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Jul. 9—Gov. Chris Sununu released a 40-page strategic plan to address homelessness on Friday, a plan that focuses on adding more than 13,000 new homes to the state.
The plan represents the result of the New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability, a 41-member group that Sununu formed last November, when the governor ordered the high-profile evacuation of homeless at a makeshift camp beside the Hillsborough County Superior Court building in downtown Manchester.
In prepared remarks, Sununu said the plan was a significant step forward to address housing stability in the state.
"The end goal: creating improved health, social, educational and economic outcomes for individuals, families and communities," the Sununu statement reads.
The council set a "North Star" to guide its planning — that homelessness is rare, brief and one-time. And it wants the state to grow by 13,500 — about the number of housing units in the town of Derry — by 2024. The Derry comparison is from U.S. Census data available through the state Office of Strategic Initiatives website.
In her own statement, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig said the effort is the first update to the statewide homeless plan in 15 years, and many of the proposals mirror what is already taking place in Manchester. She hopes the city and state can work together on the issue.
"This plan is an important first step, and I look forward to seeing action and results," the Craig statement reads.
The plan includes six objectives:
* Increased housing stability, by improving responses when a family is in a crisis. The best approach nationally involves "flexible resources" that can help families overcome an economic crisis for more than a month.
* Removal of regulatory barriers to affordable housing. The plan said "each community" should contribute toward solutions to affordable housing.
* Public financing of affordable housing. A vital role of the public sector is housing for the lowest incomes, either through direct investment in existing housing or new funding sources for new housing. Such public sector investment leverages private investment.
* Tax incentives for housing. The plan calls for tax offsets to promote private-market housing.
* Legislative action next year. The only recommendation at this point is a housing caucus in the Legislature. "Housing is a foundation for health, wellness, and economic stability in communities," the plan reads.
* Connection of state and local government. The plan calls for a structure that allows state and local governments to coordinate efforts on housing stability.
The strategic plan includes one and three years goals for each of the six objectives.