Workforce Housing in Hanover, NH

PRS Briefs
Thursday, December 2, 2021

This policy brief explores the issue of and potential solutions for workforce housing in Hanover, New Hampshire. The Upper Valley region is predicted to be in need of an additional 10,000 housing units by 2030, simply to meet ongoing demand for affordable housing.  The lack of affordable workforce housing drives Hanover employees to seek accommodation in surrounding towns, with some commuting as far as an hour each way. This problem has resulted in a labor shortage for local employers; currently, the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) struggles to find workers to fill approximately ten percent of its workforce positions.  Furthermore, many Dartmouth College employees and workers at local Hanover businesses must also commute long distances due to unaffordable market prices.

The Town of Hanover seeks to alleviate this housing crisis and is currently developing a revised Master Plan. Potentially applicable solutions successfully implemented in Santa Cruz, California, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, and Woodstock Vermont are increasing comprised of mixed-use housing and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). In addition, regulatory and legislative reforms such as inclusionary zoning mandates for new developments and a less restrictive definition of family have relieved some of the barriers to the development of sustainable workforce housing projects. Additional solutions include a moratorium on short-term rentals, developing a Community Trust, and employer-sponsored housing.