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The Issues: Housing

Hannah Pingree Addresses the Issues

Reversing Maine's Troubling Housing Trend

The islands and the coast are becoming less and less affordable for working year-round residents. Over the past several years, traveling my district from Vinalhaven to Bass Harbor to Swan's Island, I have heard from young people who can't return to the island they grew up on, seniors faced with having to move from the home they have lived in for 50 years, and employers unable to grow their businesses for lack of affordable, year-round housing.

In the face of these issues, there is a movement afoot on the coast, on the islands, and in the legislature to reverse this trend. First, there are a variety of new local efforts from Mount Desert Island to Deer Isle to North Haven, in which groups are being formed or revived to focus on the construction and retention of year-round affordable housing.

Part of this effort on the offshore islands is being fueled by the recently formed Genesis Islands Challenge Fund, which has received several significant private and government grants to fuel their work.

After recent discussions at the Maine Islands Coalition meetings, as well as last Spring's Affordable Housing Coalition, a coalition is forming to build a sustainable housing funding initiative and awareness effort in the coming months. The next meeting of the Coastal Sustainable Housing Coalition is going to be October 17, 10:00am - 12:00pm at the Island Institute in Rockland. I will keep you updated as these efforts proceed and the coalition makes proposals to be considered during the next legislative session.

Housing Resources

Genesis Community Loan Fund
A development project that gathers resources to create housing and other economic and social opportunities for underserved people and communities.

Island Housing Trust
Helping to create viable, year-round island communities by facilitating reasonably priced rental and purchasing opportunities for the work force on Mount Desert Island, Maine.

Island Affordable Housing Fund: Martha's Vinyard
Read about the work of Martha's Vineyard, MA, an island that confronted this issue years ago in the face of increasing development pressures.

Community Land Trusts
U-Maine's Maine Policy Review article on permanently affordable, resident-controlled housing.

Maine State Housing Authority
Visit the Maine State Housing Authority website for more information about housing in your community.

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Hannah Pingree OnlineHannah Pingree is the House Representative of Maine District 36 covering Brooklin, Deer Isle, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, part of Mount Desert, North Haven, Stonington, Swans Island and Tremont and Vinalhaven. Paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect Hannah Pingree, Foy W. Brown, Treasurer. Logo by Amy Fischer Designs of Camden, Maine.