CONCORD - Gov. Chris Sununu, along with state and local officials released a comprehensive plan on Wednesday that addresses New Hampshire's housing shortage. The plan, which was also fashioned by a bipartisan group of young legislators and housing activists includes executive and legislative action.
The governor, in pushing forward the initiative, acknowledge the state's housing crisis had to be addressed sooner rather than later.
"This past summer I assembled a housing task force to develop recommendations to address our shortage, which has risen to crisis levels," said Gov. Sununu. "Today I am proud to say that as a result of the work of the task force, my office, and a bipartisan group of young legislators, we are releasing the most comprehensive plan on housing that this State has ever seen. I look forward to a productive conversation with the legislature and all interested stakeholders, and to working together to pass a plan that will be a win for our workforce, our communities, and our entire State."
Earlier this summer, Governor Sununu established a task force to work with his office to develop recommendations to address New Hampshire's housing crisis. The group consisted of state and local officials, and industry experts: Taylor Caswell, Commissioner of Business and Economic Affairs; Dean Christon, Executive Director of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority; Ben Frost, Policy and Public Affairs Director of New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority; Noah Hodgetts, Assistant Planner at Office of Strategic Initiatives; Rebecca Perkins, Portsmouth City Councilor; Matt Sullivan, Director of Planning and Community Development in Wolfeboro; and Mike Claflin, Workforce Housing Developer.
"Housing and economic development must go hand in hand," said BEA Commissioner Taylor Caswell. "If we are going to continue our success in attracting a younger workforce to New Hampshire, we must have a much broader spectrum of housing for people at all stages in life. Enactment of these proposals will put us light years ahead of where we are right now in addressing this crisis."
There is a critical housing shortage in the state, shown as recently as this summer when the vacancy rate for two bedroom apartments fell below 1 percent in all but one New Hampshire county. Meanwhile, the inventory of homes for sale is near record lows.
The legislative piece of the plan includes two bills. The first bill focuses on enhancing local control and improving predictability of the development process, and the second bill focuses on accelerating investment in housing.
The prime sponsor of the first bill is Representative Willis Griffith (D-Manchester), Chairman of the Young Democrats Caucus, and the prime sponsor of the second bill is Representative Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown). Representative Griffith and Representative Alexander, together with Representative Tom Loughman (D-Hampton) and Representative Gates Lucas (R-Sunapee), worked with the Governor's housing task force to craft legislation to implement the plan being released today.
The final text of the bills will be available on Friday.