Council On Housing Stability
The New Hampshire Council on Housing Stability was established by Governor Sununu in November 2020. The Council was tasked with providing short- and long-term recommendations to address the housing crisis in New Hampshire. The Council just released its first strategic plan for the years 2021-2024, which includes an overarching goal of increasing the number of housing units in New Hampshire by 13,500 by 2024. You can read the strategic plan here.
The 2021 state legislative session was a mixed bag for housing and community development issues. On the one hand, we are celebrating a record $35 million investment into the state's Affordable Housing Fund in the 2022-23 state budget. This is, by far, the most state funding dedicated to housing since the Fund's inception in 1988. Investing state funds in housing is critical to meet local needs that federal housing programs do not address, particularly the development of affordable starter homes, but also to stretch federal funds even further to produce more rental units. We look forward to learning more details about how New Hampshire Housing plans to use this increased state funding to spur development of new homes for New Hampshire residents.
While new state funding is excellent news, unfortunately there were several policy proposals that housing advocates worked on for the past few years which were not approved. The "Housing Toolbox Bill" (HB 586) would have enabled municipalities to use Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to build infrastructure for residential development, which could have been a game changer for communities who want more housing but have limited infrastructure. Here in the Lakes Region, the lack of water & sewer infrastructure is one of the biggest constraints in developing homes for essential workers.
In addition, the Toolbox bill would have improved the predictability of the local approvals process and established a new "Housing Champion" certification program that provides financial incentives for towns and cities to facilitate the development of workforce housing. The Toolbox bill was reported out of committee with an Ought to Pass recommendation, but it encountered vocal opposition from a small contingent of representatives during floor debate in the House. It was tabled and ultimately not reconsidered before the legislative session ended.
Gale School Redevelopment Project
Help Save a Piece of History, Provide Child Care & Family Supports
$750,000 in NH Business Tax Credits Available
The Gale School Redevelopment project will transform the dilapidated School in Belmont into a vibrant community facility hosting a childcare center operated by the Boys & Girls Club of Central NH and a program center operated by Lakes Region Community Services (LRCS). The childcare center will add 60 new childcare slots to the Lakes Region. The LRCS Program Center will serve over 100 families.
To learn more about how your business can support this project, please visit www.lrcommunitydevelopers.org/gale-school-fundraising.html or contact Carmen Lorentz at (603) 524-0747 ext 110 or CLorentz@LRCommunityDevelopers.org Thank you!
Landscaping at Compass House
We were pleased to complete our landscaping plans at Compass House in Laconia this spring. The pandemic delayed this final finishing touch last year. Volunteers from the Belknap County Recovery Court, overseen by LRCD staff, planted trees, bushes, and flower beds, and build raised beds for vegetables. The women in recovery who live at Compass House can now enjoy their beautiful front yard!
Green Tip - Water Conservation
As a NeighborWorks America Green Designated Organization we have incorporated green practices across all lines of business. As an organization it is important to us that we remain steadfast stewards of our precious resources and inspire our neighbors to see the value and ease of incorporating green practices into their lives. We hope you enjoy our Green Tips.
It may seem like it is always raining lately but the Lakes Region is still in a moderate drought. You can find the NH Drought Map at droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?NH=. While in a moderate drought wildfires can increase, wildlife is impacted, and lake levels can be below normal capacity.
Visit www.ready.gov/drought for some great tips on what you can do to conserve water.
CDFA Awards Gale School Project
The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) announced that it has awarded $750,000 in tax credits to our Gale School Redevelopment Project, which will transform the historic property into a vibrant community facility housing a childcare center operated by the Boys & Girls Club of Central NH and a program center operated by Lakes Region Community Services.
This award is in the form of tax equity. New Hampshire businesses can support our project by purchasing the tax credits - we receive a donation for the Gale School projects and the company receives a state tax credit worth 75 percent of their contribution. The credit can be applied against the Business Profits Tax, Business Enterprise Tax, or Insurance Premium. Please contact Carmen Lorentz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 603.524.0747 ext. 110 for more information.
The Gale School Redevelopment Project will require multiple funding sources. We are grateful to CDFA for this Tax Credit award and their support of this project.
Community Building - Gardens
Vegetable gardens have "sprouted up" at LRCD's Batchelder Apartments and River's Edge Apartments, thanks to a partnership with the Belknap County Conservation District and a generous grant from the Bank of New Hampshire. New raised bed gardens were created and planted over the last few weeks with the help of residents, staff and volunteers. Residents added soil to the raised beds and planted their choice of vegetables. Raised bed planters offer easy access for older residents and those using wheelchairs. "Everyone had a great time getting the planters ready and deciding what they wanted to grow. Giving communities access to grow their own food is important", said Lisa Morin, Program Coordinator for the Belknap County Conservation District (BCCD).
LRCD is grateful to BCCD for providing the garden beds and funds to give our residents access to healthy foods and the healthy activity of gardening.
Harriman Hill Apartments in Wolfeboro
The new garden at Harriman Hill in Wolfeboro was a big hit last summer, so residents there asked for supplies to build two more raised beds this year. They constructed those in May. LRCD provided funds for residents to buy vegetable plants. Their four raised garden beds are growing lots of healthy vegetables. The garden crew decided that produce from the garden in available to any resident at Harriman Hill.
Finishing Touch at Ames Brook
The final piece of the renovation at Ames Brook Apartments in Ashland was installed. We completed the $5 million renovation project in September 2020. In past years and especially this year, via the Community Survey, residents have expressed a great desire for more community events and spaces to hold them. The new gazebo at Ames Brook will become a central gathering space for the 40-unit community.
REDI - Little Free Libraries & Reading in Color
In 2020, LRCD began the process of reviewing our policies, practices, and programs to identify changes that we can make to combat systemic racism and promote race equity, diversity, and inclusion. This is an ongoing process of continuous learning and improvement. In this segment of our newsletter, we will provide regular updates on this work.
Lakes Region Community Developers brought two Little Free Libraries to Harriman Hill Apartments in Wolfeboro. Little Free Library's vision is that there is a Little Free Library in every community and a book for every reader. They believe all people are empowered when the opportunity to discover a personally relevant book to read is not limited by time, space, or privilege. LRCD agrees! We want all our residents young and old to have access to great books.
We have stocked the libraries with books from the Little Free Library Read in Color list. Read in Color books provide perspectives on racism and social justice; celebrate BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices; and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers.
There will be more Little Free Libraries popping up at LRCD properties soon.
Community Wellness Survey
October 2020 marked the third year we have sent out our Community Wellness Survey to all of our tenants. The survey asks about basic needs, health, neighborhood safety, work and career goals, and level of community involvement. Results of this years survey were of course influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic as our tenants have been greatly and widely impacted. Still, the results give us a look at how our tenants have felt during these unprecedented times. Over 50% of our residents responded. The following issues jumped off the page for us.
2020 Impact Report Available
Please take a few minutes to read about all the things we did last year. We hope you feel a sense of pride as you read through it because your support makes our work possible!
Click here to see our 2021 Impact Report.
Snapshot Event Recording Available
If you were unable to join us for our live Snapshot event, that's OK. You can watch the NH PBS documentary film,
"Communities and Consequences II: Rebalancing New Hampshire's Human Ecology" by clicking here
You can also view the recording of the panel discussion that followed the film below.
Generously Sponsored By
Community Building - Wolfeboro
Young residents at Harriman Hill Apartments in Wolfeboro didn't mind getting a little wet to clean up their community. Thanks, kids! the place looks great!
FAQs About LRCD
How are we funded?
Our operating budget is funded through developer fees that we earn when we construct a new multi-family property, rental income, federal grants, private foundation grants, service fees, and corporate and individual contributions. The pie chart below shows LRCD’s 2020 revenue by source.
Northway Bank purchased $25,000 in New Hampshire business tax credits from Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) to support the final phase of renovations later this year at 193 Court Street, Laconia. LRCD was awarded $200,000 in tax credits and has $9,000 left to sell by May 31st.
“This project contributes to revitalization of downtown Laconia and enhances LRCD’s ability to carry out its mission,” said Christopher Dickinson, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Group of Northway Bank. Chris is also a member of the LRCD Board. “As a community bank, we care deeply about housing and community development, which is what LRCD does. Investing in the Court Street project makes perfect sense based on our priorities.”
“We are so grateful for partners like Northway Bank,” said Carmen Lorentz, Executive Director of LRCD. “We can’t do our work without the support of our local business community.”
In 2019, Lakes Region Community Developers (LRCD) bought the old Walter’s Market building to turn it into their new headquarters and a neighborhood center to host events and trainings for their tenants in Laconia. LRCD planned for two phases of renovations due to funding constraints. Phase 1 included interior renovations, new insulation and siding on the southwest facing exterior wall, and improvements to the front façade of the building. Phase 1 was finished in October 2019.
Phase 2 will include drainage and parking lot improvements to enhance safety and accessibility, insulation in the attic, insulation and new siding on the northeast exterior wall and back of the building, and HVAC upgrades.
The tax credits are administered by New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA). Any business with operations in NH that contributes to a CDFA tax credit project receives a NH state tax credit worth 75% of their contribution. The credit can be used over a period of five years to reduce the business’ state tax liability (business profits, business enterprise or insurance premium taxes). The tax credit program allows NH businesses to use their state tax dollars to support local projects that they care about.
Businesses interested in supporting this project by purchasing tax credits should contact Carmen Lorentz at (603) 524-0747 ext 110.
Lakes Region Community Developers’ vision is for everyone to live in a healthy home and be empowered to succeed. Founded in 1988 as the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, LRCD has developed 365 healthy rental homes in Ashland, Gilford, Laconia, Meredith, Tilton, and Wolfeboro. In 2017, LRCD expanded its mission to include new types of real estate development and new programming that empowers their tenants to effect positive change in their communities. For more information, visit LRcommunitydevelopers.org.
Northway Bank is an independent community commercial bank, with 16 branches throughout New Hampshire. The Bank was established in 1881 and provides financial solutions for customers, communities, municipalities, and businesses.
Virtual Event Tomorrow!
LRCD is hosting it's second annual Housing & Economy Snapshot tomorrow, April 15th from 4:00pm to 5:30pm. The virtual event will include a screening of NH PBS' Communities and Consequences II: Rebalancing New Hampshire's Human Ecology and will be followed by a panel discussion.
4PM - 5PM SCREENING OF THE FILM
Communities & Consequences II
5PM - 5:30PM PANEL DISCUSSION WITH
Jay Childs, Film Director
Bonnie Medico, Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition
Edith DesMarais, Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition
Moderated by Carmen Lorentz, Lakes Region Community Developers
Generously Sponsored By
As a NeighborWorks America Green Designated Organization, we have incorporated green practices across all our lines of business, and we strive to inspire our community to choose green practices for their homes and businesses.
We hope you find a safe way to celebrate Earth Month
& Day this year.
LRCD's Recent Green Efforts
GILFORD VILLAGE KNOLLS III
We completed construction of Gilford Village Knolls III (GVKIII) in 2018. GVK III provides 24 affordable apartments for seniors in the heart of Gilford Village. This was a the third phase of the Gilford Village Knolls campus. GVK III was the first multi-family property in the State of New Hampshire to be Passive House Certified. GVK III was designed to be similar in size and footprint to GVK II. Comparing GVK II and III shows just how energy efficient GVK III truly is. It’s GVK III’s high performance building envelope and mechanical system that result in it using nearly half of the annual energy consumed by GVK II. When you include the electricity generated by GVK III’s solar array, it uses a quarter of the energy costs compared to GVK II.
This is a strong piece of evidence highlighting the great work that made GVK III incredibly energy efficient.
AVERY HILL SOLAR
The installation of a 72.32 kW solar system at our Avery Hill development in Laconia was completed November 2018. Avery Hill is a cluster of duplexes on Grove Street and Lougee Court near the LRGHealthcare campus in Laconia. It was the first property that LRCD redeveloped back in the early 1990s. The Avery Hill solar system eliminates electric bills for 12 apartments at Avery Hill. Data shows that residents are saving an estimated average of 71% on their electrical expenses. Estimated monthly savings per resident range from $26 to $103 ($54 average) compared to historical billing. Estimated annual savings per resident range from $317 to $1,236 ($645 average) compared to historical billing
PINE HILL SOLAR
In 2020, LRCD completed the third solar project in three years at six of our nine Pine Hill duplexes. Pine Hill was one of the first properties that we redeveloped in Laconia back in the 1990s. After collecting almost a year of data after the installation of solar, residents are saving an estimated average of 50% on their electrical expenses. Estimated monthly savings per resident range from $2 to $132 ($35 average) compared to historical billing. Estimated annual savings per resident range from $23 to $1,584 ($423 average) compared to historical billing.
Over the past seven years, LRCD has invested over $1.56 million in greening its older housing stock in Laconia. LRCD has brought dozens of units in Laconia up to healthy housing standards as part of its portfolio strengthening efforts. LRCD continues to seek opportunities to improve energy efficiency, improve indoor air quality, and add outdoor recreation opportunities to its older stock. Currently, 87% of our housing portfolio meets our Healthy Housing standards. By 2022, we plan to increase that to 94%, with renovations of Harvey Heights Apartments in Meredith.
To learn more about our healthy housing efforts visit our website.
FAQs About LRCD
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A NEIGHBORWORKS AMERICA GREEN DESIGNATED ORGANIZATION?
LRCD became a NeighborWorks Green Organization in 2015. To qualify for this designation an organization must demonstrate a comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations -- both in their lines of business and the corporate operations. Today, LRCD continues its work to promote sustainable business practices by identifying and sharing innovative methods, establishing policy, ensuring adherence to green policies, and encouraging staff and residents to incorporate green practices into their offices, homes, and communities. We believe that when sustainable practices are comprehensively applied, people are healthier, housing is more affordable, employees have a better work environment, communities are more resilient, and organizations are more prepared for the future.