October 16, 2023
Noel Bonam, AARP Maine State Director, facilitated two our plenary panel and encouraged communities to review the organization YIMBY Action - Yes In My Backyard “a network of people who advocate for abundant, affordable, housing and inclusive, sustainable communities across the United States.” Review their list of top resources.
Breakouts provide a deep dive into:
Tech-Enabled accessible housing
Tiny home development
Funding for home repair and development
Finally, Karen Campbell led attendees on a tour of the 3-D Bio-Home developed at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composite Center.
Read on for the resources shared by our presenters.
Maine's housing challenges and opportunities
Our panel engaged in a conversation from four very different perspectives--Maine State Housing, city planning, state government, and a private developer. They all agreed that Maine is facing a housing crisis but were also enthusiastic about the resources we have in Maine to meet the challenge. These are the resources shared by our panelists (from left to right):
Aging in Place Program. The Community Aging in Place Grant Program offers no-cost home safety checks, minor maintenance repairs, and accessibility modifications to eligible low-income elderly and disabled homeowners. These services enable recipients to continue living safely and comfortably at home.
First Time Home Buyer Program. MaineHousing’s First Home Loan Program makes it easier and more affordable to buy a home of your own. Offers affordable, fixed rate mortgages and other assistance.
Home Accessibility and Repair Program. MaineHousing’s Home Accessibility & Repair Program pays for professional home repair and accessibility changes. Homeowners must meet certain income guidelines. Professional contractors in your area do the work on your home. MaineHousing approves these contractors.
LiHEAP Program. You can get help paying for your home energy bills and emergency home heating fuel delivery from the Home Energy Assistance Program.
Mobile Home Replacement. If you own and occupy a mobile home built before 1976, MaineHousing can help replace it with a brand-new ENERGY STAR® certified manufactured home on the same site. The Pre-1976 Mobile Home Replacement Initiative is part of our mission to help keep Mainers in warm, affordable, safe homes. If you’re eligible, you will get a $35,000 grant toward a new, more energy-efficient home.
Salute ME Program. Qualified active duty, veterans and retired military personnel will receive a 0.50% discount to the already low First Home Loan 30-year fixed interest rate. MaineHousing primarily offers mortgages to first-time home buyers; however, we are able to waive the first-time home buyer requirement for qualified active duty, veterans and retired military.
Weatherization Program. MaineHousing’s Weatherization Program provides grants to low-income homeowners and renters to reduce energy costs by improving home energy efficiency.
Ryan Fecteau: Senior Advisor, Community Development and Strategic Initiatives, Governor’s Office of Policy Innovation, and the Future
3iHoMe Event Post Card. The mission of 3iHoME is to create independent community based living options for people living with disabilities that are affordable and include integrated support services.
Community approaches to housing
We heard from four Lifelong Community leaders about different approaches to housing--from chore and home repair programs and sharing information about tax abatement programs to an adaptive tool library and sand bucket/shoveling programs. The message that came through loud and clear was the importance of collaborating with partners and developing the program that fit the unique strengths of the community.
These are the resources shared by our panelists (from left to right):
Dr. Chris Morin - Chair, Aging Well in Waldo County
Lisa Joyce - Outreach Librarian, South Portland Public Library & Co-Chair, Age-Friendly South Portland
Lisa shared extensive information about their snow shoveling and sand bucket program. She also shared this sample letter with information sent by the City of South Portland to all residents about property tax abatement programs.
Making homes safer and more convenient for aging
Jill Johanning shared information about universal design to make homs more accessible at all ages.
Jill was asked to compare the cost of new construction that included components of universal design with the cost of retro-fitting an existing home. The cost to add universal design features to new construction rquires and increase of 0-5% of cost. Jill is currently working on a project to retrofit a 1970 Colonial home to include universal design features in the kitchen, the addition of a small first floor bath with a roll-in shower, first floor washer/dryer connection and a ramp entrance to the home. The only contractor willing to bid on the project estimated a total cost of $200,000.
implementing and promoting local accessory dwelling unit policies
Deirdra Murphy described the Bath ADU Guide, which received funding from the AARP COmmunity Challenge Grant
funding for housing improvement and development
tour of 3D Bio-Home
We are deeply grateful to our funder, AARP Maine,
and to the planners, municipal officials, builders, developers, and
Age-Friendly Lifelong Communities who came together to enjoy a day of networking, learning, and fun.