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New Hampshire Housing, State Representatives Say Homeless Issue is A Housing Supply Issue

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A new report shows right now, there are at least 1,600 people experiencing homelessness in New Hampshire. State leaders said they’re working on affordable housing to address the ongoing crisis.

Rep. Joe Alexander, chairman of the Special Committee on Housing, said his committee is working with local planning zone groups to reduce housing code regulations and make it easier for people to appeal the state’s decisions on housing codes they don’t agree with. He said they support affordable housing units being built throughout the state.

Officials from New Hampshire housing said people in vulnerable positions, like those who struggle with mental health or addiction, have more trouble finding and maintaining housing. But that doesn’t mean the housing crisis will impact just one specific group.

Data outlined in a new report from the New Hampshire Coalition to End Homelessness tells News 9 that at least one in five people who are homeless are considered chronically homeless. That means those people have been homeless for a year or more, or have been through at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years.

New Hampshire Housing and Alexander said the lack of housing in New Hampshire is also a supply and demand issue.

“If you look at Democrats, Republicans, Independents, everyone knows there’s a housing shortage, and it’s a supply side shortage. So, my idea is if we increase the supply even a little bit, the median rent will go down, the median household income will go down and we’ll hopefully get to a place that hopefully the market will settle,” Alexander said.

If you are someone experiencing homelessness or without a safe place to live right now, the Department of Health and Human Services said you can call 211 or your local welfare office for help.

Source: WMUR 9abc