MaineHousing announced today that they are awarding funds to two Maine municipalities who are leading with innovation to address local affordable housing needs.
The City of Lewiston will receive $75,000 to support their application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s $30+ million Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The City of Sanford will receive $150,000 to rehabilitate tax foreclosed single family and two-family buildings.
“One of MaineHousing’s roles in expanding affordable housing development is to support local initiatives that have the potential to make a big impact in Maine communities,” said Daniel Brennan, director of MaineHousing. “We are honored to fund this work and believe that both of these initiatives will help transform the lives of people in their communities.”
The City of Lewiston, in partnership with Lewiston Housing Authority, will use Community Solutions funding to support the final phase of their application to HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The initiative provides millions in funding to transform neighborhoods struggling to address the interconnected challenges of distressed housing, inadequate schools, poor health, high crime, and lack of capital.
If chosen by HUD, Lewiston has the chance to significantly address affordable housing needs, transform its downtown, and serve as a model for other smaller communities across the country that have historically been unable to access this funding.
“The Community Solutions grant provides critical funding for design and planning services at a key time as Choice Neighborhood partners work to put the finishing touches on a $30 million grant application. If awarded, this grant will help transform the most challenged area of the city into the brighter future envisioned by its residents,” said Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s Economic and Community Development Director.
Funding awarded to the City of Sanford and Sanford Housing Authority will support the rehabilitation of single family and two-family buildings acquired by tax foreclosure. The properties will be sold at, or near, market-rate to income eligible buyers. The sale pays back the revolving fund to support additional rehabilitations. This program will bring depreciated housing back into productive use, while creating and preserving affordable housing which would otherwise remain abandoned, be demolished, or be disposed and resold at maximum profit.
Community Solutions grant funding will be matched with $110,000 from an existing pool of funds managed by the Sanford Housing Authority for rehabilitation and redevelopment of housing.
“The City of Sanford is excited to partner with the Sanford Housing Authority and MaineHousing in fulfillment of its comprehensive housing goals. These funds represent one piece of Sanford’s housing and redevelopment strategy,” said Ian Houseal, Sanford’s Director of Community Development.
MaineHousing’s Community Solutions Grant provides matching grants to municipalities that are taking a lead role in creating or preserving affordable housing in their communities. The grants are flexible and locally driven. Community Solutions Grant funds have also been awarded to the City of Biddeford and the City of Portland this year to help address their affordable housing needs.