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Report: Serious Affordable-Housing Shortage in Maine, U.S.

For every 100 extremely low-income households in Maine, only 52 homes are affordable and available.  (larissal1234/Twenty20)
For every 100 extremely low-income households in Maine, only 52 homes are affordable and available. (larissal1234/Twenty20)
March 15, 2019

PORTLAND, Maine - There's a severe shortage of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households across the United States, and according to a new report, Maine is no exception.

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition defines "extremely low" incomes as those at or below the poverty level, or 30 percent of their area's median income.

Greg Payne, director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, described the problem in Maine.

"For every 100 extremely low-income households, we have 52 homes that are affordable and available to them," he said, "and just looking at it at that level, I think, helps to put it in some perspective, and you just realize its mass."

According to the report, there are nearly 42,000 extremely low-income households in Maine. Almost one-third are senior citizens. Another 30 percent are people with disabilities, and 28 percent are households where people work full-time.

Payne said entries on the waiting lists for affordable housing in the state can number in the tens of thousands. To shorten the lists, the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition is advocating in the Legislature for creating more affordable housing units.

"We are putting forth a proposal that would double our annual production of affordable housing in Maine through a state affordable-housing tax credit," Payne said.

The bill number hasn't been released yet, but Payne said it would leverage federal low-income housing tax credits, and lower some taxes for developers who build affordable housing. The report said Maine is doing a little better than the nation as a whole. On average, for every 100 households across the country that need affordable rental homes, only 37 homes are available.

The report is online here, and Maine statistics are here.

Laura Rosbrow-Telem, Public News Service - ME