Opinion: NHSaves is essential to confronting the housing crisis
|Published: 11-03-2023 6:00 AM
Josh Meehan is executive director, Keene Housing & board member, New Hampshire Housing Authority Corp.
In the midst of New Hampshire’s affordable housing crisis, the NHSaves energy efficiency programs have performed an underappreciated role in helping get more affordable housing built, and preserving the affordable housing that we have. These programs, administered by the state’s utility companies, are not just about reducing energy consumption; they are a lifeline for affordable housing and the well-being of low-income residents across the Granite State.
New Hampshire Housing Authority Corporation, representing the state’s 17 Public Housing Authorities and the tens of thousands of low-income elderly, disabled, and working families we house, stands firmly in support of NHSaves. NHSaves in an important ally in our effort to preserve and expand our communities’ affordable housing stock. From improved insulation to tighter building envelopes, electrified HVAC systems to LED fixtures, these retrofits not only enhance the performance of our ageing housing stock, but also significantly cut operating costs. The financial savings achieved can then be redirected toward addressing other pressing capital needs, such as roof replacements, paving, and curb appeal projects, all of which help ensure that these critical community resources will be available to future generations.
Over the past six years, Housing Authorities across the state have collectively received nearly $4 million in NHSaves funding. These funds have been pivotal in making critical investments in over 1,000 affordable units across 20 properties. Beyond the numbers, these improvements translate into tangible enhancements in the lives, health, and well-being of the residents, all while enabling PHAs to allocate more resources to other urgent capital needs and towards developing new, desperately needed housing. In a state where affordable housing remains out of reach to far too many, we need every tool at our disposal.
We urge the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission to approve the submitted three-year plan, recognizing its significance in our collective fight against the affordable housing crisis. This is more than just an investment in energy efficiency; it’s an investment in the resilience and affordability of our communities. It’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to creating a brighter, more affordable future for all residents of New Hampshire.