REDC has long recognized housing affordability and availability as a top barrier to economic growth in the region. In 2018, REDC formed a strategic partnership with the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast.
REDC is available to help municipalities in the region interested in exploring housing affordability, availability, and diversity through their land use regulations. REDC offers housing design charrettes, technical assistance, informational presentations, advocate trainings, documentary screenings, and more.
Charrette to the West
In 2018, REDC launched the “Charrette to the West” housing design charrette program. Using the Workforce Housing Coalition’s charrette model, REDC is able to offer charrettes to these thirteen communities: Auburn, Atkinson, Derry, Hampstead, Hudson, Litchfield, Londonderry, Nashua, Merrimack, Pelham, Plaistow, Salem, and Windham.
Please note, REDC communities not listed may apply to host a charrette anytime through www.seacoastwhc.org.
The inaugural REDC charrette was hosted by the Town of Pelham and explored workforce housing in the mixed-use zoning district in the village center. The charrette team’s challenge was to create financially feasible workforce housing without municipal sewer and while maintaining the small-town charm that Pelham residents love. The charrette team focused on missing middle housing, drafting beautiful cottage clusters on the test site. The result was the passage of an amendment to the town’s accessory dwelling unit ordinance, which passed at the 2020 municipal election.
Antonio Serna, REDC's Housing Program Intern, has researched and written "Conditions for Housing Development: An Intersection of Structural and Cultural Opportunity in New Hampshire". This study explores the lack of affordable housing by looking at the way housing development is both supported and hindered within the local approval process. Read the study here:
Charrette to the West
Pelham, NH May 2019
Housing Advocate Training
In 2018, Boston University’s Initiative on Cities released the results of a study that demonstrated that those who participate in planning and zoning board meetings are more likely to oppose than support housing development. The Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast responded by partnering with Concord-based nonprofit, New Futures, to offer workshops on advocacy. These workshops explore advocacy best practices, address the common barriers to advocacy, and demystify local government.
What is Workforce Housing?
In New Hampshire, workforce housing is defined as rental housing affordable to households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) and for-sale housing affordable to households earning up to 100 percent of AMI. Affordability is defined as gross housing costs that do not exceed 30 percent of household income. Simply put, workforce housing is housing for members of the workforce including the essential members of every community: schoolteachers, firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, librarians, local shop owners, and more. Further reading: Not What, but Who, is Workforce Housing?
The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority has developed resources to support communities in their efforts to expand housing affordability, supply, and diversity.
Meeting the Workforce Housing Challenge Guidebook is designed to help municipal land use boards meet state workforce housing law requirements and shape future growth in their communities.
Housing Solutions Handbook for New Hampshire offers tools and techniques to provide affordable and workforce housing development opportunities.
Accessory Dwelling Units in New Hampshire: A Guide for Municipalities is designed to help municipalities meet New Hampshire’s ADU law and shape future development of ADUs in their community.
These resources and more are available at:
Exeter, NH October 2017
Housing Projects of Interest
Cotton Mill Square Redevelopment (Nashua)
In 2013, REDC awarded a $160,000 loan in support of the Cotton Mill Square through the EPA Brownfields Program to clean up PCBs, asbestos, and lead paint at 30 Front Street in Nashua. A historic mill building, Cotton Mill Square was rehabilitated into 109 residential apartment units. The project is mixed-income, with 51 percent of the apartments affordable to moderate-income earners. In addition, the project added 1,200 square feet to the Nashua Riverwalk and created new, permanent jobs.
John Stabile, owner of The Stabile Companies, stated, ''Cotton Mill Square, a historic and low-income tax credit project, could only have been possible through the ability to quilt together nine separate funding sources including: 108 funds, CDFA funds, low-income tax credits, historic tax credits, to name a few. The cooperation of all these agencies will help in the revitalization of downtown Nashua.''
Railroad Land Redevelopment (Keene)
In partnership with the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, REDC awarded a $317,000 loan in 2013 to support the Railroad Land Redevelopment Project in Keene through the EPA Brownfields Program to clean up petroleum, trichloroethylene, coal ash, lead, arsenic, MTBE, and TCE. The multi-phased redevelopment project was consistent with the city’s vision of creating a neighborhood on the east side of downtown Keene. The redevelopment of the land will enhance the economic vitality of the downtown, while creating over 150 new jobs and housing opportunities.
Marshall Street Apartments (Nashua)
In 2018, REDC awarded a $300,000 loan in support of the Marshall Street Apartments through the EPA Brownfields Program to clean up the five-acre site at Marshall and East Hollis Streets. The project, by well-known developer Dick Anagnost of Anagnost Companies, provided 152-units of much-needed rental housing affordable to members of Nashua’s workforce. The four four-story buildings contained a mixed of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments affordable to households making up to 60 percent of the area median income.