The housing shortage has become a common household conversation for families and individuals across the country. A sharp decline in the building of new housing over the last 20 years, coupled with changing demographics and economic trends, have caused a housing crunch. This lack of housing is being experienced nationwide, across income ranges, and ages. New Hampshire has not been immune to these shifts. Statewide the population is growing and getting older, the average household size is declining, the number of available homes is simply not enough to meet the current or future demand.
The 2023 Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and Fair Housing Equity Assessment (FHEA) provides current, regional, and local data on housing needs and to fulfill RSA 36:47(II) statutory requirements, requirements of the American Rescue Plan funding, and fulfill the recommendation of the Council on Housing Stability 2021-2024 Strategic Pan. New Hampshire RSA 36:47(II) requires that “For the purpose of assisting municipalities in complying with RSA 674:2, III(l), each regional planning commission shall compile a regional housing needs assessment, which shall include an assessment of the regional need for housing for persons and families of all levels of income.”
The primary goal of this RHNA is to provide data on housing and demographics, by income level, so that each municipality in the region can begin to understand their current and future need. This RHNA may assist municipalities in determining compliance with the Workforce Housing Statute (RSA 674:58-61). By equipping municipalities with a foundation of knowledge on the challenges and opportunities facing community members, this assessment may be utilized to frame a regional conversation around local solutions. Solving the housing shortage cannot be achieved by a single or even a couple municipalities changing policy and regulations, but rather needs to be addressed on a regional scale.