The Peterborough Affordable Housing Sub-Committee launches a newsletter, ‘Neighbors Together’, the first week of October.

The newsletter will be published every two months and the goal is to keep Peterborough residents and businesses up to date on the progress, successes and challenges surrounding affordable housing in the community, according to a news release announcing the newsletter. To register, go to the municipality’s website, peterboroughnh.gov.

The subcommittee is part of the city’s Economic Development Authority, and alternate member Carol Nelson said the newsletter was born after members determined the need to provide a single repository for disseminating information regarding the crisis. current housing for tenants.

“We wanted to be able to provide a single repository for the community and businesses on topics related to affordable workforce housing at the municipal level in Peterborough and at the state level,” Nelson said.

At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, Nelson read a joint statement from the subcommittee in support of more rental options. The joint statement, she said, will be presented to all major committees, including the Select Board.

The committee’s first newsletter, Nelson said, will cover zoning workshops, include an interview with Contoocook Housing Trust executive director Alice Altman, provide information on secondary suites (ADUs), which have been brought to 1,000 square feet at the 2022 town meeting; and explain the difference between mobile homes and manufactured homes.

In the newsletter interview, Altman pointed out that when the Contoocook Housing Trust started in 1990, the focus was on developing affordable housing for families with just $25,000 in seed funding from Peterborough.

“Rents started at our first Peterborough property at $350 to $375 per month,” she said in the interview. “We are well outside of either of those ranges in terms of income and rents right now.”

Today, Altman said, CHT has a permanent waiting list of more than 25 families.

According to data from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority (NHHFA), the vacancy rate is just under 0.5% for two-bedroom apartments statewide and just under 1% for all units. In Peterborough, the vacancy rate is zero. Between the towns of Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Greenfield, Peterborough, Hancock and Lyndeborough, there were just 13 affordable vacant rental units in 2020.

The median gross rental cost of an apartment in Peterborough is $1,139 and the median gross rental cost statewide is $1,584, according to the NHHFA.

In his interview for “Neighbors Together,” Altman said the prospects for affordable housing development today are much more financially challenging.

“As incomes have increased, so have property taxes, utilities, labor and materials, which have required increased rents to be able to cover our operating costs,” he said. she declared. “[W]he inflated sale prices of existing properties make it more difficult to create new affordable housing.

Nelson said the subcommittee’s hope is that the newsletter will create a way for people to stay focused and informed about the affordable housing crisis in the area and state.

“When I read part of Altman’s Planning Board interview about where people who live in affordable housing work, which includes RiverMead, schools and the hospital, people practically gasped” , she said.

The Economic Development Authority (EDA), established in 1995, aims to improve economic development in Peterborough. The Affordable Housing Sub-Committee, established in 2021 by a majority vote of EDA members, coordinates efforts and initiates the development of affordable housing by working with existing and potential employers to attract and retain a workforce diversified.