Forum: Affordable Housing Bill Meets Critical Need

Originally published on Portland Press Herald.

LD 1645, “An Act To Create Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing and Preserve Affordable Rural Housing,” is a bipartisan bill carried over from last year and is being considered by the Legislature. It would fund a $20 million annual affordable housing tax credit, which, over its four-year span, could help pay for 250 new units a year, or about 1,000 homes, approximately doubling the new low-income homes being built in Maine. It is a statewide initiative as 30% of the credit allocated to new housing units is targeted for seniors and 20% is targeted for rural areas.

The need for this program is clear as there are over 32,000 low-income Maine families on the waiting list for affordable housing. Last year over 4,000 households applied for an affordable home at the state’s largest nonprofit housing agency, but only 373 received help. More than 35,000 Maine renter households are severely rent-burdened, paying over half their income for rent and utilities.