A bill that would have enabled the distribution of $100 million in federal funds to increase the availability of affordable housing in New Hampshire recently stalled in the House. Rights & Democracy’s Housing for All Committee responds to the impact this will have in our ongoing fight to ensure all Granite State residents have safe and secure housing:
New Hampshire is in the midst of a housing crisis. With homelessness doubling in the Granite State since 2020 and rental vacancy rates at an all time low, families in our state are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
While the Rights & Democracy Housing For All Committee praises our federal delegation for making $100 million in federal funds available to New Hampshire for housing through the American Rescue Plan Act, we were strongly disappointed to see the bill to approve the funding, SB 400, fail in the House. The need for housing has never been greater, and we need billions of dollars in investments to meet the needs of Granite State families.
We now hope to see a second bill, HB 1661, pass with the language of SB 400 included and intact, and with amendments to a currently harmful bail reform provision included in the bill.
At the same time, we know that $100 million, while an important investment, is just a start. As of 2019, the New Hampshire Housing Authority estimated that our state needs to build 20,000 new housing units in order to keep rents and mortgages affordable for Granite State families. Low estimates indicate that one unit of affordable housing costs over $250,000 in New Hampshire. With Governor Sununu’s proposed use of the $100 million including $60 million that would go directly to developers and owners, we know that this money would only begin to make a dent in housing needs, and fail to sufficiently put people’s wellbeing over profits.
We need greater investments in public housing, cooperative housing, and truly equitable housing for middle- and low-income people. We will continue to fight for greater tenant protections, including: preventing people from being evicted for renovations in their units as we upgrade our aging housing stock, reasonable rent increases, and recourses for tenants impacted by landlords who keep their units in substandard conditions.
We look forward to a future in which all New Hampshire families have safe, accessible, and affordable housing. Will you join us?
To get involved in the work for housing justice in the Granite State, reach out to Housing Organizer Brandon Lemay at firstname.lastname@example.org