This morning’s meeting of the Portsmouth Chamber’s Government Affairs committee brought about 40 people through a snowstorm for a 90-minute conversation on the economics of housing in Portsmouth. A recap of the event was written in the Portsmouth Herald later on Friday.

While it was never intended to solve a 20-plus-year challenge in 90 minutes, there were at least three big questions which will form the basis of subsequent work on the topic of housing:

  1. What is our current housing stock in specific terms?
  2. How does it compare to where the need is, and where the need will be in the future?
  3. Where is that “delta” the most acute?

Generally speaking, in the whirlwind of activity and discussion about “affordable housing,” “workforce housing,” “public housing,” “microhousing,” “density,” it is increasingly clear that much of the community is not starting from the same set of assumptions and priorities.  What the restaurant community might define as the crux of Portsmouth’s housing challenge may be very different from how Pease-based technology businesses seeking labor would define our housing challenges.

We’ll be convening groups in the coming weeks to help quantify  our housing stock, and use qualitative  methods (such as focus groups) to understand individual sectors within our communities to define the deficiencies.  Then the opportunity to match problems and solutions may become clearer.

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