Invest NH will provide $100 million in housing funds 

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Published: 7/6/2022 6:10:05 PM

Modified: 7/6/2022 6:07:28 PM

A new pool of $ 100 million will be available to developers starting Monday to spur construction and alleviate New Hampshire’s housing shortage, Governor Chris Sununu announced this week.

Invest NH, a housing incentive program, will begin accepting applications online on July 11.

The fund, which comes from federal American Rescue Plan money, will provide grants to expand and accelerate housing construction across the state. The first phase of the project, the Capital Grant Program, will provide $ 60 million to accelerate the availability of housing in the state. The majority of this money will be used to cover existing gaps in funding on projects that have already begun or are starting construction.

These grants will provide up to $ 3 million per project for developments that contain multifamily rental units. The grants will only cover hard costs of a project, such as construction.

An example of a project that has a funding gap is local – the Rail Yard project in Concord that is expected to bring 190 apartments to the city’s south end is $ 1.2 million short of necessary funding, according to an Invest NH Program Summary presented to the Executive Council in April.

Projects that apply for this pool must also be able to match funds awarded on a dollar-to-dollar investment.

The remaining $ 10 million of this Capital Grant Program will be awarded to the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority for their existing programs, such as their Affordable Housing Fund.

The remaining $ 40 million in Invest NH funds will provide municipal grants. This area is split into three categories: a per-unit grant program, a zoning and planning program and a demolition program.

The per-unit grant pool provides $ 30 million to municipalities for multifamily rental units. There is a $ 1 million per project cap.

Another $ 5 million will be set aside for municipalities to reconfigure or establish their zoning laws.

The final $ 5 million will be allocated for demolition of vacant or dilapidated buildings to make room for new housing opportunities.

Sununu said he hopes the program will allow for the state to keep up with its growing workforce.

“When you talk to businesses, the biggest issue they come back to all the time, whether it’s for frontline restaurant workers, whether it’s for folks in the manufacturing industry, we just need affordable housing in this state to grow,” he said.

A new website InvestNH.com will be home to all applications for each of the four funding pools. Applications for the Capital Grant Program will open July 11 and close Sept. 2. All applications will be reviewed and funds distributed at once.

The goal is to distribute funds so that there are equal opportunities to increase housing across the state, but it will depend on the region of applicants, said Sununu.

The municipality fund applications will open in late July, with no set end date.

Due to federal regulations of the funding, all funds must be used by Dec. 31, 2024. The goal is for housing projects to be on an 18-month time frame.

Sununu first announced the idea for the fund during his State of the State address in February. With a current vacancy rate at less than 1% across the state, Sununu said his office is working quickly to address the shortage.

“I think it’s safe to say every county has a housing crisis,” he said. “It’s awesome to see a rough idea turned into something you can work with the legislature with and actually see it come to real fruition, not in years, but really just in a matter of months.”

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