housing matters 

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. 

The Housing Matters Conference brought state-wide leaders, municipal planners, builders and developers, aging services, health care, and Age-Friendly, Lifelong Communities together for thought-provoking discussion, networking, and peer sharing.

The keynote panel started off the day by sharing diverse perspectives on the state of housing in Maine. The afternoon panel featured four of Maine's Age-Friendly Communities who described, simple, low-cost innovative ideas successfully implemented in Maine communities. 

Breakouts provide a deep dive into: 

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)

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)

Making homes safer and more convenient for aging

Jill Johanning shared information about universal design to make homs more accessible at all ages. 

Jill Johanning - Architect and Accessibility Advocate at Alpha One

Jean Saunders - Chair, Age-Friendly Saco

implementing and promoting local accessory dwelling unit policies

Deirdra Murphy described the Bath ADU Guide, which received funding from the AARP COmmunity Challenge Grant

Eli Rubin - Community Planner, South Portland

Deirdra Murphy - Co-Chair, Age-Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec (Bath region)

Additional Resources

funding for housing improvement and development

Morgan Hotham shared the many programs available through USDA Rural Development. 


Morgan Hotham - Community Outreach Coordinator, USDA Rural Development

Housing Trusts

Robyn Stanicki - Community Development, Bangor Maine

Innovative solutions

Rep. Maggie O'Neil shared information about a new statewide homesharing pilot that will go into effect in 2024. 

Innovative Housing Solutions: Home Sharing and Tiny Homes

Rep. Margaret O’Neil, Saco (part) District #129 

Anne Krieg - Dir. of Economic and Community Development, Bangor

tour of 3D Bio-Home

Housing Matters closed with a tour of the BioHome3D. Thank you for these pictures from Julie Frahlich, Chair of Building Livability in New Gloucester

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.