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March 2, 2023

Affordable housing in southern Maine to see $1.2M influx from feds

FILE / Munjoy South affordable-housing complex in Portland. Recently released federal funds are targeted for developing and preserving affordable housing.

Affordable housing in southern Maine will get a $1.2 million boost from federal funds appropriated to Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises Inc.; Avesta Housing, based in Portland; and Kennebec Valley Community Action, which serves the Waterville area.

Coastal Enterprises will receive $554,000, with Avesta receiving $430,000 and Kennebec Valley $259,000.

The money will be funneled to the nonprofit NeighborWorks America through the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, said in a March 2 announcement. 

The funds are earmarked for developing and preserving affordable housing and revitalizing and sustaining neighborhoods.

“The affordable housing crisis in Maine is putting a tremendous strain on our communities," said Pingree, who is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. “It’s more important than ever organizations like these get the federal support they need."

“Because these funds are flexible," said CEO Betsy Biemann of CEI, "we are able to leverage them to support pragmatic, impactful projects that help build a more equitable, vibrant and climate-resilient future for Maine people and communities."

Suzanne Walsh, CEO of Kennebec Valley Community Action, said the organization has had a relationship with NeighborWorks for 24 years and uses funds not only for affordable housing, but also to help clients with financial coaching and homeownership education. 

"NeighborWorks America funding is essential to the work we do to foster equity and enhance economic development,” Walsh said.

Rebecca Hatfield, president and CEO of Avesta Housing, said the NeighborWorks America grant will help the nonprofit continue 50 years of work building and maintaining affordable housing "for all people in need in Maine."

NeighborWorks America is a public nonprofit established by Congress in 1978 as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. It supports a network of nearly 250 local and regional nonprofit partners, including private-sector business leaders and local government, to also provide training, technical assistance and technology tools.

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