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June 16, 2022

MaineHousing awards $150K grant to help Bath area residents live more safely at home

The state's housing authority has awarded Bath Housing Development Corp. a $150,000 grant to support a program that helps seniors and people with disabilities remain independent in their homes longer.

The funding will allow Bath Housing to help about 60 homeowners this year.

In 2015, Bath Housing Executive Director Debora Keller created the Comfortably Home program when she saw the maintenance challenges facing older people and those with disabilities in order to continue living at home.

“We created Comfortably Home with the belief that safe, stable housing is critical to health and wellness,” Keller said. “We know people want to stay in their own homes as they age, but often their homes present potentially serious health and safety issues.”

Comfortably Home installs handrails and shower seats, repairs stairs and windows, provides weatherizing, upgrades lighting and makes other safety improvements.

MaineHousing’s Community Aging in Place Grant began in 2017 to support the expansion of Bath Housing’s Comfortably Home. The inaugural funding year provided support for five Public Housing Authorities and has now expanded to ten PHAs.

Data from the program show there's been a decline of 60% in self-reported injurious falls and hospitalizations each year.

“Over the past seven years, we’ve worked with more than 270 homeowners and have seen consistently positive results every single time,” Keller said. “Modifications that may seem minor can have a dramatic positive impact on a person’s ability to thrive in their home.”

Not only do many people prefer to stay in their own homes as they age, but these success stories also reduce pressure on waiting lists for housing assistance, allowing housing authorities’ limited resources to serve those with the greatest need, Bath Housing said.

Comfortably Home services extend to areas within a 15-mile radius of Bath. They include Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Durham, Freeport, Georgetown, Lisbon, Litchfield, Phippsburg, Richmond, Sebasco, Topsham and Woolwich.

MaineHousing is an independent state agency created in 1969 to address unsafe, unsuitable, overcrowded, and unaffordable housing. A $2.1 billion financial institution with a staff of over 180 people, MaineHousing assists more than 90,000 Maine households a year and invests more than $300 million in the Maine economy annually.

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