The Portsmouth Housing Authority is in charge of subsidized housing and makes recommendations about the cycle of investing in improvements as they have done several times over the past decade. The Council approved loans as well as other kinds of improvements and I think we should continue to do so. Subsidized housing represents a substantial proportion of City housing stock and it is important to try to maintain it in good condition.
To the extent that money can be found to subsidize housing in the City I am for it.
Much of the money that goes into subsidized housing is federal money. The city gets tax breaks from the federal government by participating in the housing programs. A friend of mine, Craig Welch, is the housing director. The school should consider interviewing him. He has always been an advocate for housing for the more economically challenged.
The city has "First Time Buyer" programs and is sensitive to those residents who need assistance. The Housing Authority in Portsmouth is the best source for this topic.
Jim SplaineWhen we invest in housing, we improve the quality of life of those living in that housing, as well as the neighborhoods where it exists. That increases pride in the neighborhoods, leads to more neighbor-helping-neighbor programs, and improves the value of the housing -- thus eventually our tax base. That's good for business, and for all of us. I think we need to make sure that our zoning standards are enforced, and that our city government pays attention to all of Portsmouth -- not just Downtown, or the more wealthy sections. We need to be sure roads and sidewalks are built well, during the winter plowed well, and the summer well-maintained. We also need to provide grants to homeowners in need to do some of the basic things needed to keep their homes in repair if they cannot afford to do so. We have substantial subsidized housing in our community, but we should continue to explore ways to expand workforce housing -- a program that I supported as a member of the N.H. Legislature.
I believe that we need to support all citizens in our neighborhoods. During National night out I manage to get to all neighborhoods. I have been to Gosling Meadows, and others. Many of these neighborhoods need upgrades. The City will have to work with State and Federal Government. It can be very difficult getting all these groups together. I also believe that we need help from the residents. They have to be involved and tell us what their needs are. Unfortunately, As a City Councilor I never hear from some of our residents in the City.
While the city does not make direct investments into subsidized housing structures in the city, there are things that we can do to support subsidized housing such as providing Block grant loans to encourage new development, giving favorable tax treatment to public housing properties, and cooperating with the Portsmouth Housing Authority to save money on administrative and operating costs.
Naturally, I believe that everyone should be able to live in decent housing at affordable rates and that we as a community owe it to our society to help the disadvantaged. The City is already doing much, both directly and indirectly, to invest in subsidized housing itself and to encourage others to do so. (Some examples are mentioned in my answer to Question #1 of this questionnaire.)However, the City is somewhat limited in its ability to make additional subsidized housing available at present, for real estate values have risen so dramatically over the last fifteen years that the availability of buildable land has shrunk. In the current boomtown economic climate, private developers generally have little appetite for subsidized housing--they prefer the more lucrative “mixed-use development” in the downtown area and the more upscale housing projects generally--and with the city budget having expanded at double the rate of inflation over the last fifteen years, with no increase in population, the taxpayers similarly have little appetite for investing more money into subsidized housing than they already do now.We should continue to explore ways to encourage investment in subsidized housing, whether through tax credits, federal grants, or other incentives which will not increase the burden on the local taxpayers.