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.
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.
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.
The end of summer means we can turn our attention to the federal appropriations cycle, local fall conferences, statehouse hearings on bills referred for interim study as well as preparations for the 2019 state legislative session and budget year.
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
- 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
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.
Energized by our collective success in securing an appropriation for the state housing trust fund and increasing funding for homelessness during the last legislative session, Housing Action NH and its members gear up for what comes next.
Click here for the latest in federal and state affordable housing news.
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.
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.