House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick on Wednesday called for bipartisan action on his “Keep ME Home” bond to invest $65 million to build affordable housing for Maine seniors. The call to action comes as a new study shows a dire shortfall in affordable rental homes for low income older people throughout the state.
According to the new report, which was commissioned by the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and undertaken by Abt Associates, Maine has a shortage of nearly 9,000 affordable rental homes for low income older people, and that this shortfall will grow to more than 15,000 by 2022 unless action is taken to address the problem. It also found that Maine has the oldest population and the 8th oldest housing stock in the nation.
Eves has proposed the bond to create 1,000 units of energy-efficient affordable housing for seniors in all 16 counties of the state as part of his “KeepME Home” plan to help seniors live independently in their homes and communities.
“Maine seniors deserve bipartisan action from lawmakers. The Keep ME Home bond will address a dire need for affordable senior housing across our state,” said Eves. “Maine seniors want to live independently longer and they want a more secure retirement. They don’t want to be forced into nursing homes but they also are having trouble maintaining their homes, keeping up with rising property taxes, and the high cost of heating oil.”
Eves added, “The Keep ME Home bond is a win for seniors. But it is also a win for our economy, which has lagged behind the nation in the recovery from the recession. We face a jobs gap and a wage gap. The KeepME Home bond will help create good housing and construction jobs in every county in the state. The bond would create or sustain at least two-thousand good paying jobs. It would result in an additional construction investment of more than eighty million dollars statewide. It will invest in our local economies and our seniors. It’s a win win.”