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August 5, 2020

Maine, Vermont nonprofits merge to drive housing development in northern New England

entrance to one-story brick building Photo / Maureen Milliken Renovation of the former Hodgkins School in Augusta into housing is one of many Maine projects Northern New England Housing Investment Fund has been involved in. The nonprofit has merged with Housing Vermont to form Evernorth.

Two affordable housing nonprofits, Northern New England Housing Investment Fund and Housing Vermont, have joined to form Evernorth, which they say will drive development of housing and community investment across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Co-president Bill Shanahan said that in discussions over the past two years it became evident that the two organizations would have a greater impact by combining resources and expertise.

"In addition, the two organizations share a deep culture of service and exceptional quality," Shanahan said. "This gave us confidence that, together, we will be even more successful across northern New England.”  

Evernorth has a full-time staff of 43, with offices in Portland and Burlington, Vt.

Over the past three decades the two organizations have been behind construction of more than 13,000 homes for low and moderate-income residents of the three states, and have raised more than $1 billion in equity capital for affordable housing throughout the region.

Investments in sustainable commercial development and job creation through subsidiary Evernorth Rural Ventures has generated more than $58 million in new capital, leveraging an additional investment of $228 million resulting in more than 2,300 retained jobs, 597 permanent jobs and 1,466 construction jobs, the nonprofit said.

“Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont face so many similarities, with a shortage of affordable housing and the need for community investment,” said Nancy Owens, co-president. “We want all of our partners and stakeholders to know that this exciting merger will allow us to garner more resources, increase and enhance our services, while at the same time remaining closely attuned to local needs.”

The new regional organization, announced July 30, will build on the track record of the two nonprofits by bringing together experienced professional staff to raise capital, invest in and build affordable housing, and improve our environment through energy efficiency, the release said. The nonprofit organization is governed by a volunteer board of directors.

Evernorth will continue to offer all the services provided by its predecessor organizations, the release said, including raising capital for affordable housing, working with developers to finance new projects and developing and owning real estate in Vermont, investing in growing businesses with New Market Tax Credits and supporting owners and investors with asset management services, and advocating for low income people and communities.

In Maine, Northern New England Housing Investment Fund has been involved in dozens of affordable housing projects across the state, some of several recent ones include the Mildred Fox School apartments in South Paris, the renovation of Hodgkins School into senior housing in Augusta, the new-construction 62 Spring St. multi-use building in Auburn, the Motherhouse project in Portland, Larrabee Commons in Westbrook.

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