Please share with your partners! Thank you! Comments? dturcotte@mainehousin
Please share with your partners! Thank you! Comments? dturcotte@mainehousin
Community planners share housing challenges
Under the leadership of Director John Gallagher, MaineHousing is undertaking a process to formulate a vision of publicly supported housing and housing opportunities in Maine for the next five years or more. This process will help us identify Maine’s housing needs by examining how changes in our external environment, such as demographic, economic, community and social, may affect the demand for housing and housing-related services -- and our capacity to deliver them.
The process includes convening panels of stakeholders who are well regarded in selected areas. On Monday, October 17, community planners shared their insights.Thank you, Judith Cooper East, Washington County Council of Governments; Andrew Deci, City of Bath; Wayne Marshall, City of Belfast; Tex Haeuser, City of South Portland, Dick Barringer, Muskie School of Public Policy; and Ed Barrett, City of Lewiston.
To summarize: Communities say the serious issues facing Maine are a lack of affordable housing, an aging housing stock, lead, and energy costs. They believe there is the need to strike a balance between commercial and residential development as well as the ratio of affordable housing to market rate housing.  Such a balance will help the community grow stronger in the long run. How municipalities tackle these issues may vary depending on their size. In terms of meeting the needs of lower-income households and seniors, they feel that community action agencies are of great importance, especially in rural areas.
New projects open, add 81 apartments
MaineHousing congratulates our development partners on the openings of these new projects:
Ridgewood (pictured), Avesta Housing, 24 senior housing units, Gorham;
Rosa True Apartments, 10 affordable units, Portland, Developers Collaborative, grand opening October 25;
Hodgkins School Apartments, 47 senior housing units, Augusta, Augusta Housing Authority with Developers Collaborative.
HCV plans landlord "Lunch & Learn"
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program plans a "Lunch & Learn" for York County landlords from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 10 at Pepperell Center, 40 Main Street, Biddeford. Landlords will learn about supportive services, inspections, and meet with vendors. RSVP by November 3. Contact Ann LaChance at alachance@mainehousing.org.
Advanced Fair Housing workshops scheduled
MaineHousing and Pine Tree Legal Assistance will present  advance Fair Housing workshops in Westbrook on October 25 and in Bangor on November 8. Property managers, public housing authority staff, and housing advocates will learn how to avoid discriminatory housing practices. Contact Debbie King-Johnson at 626-4670 or dkjohnson@mainehousing.org.
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)

As of October 21


Total Applications: 16,231

Eligible, Benefit Pending: 5,370

Pending: 10,343

Denied: 273

Other: 245

FIRST HOME LOANS

Purchases: 771
As of October 17


Pipeline: 335
As of October 12


MAINE HOME SALES
Sept. 2016 vs. Sept. 2015
Sold: 1,732, up 6.13% 
Median Sales Price: Up 1.4%, to $188,038
NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT AUTHORIZATIONS
August 2016 vs. August 2015
Privately Owned Housing Units: 391, up 18%
How this breaks down:
Single family: 350, up 12.2%
Multifamily: 41 units, down 116%
IMPORTANT DATES
October 25: MaineHousing closed for an all-staff meeting.
November 6: Daylight Savings ends. Fall back one hour.
November 11: Closed to observe Veterans Day.
November 15: Board of Commissioners meeting, Board Room, 9 a.m.
DROUGHT RELIEF
MaineHousing commits $250,000 to help income-eligible households
In response to concerns expressed by Governor Paul LePage for the hardships faced by families affected by the ongoing drought, MaineHousing, in partnership with the state’s community action agencies, is making $250,000 available to provide drought relief to income-eligible households without potable water.
Funds are limited and are available on a first come, first serve basis to help those households with an immediate need for relief. Funds will be used for well repair, replacement, or recovery measures only for those homes for which the lack of potable water is due to the recent drought. Affected households can contact their area community action agency to determine their eligibility and to schedule an appointment to apply to have their well inspected for damage specifically brought on by the drought and a determination of the best course of action to provide relief.
For a list of community action agencies and telephone numbers, please visit mainehousing.org or call 2-1-1 Maine, a service of the United Way.
IMPROVING WITH AGE
Weatherization Assistance Program at 40
This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the federal Weatherization Assistane Program, and October 30 is designated as National Weatherization Day. It gives us an opportunity to focus on the benefits of weatherization and the work being performed by the dedicated people who have roles in the successful administration of the program.
Mainers are being served through the determined efforts of nine community action agencies represented by the Maine Community Action Association, weatherization services providers, technical service businesses, 2-1-1 Maine, a service of the United Way, and others.
In Maine, the Weatherization Assistance Program has produced energy cost reductions in more than 70,600 homes. Read more here.
State Rep. Arthur "Archie" Verow, D-Brewer, speaks to Board.
Home modification tax credit nears
MaineHousing is nearing completion of rulemaking for the new Home Modification Tax Credit approved by the Maine Legislature that begins in 2017. Public comment is due October 28, and the Board of Commissioners will vote at its November 15 meeting.
Taxpayers whose federal adjusted gross income does not exceed $55,000 may receive a tax credit up to $9,000 for a percentage of expenses incurred to make a home accessible to an individual with a disability or physical hardship who resides in the home. The percentage is determined on a sliding scale based on income.
To receive the tax credit, eligible taxpayers must request certification from MaineHousing, show documentation of the work that was completed, and be available for an inspection, if needed. The certification then goes to  Maine Revenue Services.
At a public hearing before MaineHousing's Board of Commissioners on October 18, bill sponsor Representative Arthur "Archie" Verow, D-Brewer, spoke of a couple who had to sell their house because it became a danger to them, and they were unable to pay for the addition of safety features that would have allowed for them to stay in their home.
"Giving a small income tax credit would seem to be something that would be reasonable to help," Verow said.
First Home Loan numbers top 2015 total
MaineHousing's Homeownership Department reached a milestone this month when it surpassed last year's number of First Home Loans purchased from our Green Key Lenders. Last year, 750 mortgages were purchased, and as of October 17, 771 mortgages so far this year -- on our way to our goal of 1,000!
For qualified active duty, veterans, and retired military, the quarter-point reduction on our already competitive First Home Loan rate, along with $3,500 towards downpayment and closing costs, is an attractive option. So far this year, 46 homes were purchased under this rate cut, and another 16 are in the pipeline. Learn more about our First Home Loan program here.
Home sales show demand but unaffordability
Data suggests homes were becoming less affordable in Maine through the first six months of 2016.  Statewide home buying was affordable at the end of 2015 with only three of 16 counties showing an unaffordable index reading.  Through six months of 2016, the MaineHousing's statewIde Affordability Index has dropped below affordable, and separately six counties now show an index ranking below affordable. Read More Here.
A silver lining in our analysis is that during the fourth quarter of the year, home sales begin to decline and with them median home prices. This decline brings the overall year-end median price down and subsequently the income needed to afford the median priced home. 
Alliance forms with Compass Working Capital
MaineHousing's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program is teaming with Compass Working Capital to learn how to better help its clients in ReStart: A HUD Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program.
Compass Working Capital recently launched its National Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Network after being chosen by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to train and provide technical assistance on its asset building and financial skills models to local or state FSS programs. MaineHousing's ReStart staff believes this training will help them better serve its clients who currently are living in federally subsidized housing and are wanting to learn money management skills and build savings in order to get out of poverty.
Maine Realtor magazine available online
The first edition of Maine Realtor magazine hit the streets earlier this month, having a debut at the Maine Association of Realtors annual conference plus mailed to more than 5,100 individuals. Now it is online! Click here to read the magazine.

MaineHousing, which attended MAR's conference, has an ad in this quarterly publication, on Page 13, and Bangor Savings Bank, one of our top Green Key Lenders, also has an ad on Page 21 in which it highlights their partnership with us.

Also in this issue is an article titled, "Multi-Housing Difference: Pushing (or sealing) the Envelope to Make Multi-Unit Housing Affordable," written by Cordelia Pitman, director of preconstruction services at Wright-Ryan Construction. She mentions recent energy efficiency measures undertaken at Bayside Anchor (solar) and Passive House standards at Village Centre, two projects that Wright-Ryan worked on and MaineHousing financed.