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May 6, 2024

Local public housing efforts get a $11.6M boost for development and modernization

A row of small public housing townhouses with very small yards in front File Photo / Maureen Milliken The Portland Housing Authority is one of 17 in the state that will share more than $11.6 million in Housing and Urban Development money to modernize and renovate public housing.

Maine's housing shortage has hit a fevered pitch and affordability remains a top challenge for Mainers seeking a home, according to a recent report by MaineHousing.

But there's some reason for optimism, including broader efforts by housing agencies, mission-driven investment funds and municipalities that have made affordable housing a priority.

The latest effort to tackle the problem: federal funding of $11.6 million for 17 public housing authorities throughout Maine.

The money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund Formula Grant program, which supports the development, financing and modernization of public housing projects and as well as management improvements.

“The dedicated staff at housing authorities throughout Maine work hard to link seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income individuals and families with access to an array of programs that help them improve their living conditions and achieve economic independence,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“With this funding, housing authorities across the state will continue their work within their local communities to ensure that the needs of their residents are met.”

The Portland Housing Authority was awarded $3,335,695, which will build on other city initiatives to support housing development.

The Portland Housing Authority provides long-term, affordable fair rental housing and assistance to more than 3,000 low-income families, seniors and disabled individuals through its Public Housing and Housing Choice voucher programs. During the pandemic, the city advanced innovative community partnerships and housing development projects with community organizations such as Youth & Family Outreach and Community Housing of Maine.

Earlier this year, the city created a publicly available housing dashboard to track and visualize efforts to create more housing in Portland. 

The Bangor Housing Authority will receive $2,014,299 and the Lewiston Housing Authority was awarded $1,274,622.

Several years ago, Lewiston received a $30 million grant from HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Implementation program for the city’s Tree Streets plan to replace and renovate 1,500 housing units in one of the state's poorest neighborhoods.

Last year, the Lewiston Housing Authority said it would use almost $1.8 million in federal funds to revitalize local housing projects, using a block-by-block strategy that aims to replace and renovate 1,500 housing units in the Tree Streets and downtown neighborhoods

Other recipients

  • South Portland Housing Authority: $746,295
  • Waterville Housing Authority: $708,966
  • Presque Isle Housing Authority: $663,710
  • Auburn Housing Authority: $468,412
  • Brewer Housing Authority: $441,799
  • Sanford Housing Authority: $402,841
  • Bar Harbor Housing Authority: $370,928
  • Van Buren Housing Authority: $320,724
  • Fort Fairfield Housing Authority: $257,184
  • Old Town Housing Authority: $246,869
  • Ellsworth Housing Authority: $151,713
  • Southwest Harbor Housing Authority: $134,925
  • Tremont Housing Authority: $58,832
  • Mount Desert Housing Authority: $50,430

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