Affordable housing

A “housing shortage” is the predicament in which Nashua finds itself, according to city Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings.

Last week, Cummings told our reporter the average monthly rental cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the Gate City is $1,200, while those with two bedrooms go for $1,400. This, of course, does not include the cost of most utilities.

Cummings said Nashua’s relative proximity to Boston is a prime reason for continuously escalating rental rates.

“We’re a natural place to look because you can still work south of Boston and live and have a great quality of life just over the border,” he said.

Cummings said part of the problem is there simply are not enough units available in the Nashua, a situation which allows prices to increase because of high demand and low supply. There are new housing developments ongoing, including Renaissance Downtowns on Bridge Street and the Brady Sullivan Properties project on Franklin Street.

The lack of affordable housing in New Hampshire is not lost upon U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H. Last week, she joined several colleagues to introduce legislation known as the Rent Relief Act.

“I’ve heard from businesses across our state that one of their most pressing challenges is a shortage of affordable housing for their prospective employees. This common-sense bill would create a refundable tax credit to help bring relief to families who struggle to afford their rent and expand economic opportunity for hard-working Granite Staters and Americans.”

If the legislation would become law, a refundable tax credit would be available to individuals who live in rental housing and pay more than 30 percent of their gross income on rental costs, including utilities.

We are not sure if Hassan’s legislation is the right approach, but at least elected leaders at the federal level are aware of the plight so many working-class Americans face in keeping up with escalating housing costs. We encourage other officials at every level of government to continue working with real estate developers to find solutions to this complex problem.