News & Legislative Updates

June News and Legislative Update

As the state legislative session nears a close, housing advocates are on the cusp of some major victories. Celebrations, however, will need to wait until bills are signed and the budget is finalized. The most recent state-of-play on state affordable housing priorities are below.

There is also promising momentum at the federal level with the reintroduction of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in Congress as well as attention to the affordable housing crisis from several presidential primary candidates.

Read more here.

NH Primary Source: Statewide coalition to raise candidates’ awareness of affordable housing crisis

Housing Action NH, a coalition of more than 80 New Hampshire companies and social service organizations, wants the presidential candidates to talk more about what it says is an affordable housing crisis in the state.

The state coalition has entered into a partnership with the National Low-Income Housing Coalition to “elevate the affordable housing crisis and its solutions in the presidential campaigns. With the housing crisis having reached historic heights, most harming the lowest-income renters, it is past time for all presidential candidates to prioritize this critical issue,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the national coalition.

Read the full article here.

April News and Legislative Update

We will focus this edition of our newsletter on the number of legislative proposals still in play at the State House. We thank the many members of the Housing Action NH coalition who have engaged with policymakers this year and we ask for your ongoing support as we head into the final key months of the legislative session.

Read more here.

March News and Legislative Update

Although the lengthy federal government shutdown is still impacting the housing community as they work to catch up with payments and project delays, the final passage of the FY 19 budget brought generally robust funding levels to key programs. At the state level, several promising bills are working their way through the legislature.

Read more here.

January News and Legislative Update

The new year brings both opportunity and concern for affordable housing advocacy. At the federal level, the longest government shutdown in American history threatens the stability of tenants, homeowners and property owners connected to HUD and USDA programs. At the state level, there are several promising legislative proposals to help address the shortage of affordable housing.

Read more here.

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.