The Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition will be holding a fundraiser on Saturday, October 8, 2011. The ducks will be sold and raced down the Smith River to be retrieved by board members on the other side of the bridge across from the Wright Museum before heading down Wolfeboro Falls. Tickets are $5.00 each and can be purchased from any board member or at Black’s or Back Bay Used Books. Prizes are in the form of local gift certificates, 1st $125.00, 2nd $75.00, 3rd and 4th $50.00.

A Homeownership/Renter Preparedness Workshop was held on Saturday 9/17/11. The Wolfeboro Public Library was the location of this workshop that included an overall view of your credit score and how it is impacted by your activities. Discussions involved developing a budget and planning strategies to help households manage credit. Deb Drake from the Laconia Area Community Land Trust spoke on this topic and has extensive experience providing workshops and seminars,  IDA accounts, foreclosure prevention and individual counseling.   

The Homeownership subject was handled by Diane Hooper, who is a Senior Loan Officer with Citizens Bank. She covered all aspects of preparing for homeownership. Materials were handed out to attendees. Renter preparedness was explained by Donna Young from the Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition.

We sponsored a forum at Club 59 at 7:30 a.m. to have an open discussion between town planning board members and builders surrounding the issues regarding planning and constructing modest housing. This forum was well attended with a good mix of contractors and planning board members. It was facilitated by Ben Frost and George Reagan from NH Housing Finance Authority. This is part of the coalition’s community education that is done 2-3 times per year.

On Friday, May 6, 2011 at All Saints Church Hall, the Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition celebrated the groundbreaking of the Harriman Hill workforce housing complex. 80 attendees celebrated along with board members from the coalition hearing how this process started and bringing all up to date on the future construction schedule. A short program involved a welcome from Jane Milligan, history of this project and introductions from Edie DesMarais and special recognition was given to our CDIP sponsors by John Simms with a presentation of a plaque to each organization. Lunch was then enjoyed by all.

We are inviting all of our partners to celebrate the groundbreaking of our workforce housing complex. The program will entail a welcome from Jane Milligan, the evolution of Harriman Hill and introductions will be handled by Edie DesMarais and recognition of CDIP will be presented by John Simms. Members of the community, our funding partners, our development team and CDIP sponsors are all invited to come and celebrate and share lunch with us. The event will be held on Friday,
May 6, 2011 at the hall in All Saints Church, 258 South Main Street, Wolfeboro.

The ELRHC has added a new FAQs page to its website in order to address questions/concerns surrounding its current project.  Simply click on the ‘FAQs’ tab at the top of our website to access this new web page.

The Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition is pleased to have the assistance of Rebecca Perkins in their work with the Planning Boards in the Eastern Lakes Region. Rebecca is from Stratham, NH and a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Dartmouth College. She has served as a Small Business Development Volunteer in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa, an intern to David Frydman as the Legal Counsel to the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and has worked with Representative Bernard Benn to pass a bill encouraging state employees to join the Peace Corps. She is now a second year law student at Cornell Law School, where she is Vice Chancellor of International Competitions on the Moot Court Executive Board and Community Service Director for the Public Interest Law Union. She will join Allen & Overy LLP of New York City, NY as a Summer Associate in May 2009.

For her clinical course at Cornell Law School, Rebecca Perkins could choose any project involving Land Use- anywhere in the world. But she wanted to work in her home state, New Hampshire, where land use has always been an important issue. “From my political work and just from growing up in the state, I thought I would be able to make a contribution,” she says.

This year, New Hampshire towns are struggling with implementing RSA 674:58-61, the new state statute addressing affordable housing in New Hampshire. The law places the requirement on them to provide either a “reasonable opportunity” for the development of affordable housing, or their “fair share” of that housing. The law is due to go into force on July 1, which gave towns only one town planning cycle to get into compliance. There is currently a law passing through the legislature that may add six more months. After the implementation date, developers may be entitled to a “builder’s remedy,” which allows courts to override a town’s rejection of a developer’s application.

Towns wish to retain as much control as possible over the growth and development of their communities, by ensuring that any changes are consistent with their values. The housing law is very deferential to this need while recognizing that in the long term, New Hampshire must allow the market to provide for a diversity of housing to meet the requirements of the economy. As it is now, many zoning laws make it impractical for some town employees to live in the town where they work, disrupting the very community life New Hampshire has always valued. The business community has recognized this need, and the Business and Industry Association prioritized affordable housing in its 2008 Public Policy Priorities.

The new law faces many challenges to implementation, and Rebecca is trying to do her part to help. Her report will look at the fifteen towns of the Eastern Lakes Region and what individual difficulties they face. She will look at existing and new town ordinances to see if, given the particular elements of each town, they are likely in compliance with the new law. If not, what solutions might be practical in their unique situations. Using both solutions from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ own Innovative Land Use Planning Techniques Handbook and the experience of other states, Rebecca hopes she can at least lift a portion of the burden off of town planners. Since these are largely volunteer boards, it can be daunting to tackle any new land use problems, which are almost always complicated and socially sensitive.

Rebecca’s report will provide the communities with findings and recommendations that will assist their work in the coming year. It will also guide the ELRHC with identified needs of the communities so they can provide currently relevant topics for future workshops and forums.

The Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition, Inc. (ELRHC) is pleased to announce that Donna Beaudoin has joined the organization as its administrative assistant. Beaudoin will coordinate the workforce housing/conservation community education activities and will support the work of the board of directors

Although Beaudoin was born and raised in Massachusetts, she spent her summers since childhood at her family’s home in East Wakefield. Her love of New Hampshire was shared with her husband Normand. When they decided to relocate, they naturally looked toward this area. They built their home on her family’s original property and permanently moved to East Wakefield in September 2004 along with their dog Sarge.

Beaudoin has an extensive background in banking having started in the field in 1980 and continuing through her ‘retirement’ in 2005. At that time she wanted to go in a different direction professionally. She worked in a real estate office until this past September. Her background in banking and real estate makes her a positive addition to the future success of the Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition.

The Eastern Lakes Region Housing Coalition is a non profit corporation serving the eastern lakes region communities. Its goal is to encourage a diversity of housing to support the economic and social vitality of our region. It provides general community education, information and support for planning and zoning boards as they work to remove barriers to workforce housing, and brings resources to the region. The coalition is also partnering with the Hartland Community Developers and Consultants to build a model workforce housing neighborhood in Wolfeboro. Beaudoin’s expertise and support will enhance this work in the Eastern Lakes communities.

The ELHRC has redesigned its website in order to provide the public with accurate and timely information about the organization, its projects, and to support their ongoing community education and outreach with respect to workforce housing in the communities they serve.