal years 2024-2025.