Plus First Home Loan purchases, originations are up
Plus First Home Loan purchases, originations are up
Happy Holidays from your friends at MaineHousing
STEP Vouchers

MaineHousing’s Housing Choice Voucher Department assumes administration of Stability Through Engagement Program (STEP) vouchers

Beginning in January, MaineHousing’s Housing Choice Voucher Department will assume administration of Stability Through Engagement Program (STEP) vouchers. STEP is designed to provide short term rental assistance to rapidly re-house individuals and families who meet the federal definition of homelessness. The Housing Choice Voucher Department currently administers rental assistance for nearly 4,000 HCV program participants and conducts apartment inspections prior to lease up for STEP tenants, so adding voucher administration is a logical next step.
Homeless shelters and program participants should experience no disruption in the program. Participating homeless shelter staff will continue to refer eligible clients to the STEP Program based on the likelihood that the participant, with the help of STEP, can achieve housing stability within 12 months. HCV program staff will contact shelters to set up a program relationship.
STEP currently is offered in Androscoggin, Aroostook, Cumberland, Hancock, Kennebec, Knox, Oxford, Penobscot, Washington, and York Counties.
Fair Housing Workshop
For Landlords and Property Managers
Monday, January 14th; 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Bangor Housing Authority
Want to learn more about:
  • The Maine Human Rights Act and housing law?
  • Changes in service/assistance animal laws?
  • Reasonable accommodation including for persons with mental illness?
  • HUD regulations on harassment in housing?
  • Other fair housing and HUD regulations and guidance?
A three hour seminar designed for Landlords and Property Managers on Fair Housing will be offered by the Maine Human Rights Commission in conjunction with Pine Tree Legal and Disability Rights on January 14, 2019 at 10:00 am at the Bangor Housing Authority, 161 Davis Road, Bangor. Landlords, property managers, leasing consultants, owners of manufactured housing, the general public, and anyone who sells, leases, owns or manages residential property are invited.
The seminar is free but registration is required. Register online at https://jan14fh.eventbrite.com. Contact Carrie McCarter, 207-624-6296, or email carrie.mccarter@mhrc.maine.gov if you have specific questions you hope to have addressed.
Technology
MaineHousing visits University of Maine Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction Laboratory
MaineHousing employees toured the VEMI Lab at the University of Maine -- Maine’s only emerging technology facility. VEMI's mission is to conduct pioneering research leading to developments of innovative technologies that 1) improve navigation, 2) make information access easier and more intuitive, and 3) have immediate societal impact by providing life-changing solutions for blind/visually impaired people, for older adults, or for anybody in need of eyes-free environmental access. We visited to see how these technologies will benefit an aging population and their housing needs.
One project in development is consumer-accessible visualization software, Architecture Demo, which can be used to solve and prevent many problems related to spatial perception and cognition:
  • Contractors can use the software to determine potential problems in construction.
  • Investors and stakeholders in a project can see what a building or addition will look like before beginning physical construction.
  • Someone who is moving into a new living situation, whether it be their first apartment, new house, or an assisted care facility, can explore and familiarize themselves with their new environment before even setting foot on site.
A Conversation with Recovery House Providers
A panel of experts including representatives from the Maine Association of Recovery Residences, the Maine Alliance for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services, developers and managers of recovery housing, and a consumer talked with us about what is needed and our potential role in assisting people in recovery. Several members of Maine’s Continuum of Care were able to join us for the discussion.
The lead off question was: Does MaineHousing have a role in the development of recovery houses? All agreed that MaineHousing can play a role in the financing of recovery residences and in educating communities and the public. As a housing organization MaineHousing can:
  • Educate municipalities about the Fair Housing Act as it pertains to recovery residences and how recovery residences are regulated through zoning ordinances. Often, recovery residences are treated like a “large single family house.” Seeing them as group housing imposes an entirely different set of codes.
  • Help remove the stigma associated with recovery residences.
  • Develop finance mechanisms to support recovery houses.
Leadership Development Graduates
MaineHousing's Leadership Development Program Graduates
MaineHousing's first leadership development class spent the last year in an intensive leadership development program, creating relationships, sharing experiences, and exploring a range of topics such as emotional intelligence, systems thinking, and collaborative leadership. The results of the program will be felt for years to come, but already we can point to several promotions, the establishment of a Volunteer program for MaineHousing, and strong bonds between the members of the first class. In addition to classwork, three teams worked on projects of benefit to MaineHousing and presented the results to the Leadership Team in October and November.
A special thank you to Laura Moorehead who designed the curriculum and facilitated the program; our partners, Dana Totman, Steph Primm and Jason Parent, who shared their insights on leadership with the class, and Frank O’Hara who facilitated a session on communications and public speaking.
Evaluation of the program has begun, and we hope to offer another opportunity in 2020. Join us in congratulating the graduates of MaineHousing’s first Leadership Development Program: Alison Dyer, Allison Gallagher, Becky Dydasco, Clyde Barr, Jamie Johnson, Jason Bullock, Kelly Watson, Kyme Ferenc, Leah Bruns, Linda Uhl (not pictured), Tina Partridge, and Tracey Anderson.
Volunteers Needed
2019 Point in Time Tuesday, January 22nd
Annually, on one night in January, there is a count of all homeless people throughout the State of Maine. Counting families, youth, veterans, senior citizens, and others who are homeless gives us a better understanding of the factors contributing to homelessness in our communities. The information collected helps us in our work to end homelessness.
Volunteers are crucial to the success of the count! On the night of Tuesday, January 22, 2019, and during the day on Wednesday, January 24 and Friday, January 25, volunteers are needed to survey homeless members of our communities.
HUD uses information from the point-in-time counts, among other data sources, in the congressionally-mandated Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR). This report is meant to inform Congress about the number of people experiencing homelessness in the U.S. and the effectiveness of HUD’s programs and policies in decreasing those numbers.
On the local level, point-in-time counts help communities plan services and programs to appropriately address local needs, measure progress in decreasing homelessness, and identify strengths and gaps in a community’s current homelessness assistance system.
If you would like to volunteer, contact
Jerry Dewitt, Veterans Outreach at Tri-County Mental Health Services
Office (207) 783-4663 x1228
Cell (207) 576-0376
Partners Share Their Experiences
Partners share their experiences
Three partners who work closely with MaineHousing to provide affordable housing options shared their experiences at our All Staff Day held on December 11, 2018. Claude Rwaganje, Executive Director of Prosperity Maine, shared his experience working with new Mainers and counseling programs to help them achieve homeownership. Steph Primm, Executive Director, Knox County Homeless Coalition, described our partnership to develop new affordable housing models for homeless households. And Mark Adelson, Executive Director, Portland Housing Authority, shared the accomplishment of a statewide centralized wait list for HCV voucher applicants. We want to thank them and all of our partners who are essential to our mutual goal of assisting Maine people in attaining and maintaining quality affordable housing.
Plan to Attend!
MEREDA’s 2019 Forecast Conference
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Real estate leaders and economists will unveil economic projections for the industry and for the state. If you’re in the construction, architectural, banking or legal community, check out the agenda.
Public Notices
January 15 is next Board meeting
MaineHousing Board of Commissioners will next meet on January 15 at 9 am in the MaineHousing Board Room.
FACTOIDS
Purchases: 1,128
As of December 3, up 9.8% from December 1, 2017; $152 million in volume, up 18.1% from December 1, 2017
In the Pipeline: 335, $43.0 million in volume
as of December 3
 MAINE HOME SALES
Units sold in October 2018: 1,832, up 3.44%
from October 2017 and up 9% from
September 2018
Median sales price in October 2018: $215,000, up 4.88% from October 2017 and unchanged from September 2018
There were an estimated 11,566 units listed for sale in October which, based on the October sales numbers, would be 6.3 months of inventory.
and
HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HEAP)
As of December 2, for the FFY2018 program
Total applications: 30,490
Eligible: 11,149
RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION BUILDING PERMITS

October 2018 – Maine

Privately owned units: 485, (up 42.2% from October 2017 and up 6.1% from September 2018).
Of that total,
single-family at 440
(up 39.7% from October 2017) 
and multi-family at 45
(up 73.1% from October 2017).
For the third quarter ending in September, total units permitted were down 12% from the same period in 2017. Single family units decreased 17% while multifamily units increased 45% from the third quarter in 2017.
Since October 2016, single family units permitted increased 28%, while multi family units permitted increased 309% during the same period.
In Maine, the number of homeowners where the head of household is 65 or older and holding a mortgage, has increased 115% since 2000. Overall, the number of homeowners with a mortgage increased 46%. Both numbers far exceed national rates where all homeowners with a mortgage increased 36%.