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. In 2019, REDC brought on a Housing Planner, further expanding housing advocacy and education work in the region.
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. Please contact Sarah Wrightsman, Housing Planner, for more information at Sarah@REDC.com.
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.
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, fire fighters, 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