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August 19, 2019

Cumberland County awarded $4.5M in affordable housing grants

Long Island dock Courtesy / Cumberland County Community Development Office In 2017, CDBG was among funders to reconstruct Long Island ‘s Mariners Wharf for safer loading of emergency medical patients, more secure berthing of the rescue boat and additional public access. The town applied for a 2019 CDBG to extend the wave break system.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded $4.6 million to support affordable housing throughout Cumberland County.

The funding came from HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, Emergency Solutions Grants program and HOME program, according to a news release.

“This important funding supports Maine’s efforts to help connect Cumberland County’s most vulnerable citizens with additional resources and promote their health, independence, and overall well-being,” U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairwoman of the Housing Appropriations Subcommittee, said in the release.  “I will continue to work to ensure that the needs of low-income individuals and families in our communities are met.”

The funds will be allocated as follows:

 • Cumberland County will receive $1,523,331 through the Community Development Block Grant program;

• Portland will receive $1,893,566 through the Community Development Block Grant program, $160,873 through the Emergency Solutions Grants program, and $1,020,693 through the HOME program.

The Community Development Block Grant program provides annual grants to state and local government to develop urban communities by providing housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. 

Emergency Solutions Grants provide annual funding to state, local and private entities to assist people in quickly regaining stability in permanent housing after experiencing a housing crisis or homelessness.  In addition to rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention, the Emergency Solutions Grants program also provides limited funding for street outreach as well as for improving the quality and number of emergency homeless shelters.

Courtesy / Cumberland County Community Development Office
The city of Westbrook applied past Cumberland County CDBG funds to a $6 million public improvement project that transformed its downtown streetscape. Improvements included a new pedestrian bridge, sidewalks and street trees.

The HOME program helps to expand the supply of safe, affordable housing to low- and very low-income families by providing grants to state and local governments to fund housing programs that meet local needs and priorities.

First in New England

Beginning in 2007, Cumberland County became a direct recipient of Community Development Block Grant program funds, the first county in New England to participate directly in the program, according to Cumberland County's Community Development Office.

Currently, 25 cities and towns in Cumberland County participate in the program. The city of South Portland and town of Bridgton receive a set-aside of program funds and maintain operational and administrative independence for their own community development program activities. The remaining 23 cities and towns compete for grants for local projects and collaborate on region-wide activities.

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