When I was a single mother of two, I rented in Exeter. After getting re-married, we were not ready to buy and didn’t want the children to change schools multiple times. Low inventory caused a competitive process, finding another rental was difficult. I am grateful that we found a rental until we could buy. However, availability of affordable homes is an ongoing concern.
The State suggests the town reserve at least 10% of its residential property for affordable housing. Richmond is far from meeting this goal. Affordable Housing includes housing for elderly, group homes and everyone in between. All of whom contribute to our economy and pay taxes.
Affordable Housing supports our local businesses, we have restaurants, stores, and gas stations that are reducing their hours due to lack of staffing. These jobs often pay less than $18hr. The lower income someone is making, the less likely they will be willing to commute, especially in a small state like ours.
The percentage of properties that qualify as affordable housing fluctuates as homes no longer meet the criteria. Town Council can help facilitate long-term affordability on homes by making the process more desirable to builders. Quality builds that meet the town’s standards should be permitted and prioritized. With teamwork from the Affordable Housing Committee, Planning Board and Town Council, we can get closer to meeting this goal while maintaining our rural character.