(Opinion) A winning proposal to help solve the housing shortage

Coalition of business groups urges support for municipal Housing Champion program

Editor’s note: This article was submitted by The Housing Champion Coalition whose members are the NH Municipal Association, Business & Industry Association of NH, NH Bankers Association, NH Lodging & Restaurant Association, NH Association of Realtors and Housing Action NH.

A renter’s nightmare. An aspiring homeowner’s dreams dashed. A business’s pleas for more workforce. The impact of the housing shortage is so severe that it can be felt in every corner of our state.

Recognizing the need to act, business and municipal interests are coming together to back a new incentive program. The Housing Champion designation, proposed in Senate Bill 145 this legislative session, would initiate a new era of support and partnership with the local communities that are trying to respond thoughtfully to the need for more housing.

Completely voluntary and chock full of new resources, the program meets New Hampshire towns and cities where they are at and provides the technical assistance as well as the infrastructure funding needed to support more housing. Need to update a master plan? The Housing Champion program can help with that. Need funding for water and sewer? The Housing Champion program can help with that. Other infrastructure like sidewalks? Yes, that too.

Carrots are better than sticks — especially in New Hampshire. The Housing Champion program takes the long view by letting towns and cities decide if they want to continue by offering recertification every three years. In addition, the state funding connected to the program will provide needed relief to tight municipal budgets by returning taxpayer money to our towns and cities in connection with this important state goal.

In fact, New Hampshire has the opportunity to serve as a national model on how to address the housing issue. We can model how to build more housing while protecting our beautiful natural resources. We can add homes to a community and protect its rural character. We can bring communities into the process to proactively envision their future. And we can make sure that our state government is supportive by providing resources where needed.

Instead of debating the problem, we are encouraging lawmakers to join us in supporting this innovative and accelerative solution. The Housing Champion Coalition respectfully requests your partnership in our collective work to address New Hampshire’s housing crisis. Please join us in supporting this winning proposal for businesses, residents and New Hampshire communities

Categories: Opinion