News & Legislative Updates

SB 557-FN: Housing Appeals Board

Where will New Hampshire’s workforce live?

We need to make sure all of our systems are working as efficiently as possible as developers try to respond to market demand for more affordable housing. 

Sponsors: Senators – Bob Giuda, Dan Feltes, Sharon Carson, David Watters, Jeb Bradley, Jeff Woodburn; Representatives – Dick Hinch, Ed Butler

Why SB557:

  • Property owners and housing developers who want to challenge local land use decisions face a costly and time-consuming process.
  • Some developers simply forego attempts to develop in communities where they anticipate opposition.
  • Others who take on that challenge often face years of litigation. Even if they prevail in court, the costs of litigation are only passed on to consumers through increased home purchase prices and rents.

How it will function:

  • As an alternative to trial court, the Housing Appeals Board will be able to review local planning and zoning board decisions and will provide a faster and less expensive appeals for developers and property owners.
  • The Board is specifically designed to have no impact on local control.
  • It will consist of three members appointed by the Supreme Court for three-year terms.
  • The Board will hear appeals of decisions by planning boards, zoning boards, and any other housing-related local permit or decision and the Board will have only those powers already exercised by superior court.
  • Board will have concurrent, appellate jurisdiction with superior court to hear appeals. The choice is exclusive – appellant must decide between superior court and the Board.
  • Appeals may only be brought by the applicant for a local permit; the municipality will be a party to the appeal; others with standing may be granted intervenor status
  • The Board must hold a hearing within 90 days of the appeal, and must make a decision within 60 days after the hearing. Total = 150 days from appeal.
  • Board decisions may be appealed to Supreme Court.
  • Board members will be paid full-time employees and must have experience in land use law and/or housing development; at least one must be a lawyer and at least one must be a professional engineer or land surveyor.

Endorsements: Business and Industry Association; NH Homebuilders Association; NH Association of Realtors; Housing Action NH; and NH Planners Association

December 2017 News and Legislative Update

With just weeks left in 2017, federal broad-based tax reform legislation could have adverse impacts on affordable housing development. At the state level, a new housing appeals board proposal would address some of the barriers to affordable housing development. Finally, a new report on the state of homelessness in New Hampshire reveals how the lack of affordable housing is connected to the rise in homelessness.

Read more here.

June 2017 News and Legislative Update

State budget season at the State House draws to a close this week with some progress on the housing front.  The capital budget includes $2.5 million for the Affordable Housing Fund and the operating budget includes full funding for homeless shelters and an increase to the Homeless Housing Access Revolving Loan Fund. The Governor is expected to sign both budgets.

In Washington DC, the focus is on the FY 18 budget for HUD and USDA Rural Housing programs. Following Trump’s budget proposal that included draconian cuts to housing programs, Housing Action NH will be joining advocates from the New England Housing Network at meetings with key congressional appropriations staff on Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of these programs and the impact of any cuts.

Finally, be sure to visit the new Resources on Supportive Housing in New Hampshire’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (DSRIP) here.

More details here.

April 2017 News and Legislative Update

State budget advocacy has been the major focus of housing proponents this legislative session, advocating for a capital budget appropriation into the Affordable Housing Fund and ongoing operating fund support for the state’s homeless shelters and programs.

At the federal level, there is growing concern in New Hampshire and across the country regarding the severe cuts to HUD and USDA rural housing programs proposed in both the FY 17 and FY 18 budgets that would have adverse impacts on thousands of New Hampshire residents.

More details here.

January 2017 News and Legislative Update

A severe and growing shortage of housing choices in New Hampshire promises to divert business investments, exacerbate workforce shortages, and limit business growth. While several state and federal housing policy proposals are worth our attention in 2017, New Hampshire’s Affordable Housing Fund provides an opportunity to help change this trajectory. Advocates are now preparing to make our case to the Governor, who called housing one of the state’s economic drivers in his inaugural speech this week, and to the legislature. More details on this and other items follow. http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=6f449eb054f9419b0f5fcee35&id=d24aca6c3e

New Resource: NH Business Case for a Supportive Housing Services Benefit

The New Hampshire Business Case for a Supportive Housing Services Benefit documents the cost savings that can be achieved by providing supportive housing services. Housing Action NH and the NH Coalition to End Homelessness worked with CSH to analyze the 2015 Medicaid claims data of NH residents experiencing homelessness. The analysis shows about 70% of individuals in the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) are now enrolled in Medicaid, 4,296 people. The analysis suggests that increasing pre-tenancy and tenancy support services would have a significant positive impact in decreasing public costs for this population. State and federal savings for the top decile who received supportive services are $287,798. The full report is now available.

New Resource: State of Homelessness 2016

This annual report, published by the NH Coalition to End Homelessness, analyzes and contextualizes data from this year’s Point in Time count and the Dept. of Education’s count of homeless NH school children. Link to the report here.

Looking for more state and federal data? Find our sector’s most important reports, containing data you can use to advocate for more affordable homes and ending homelessness under the “Data Resources” section of our website.