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October 20, 2017

Mount Desert Island identifies affordable housing as top priority

Elected officials around Mount Desert Island have identified the need for more affordable, year-round housing as a top issue.

The Mount Desert Islander reported that an Island Housing Trust survey found that 70% of people working on MDI live off-island; and that many of those people could afford houses in the $250,000 range, but the average cost of a house in Bar Harbor is $400,000.

"The list of folks who need our assistance is ever growing," Island Housing Trust Executive Director Alison Beane said.

Island Housing Trust announced earlier this year that it was considering an offer from Maine Coast Heritage Trust to buy land near the head of the island for 12 to 15 single-family homes.

Kathy Miller, executive director of the nonprofit Mount Desert 365, said the organization is working to provide more workforce housing in Northeast Harbor. She said high prices and the increasing number of seasonal homes is keeping people from living there, and the shrinking year-round population is impacting local businesses.

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