Affordable Housing Crisis in NH Alters Voter Support for Legislative Action
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
The affordable housing crisis in New Hampshire is widespread and a new survey found a majority of voters support legislative action to fix it.
The survey conducted by the Center for Ethics in Society at Saint Anselm College showed 60% of voters believe the state should change its planning and zoning laws to allow for more affordable housing development.
Max Latona, executive director of the center, said perceptions of affordable housing are changing as the problem hits closer to home for more people.
"They're recognizing their kids can't even buy a home in their own neighborhood; their aged parents can't find anywhere to relocate in their own neighborhood," Latona explained.
Latona pointed out a majority of voters showed a decline in so-called NIMBYISM and now support more housing in their own communities.
Every voter surveyed under age 35 agreed their community needs more affordable housing, and much of the demand was for the so-called "missing middle," including apartments, townhomes, or duplexes.
Latona noted young people are especially vulnerable to the housing shortage.
"If New Hampshire is one of the oldest states in the nation, I think we really need to pay attention to what our young people are saying so we can find a way to retain them and draw them to the state," Latona contended.
The recently released New Hampshire Zoning Atlas showed just 11% of the state's buildable land area is zoned for duplexes on small lots leading more developers to lobby for broader planning regulations.
Latona added the housing crisis is not only an urgent matter but one of justice and equity.
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