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Surging NH Rents Limiting Workforce Housing Options

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April 17, 2008

Concord, NH - More and more of the people who work in New Hampshire can't afford to live there. The National Low Income Housing Coalition says New Hampshire workers now need to earn more than seven percent more than last year to afford a two-bedroom apartment. In the past eight years, housing costs are up 47 percent, and that makes New Hampshire the ninth-most-expensive state to live in.

Maggie Fogarty with the American Friends Service Committee in New Hampshire says that means workers must earn more than ever to make local housing "affordable."

"It now requires a wage of $19.45 an hour to afford housing. It's one more painful piece of data in a picture that's pretty grim for working families in New Hampshire."

Fogarty believes the report will get people talking about how to keep housing costs from driving out teachers, firefighters, and other local workers who can't afford to live locally.

"When you draw people's attention to how this dynamic is playing out, and the unintended consequences of that, the people are moved to participate more fully in a conversation about how we build communities where everybody can find a home."

The state Senate holds hearings Friday on a bill that would require towns to provide a reasonable opportunity for affordable "workforce" housing. The bill passed the House in March. Opponents argue that the bill takes control of local growth out of local hands.

More information is available online at www.nlihc.org.

John Robinson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - NH