News Detail

Affordable Housing Projects Stimulate Maine's Economy

Release Date: May 07, 2013

For Immediate Release

October 14, 2011

Contact:     Deborah Turcotte
Public Information Manager
MaineHousing
(207) 626-4617

AUGUSTA, Maine – Thirteen affordable housing development projects currently under construction in Maine are creating approximately 320 full-time equivalent jobs and infusing approximately $64 million into the state’s economy.

Once completed, these projects will provide 326 affordable rental units for low income seniors and families.

“At a time when much of the national housing news is negative, it’s important to remember that solid private-public partnerships are working to create affordable housing for families and seniors in Maine,” said MaineHousing Executive Director Dale McCormick. “From these relationships come hundreds of jobs in the housing and construction sectors that, in turn, create retail and other jobs that subsequently impact the economy in many communities.”

Matt Cook, co-owner of AlliedCook Construction in Scarborough, said that in tough economic times like those being experienced today, affordable housing construction keeps people employed.

“Privately funded construction has slowed because of the economy,” said Cook, whose company is renovating Emery School in Biddeford into 24 housing units for the elderly. “Affordable housing construction provides a source of income for builders allowing them to maintain their workforces.”

AlliedCook recently completed Gilman Place in Waterville, and approximately 290 people worked on that project, Cook said. “That doesn’t include the welders, fabricators or truck drivers that brought materials to the site and the people at their shops that did work on materials as well. These projects really spill over into a community. They affect more people than just the workers on the job sites.”

Three of the 13 properties are near completion or recently opened: Maine Hall in Bangor, Knox Hotel Apartments in Thomaston and Hillside Apartments in Vinalhaven.

The 13 housing developments are:

  • 36 Emery Street, Biddeford, 4 units, family housing, 10 jobs, $795,700;
  • Sullivan School, Berwick, 34 units, family housing, 32 jobs, $6.1 million;
  • Emery School, Biddeford, 24 units, elderly housing, 18 jobs, $6.825 million;
  • 41 Second Street, Bangor, 4 units, family housing, 10 jobs, $730,139;
  • Maine Hall, Bangor, 28 units, elderly housing, 28 jobs, $6 million;
  • Oak Street Lofts, Portland, 37 units, family housing, 35 jobs, $6.4 million;
  • Hillside Apartments, Vinalhaven, 6 units, family housing, 12 jobs, $762,093;
  • Knox Hotel Apartments, Thomaston, 29 units, elderly housing, 35 jobs, $4.975 million;
  • Oakleaf Apartments, Freeport, 25 units, elderly housing, 26 jobs, $6.4 million;
  • Webster School, Auburn, 28 units, family housing, 30 jobs, $7.5 million;
  • Ash Street, Lewiston, 32 units, elderly housing, 35 jobs, $8.76 million;
  • Cascade Brook, Saco, 30 units, family housing, 26 jobs, $5.5 million;
  • York Manor, York, 45 units, elderly housing, 25 jobs, $3.3 million.

Most of the new apartments will be restricted to households earning 50 percent or less of the area’s median income. For example, 50 percent of the median income for a family of four in Lewiston/Auburn is $28,000.

MaineHousing oversees the construction and financing of these affordable housing projects, and offers several programs to encourage private development of affordable housing units throughout the state.

The majority of the projects are being funded using the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is a way to raise private capital to finance affordable housing. The tax credits attract private investors, such as banks, insurance companies and other large corporations, to participate in the ownership of housing developments. As part of the ownership, they receive the credits and use them to offset federal taxes. Capital raised from the tax credit is used as an equity contribution to reduce the cost of the housing and make apartments affordable to lower income senior and families.

The Bangor and Thomaston projects also received stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“The tax credits provide incentive for developers to invest private capital in projects with a public purpose,” McCormick said. “The beauty of the program is this – it creates jobs and it builds homes. That’s what the economy needs right now.”

McCormick noted that all of the programs administered by MaineHousing contribute approximately $1.2 million a day to Maine’s economy.

 

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The mission of MaineHousing is to assist Maine people to obtain and maintain decent, safe, affordable housing and services suitable to their unique housing needs. Please visit our Web site at www.mainehousing.org.

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