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MAHC News:

MAHC Cost of Construction Discussion Summary

More than fifty MAHC members had an engaging discussion on the status of rising construction costs, organizational approaches, and brainstormed systemwide approaches that included:

  • Identify opportunities for sharing the increased risk of increased costs across multiple parties (developer, contractor, syndicator, lenders, municipality, MSHA)? Might reduce some of the padding in bids to address rising costs.
  • Support ARPA funding use for LIHTEC. See below for the Sen. Collins’ co-sponsored LIFELINE bill that addresses this and an article from Pew article on this: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2022/04/25/rising-construction-costs-stall-affordable-housing-projects?utm_campaign=2022-05-02+SW&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew&subscriberkey=003U000001GBmneIAD
  • Bond for more money to get shovel ready projects built and maintain the pipeline. We can’t pause our State’s economic growth by not addressing this issue. Can consider preventing the increasing cost cycle later.
  • Talk with Finance Authority of ME on gap financing or other solutions.
  • Engage with DOL, AGC and others on workforce development
  • Identify projects that are ready, that are in particular need, to find unique solutions
  • MSHA follow up on:
  • Clarity of structure for limited notices to proceed ($1 million – $3 million). How should these work and what’s the timing?
  • Bulk purchase – is there a broad entity that can do this? (wood, steel)
  • Review cost caps (TDC has increased)
  • More opportunities to bring lenders together to discuss this issue

For a full summary, click here.

Governor Mills Signs LD2003 and LD201

(April 2022) At the renovated Hodgkins School Apartments in Augusta, Governor Janet Mills signed two bills to address Maine’s housing shortage Wednesday. The bills, LD 2003 “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions” and LD 201 “An Act To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Promote Weatherization in the Buildings Sector by Extending the Sunset Date for the Historic Property Rehabilitation Tax Credit”  will expand the availability of affordable housing in Maine. The bills were signed alongside older Maine people who are residents of the renovated Apartments, and Legislative and community leaders including Speaker Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford) and Senator Matt Pouliot (R-Kennebec). Read more or find media coverage: NewsCenter

MAHC Op Ed: Everyone Can Play A Role In Solving the Affordable Housing Crisis

“Residents can support development and zone changes in their community for affordable housing development. Businesses can invest in housing for their workforce. Philanthropists can consider opportunities for retrofitting homes for seniors, supporting volunteer driven home development, and other unique opportunities.” MAHC’s Director, Laura Mitchell went on to say, “Historically, limited resources and investment have left Maine only building several hundred units of affordable housing a year. Throughout Maine, it’s urgent we set higher goals and prepare to be producing 1,000 affordable units a year.” Read the full article here.

Maine needs 20,000 affordable housing units to meet need, report says

(April 2022) Maine needs 20,000 affordable housing units to meet the needs of its lowest-income residents, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition. There are just 51 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 of the lowest-income renter households in Maine. Nearly 60% of the poorest renter households in Maine are spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities, the report said. Click here to read the full article.

Legislators address Maine’s housing shortage, but advocates say so much more needs to be done

(April 2022) For seven years, off and on, Cheryl Harkins lived out of her car and in a homeless encampment in Portland. Harkins, who is 100% disabled related to degenerative conditions, said her legs would swell from sleeping in her Subaru. One time she woke up with 15 ticks on her. Another time her face “swelled shut” from mosquito bites. Harkins, who now serves on the statewide homeless council, said she still gets emotional when recalling that time in her life. People experiencing homelessness are called names, judged and excluded from family gatherings, she said. “I firmly believe that homelessness creates mental health issues,” Harkins said. Click here to read the full article.

A strong Maine economy depends on the availability of affordable housing

Ask any Maine employer what is holding back their ability to hire and this is what is on their mind: childcare, broadband, workforce training and housing. All of these deserve the attention of our policymakers, but housing is perhaps the one where the most potential for progress lives, but where regulation has historically stood in the way of making that progress possible. Simply put, housing supply is not just a social issue in Maine, it’s an economic issue. Click here to read the full article.

REPORTS

MAINE HAS A SHORTAGE OF 20,000 RENTAL HOMES FOR EXTREMELY LOW INCOME RENTERS

(April 2022) The National Low Income Housing Coalition released a new report, “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes”, that highlights the housing needs for low income populations across the nation. According to the report, in Maine, there is a shortage of 19,264 rental homes affordable and available to extremely low income households (ELI), whose incomes are at or below the poverty guideline or 30% of their area median income (AMI). Many of these households are severely cost burdened, spending more than half of their income on housing. Severely cost burdened poor households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice other necessities like healthy food and healthcare to pay the rent, and to experience unstable housing situations like evictions. See the Maine profile here: State Housing Profile ME 2022 NLIHC.

The full Gap report is available here.

TENANT INTERVIEW PROJECT FINAL REPORT NOW AVAILABLE!

(September 2021) To better understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income, working renters, the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition conducted interviews with 80 Maine households every month from June of 2020 through July of 2021. The project was undertaken on the premise that without direct feedback from tenants, it would be virtually impossible to understand and adequately respond to their experience of the effects of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. The final report is now available:

Tenant Interview Project – Final Report

For more information, please contact the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition at info@mainehousingcoalition.org

Gov. LePage wins bond fight, but Maine seniors will suffer

Gov. LePage wins bond fight, but Maine seniors will suffer

June 15, 2017 Portland Press Herald Editorial Board Congratulations go out to Gov. Le-Page for his victory, nearly two years in the making, over the forces that would provide safe, affordable housing for Maine senior citizens.   And what a victory it was. Despite...

Senate overrides LePage veto on senior housing bonds

Senate overrides LePage veto on senior housing bonds

June 7, 2017 By Scott Thistle Press Herald Sen. Roger Katz's bill forces the governor to sign off on voter-approved money to build affordable elderly housing. AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate voted 26-9 Wednesday to override a Gov. Paul LePage veto of a bill that would...

Housing Projects Hit Funding Snag

Housing Projects Hit Funding Snag

January 29, 2017 By Kathryn Skelton Lewiston Sun Journal President's corporate tax-cut talk leaves developers short of funds   LEWISTON — Nathan Szanton has big, $12-million plans to fill a 175-foot, ugly, empty stretch of Lisbon Street with 63 sharp, modern...

MaineHousing awards tax credits to six projects

MaineHousing awards tax credits to six projects

December 23, 2016 Mainebiz MaineHousing will be distributing more than $3 million in 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits to six development projects that received the highest number of points under the Qualified Allocation Plan scoring system.   The projects will...

Housing tops House Speaker Eves’ ideas to help elders

Housing tops House Speaker Eves’ ideas to help elders

November 30, 2016 By Scott Thistle Portland Press Herald AUGUSTA — Outgoing Speaker of the House Mark Eves on Wednesday called on Gov. Paul LePage to release voter-approved bond money earmarked for senior housing and offered other ideas for improving the fortunes of...

Our View: Senior housing needs more than maintenance

Our View: Senior housing needs more than maintenance

November 28, 2016 By The Editorial Board Portland Press Herald A group of retired volunteers at Habitat for Humanity have for two years been offering their services – for free – to midcoast seniors, calling themselves the Harpswell Aging at Home team. In all,...