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Updated: July 31, 2019

MaineHousing affordable housing conference looks to next 50 years

Photo / Maureen Milliken MaineHousing, 353 Water St., Augusta, is celebrating its 50th year. Its annual affordable housing conference is Oct. 1 at the Augusta Civic Center.

The affordable housing conference hosted by MaineHousing this year will feature a journalist who traveled the country documenting "itinerant homeowners," as well as the crew of the "Maine Cabin Masters" reality show.

The conference chose speakers who could focus on unique and innovative ways people are choosing to live and thinking about the future of affordable housing, said spokesperson Cara Courchesne.

MaineHousing is an independent state agency that uses public and private financing to provide low-cost housing solutions and affordable paths to home ownership.

Attendees at the Oct. 1 conference will include multifamily housing developers, property managers, lenders, real estate professionals, municipal leaders, housing advocates and others. MaineHousing is also applying to allow those attending to earn real estate credits with the Maine Real Estate Commission. 

The agenda for the day-long conference, which will take place at the Augusta Civic Center, includes workshops that focus on achieving economic mobility, community challenges, the aging population, paths to home ownership and innovations in development.

Guest speakers include author Jessica Bruder and the stars of the reality television show "Maine Cabin Masters."

"Jessica Bruder’s book relates to that theme because it’s an interesting story about aging in America for people who can’t afford to fully retire or don’t want to — and it impacts the way we’re thinking about housing for older adults," Courchesne told Mainebiz.

She said the Cabin Masters were chosen because even though they don't work on affordable housing issues, "they do amazing things in tiny budgets."

"And, they involve community artisans in their building process and so it relates to how housing is a community effort," she said..

Bruder, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based journalist, is author of "Nomadland," published in 2017 and based on her experiences living in a camper van for three years. In that time, she covered more than 15,000 miles across the country as she documented Americans who gave up traditional housing and hit the road, traveling from job to job. 

The Maine Cabin Masters, fronted by Chase Morrill of Wayne-based Kennebec Property Services, renovate Maine vacation properties that are older and in need of repair.

The conference will also have up to 50 vendor booths.

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