The latest from MaineHousing. Please share with your partners!
The latest from MaineHousing. Please share with your partners!

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."      - Helen Keller

On behalf of MaineHousing's employees, thank you for your partnership and support.
-- Director John Gallagher 
MaineHousing office closures
December 26: Christmas
January 2: New Year's Day
January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Homeownership purchases 980 loans
On December 15, the last loan purchase date of the year, the Homeownership team reached 980 loans or 98 percent of its 1,000-loan goal for 2016. MaineHousing far surpassed the loan volume goal of $115 million with a final total exceeding $120 million.
MPRC recognizes 2015 annual report
The Maine Public Relations Council this month awarded MaineHousing its Golden Arrow Award for top annual report by a non-profit. The 2015 annual report titled "Continually Improving" was done in-house by the agency's Communications and Planning Department.
Asset Management gets positive review
MaineHousing's Asset Management Department recently received the results of its 2016 Annual Compliance Review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and "it was another good year," said Director Bob Conroy. "No findings, corrections or follow-up necessary."
The review is of Performance Based Contract Administration, a contract  to administer the Section 8 program on HUD's behalf. MaineHousing is required to perform specific tasks under the contract and the agency's performance is reviewed annually by HUD, he said. 
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)

As of December 16


Total Applications: 32,766

Eligible: 16,765

Pending: 12,962

Denied: 2,192

Other: 847

FIRST HOME LOANS

Purchases: 980
As of December 15


Pipeline: 267
As of December 9

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT AUTHORIZATIONS
October 2016 vs. October 2015
Privately Owned Housing Units: 354, down 0.6%
How this breaks down:
Single family: 343, up 20%
Multifamily: 11, down 84%
For the first 10 months of 2016, there have been 48% fewer multifamily units authorized by building permits.
LIHTC awards: 6 projects, 290 units
MaineHousing will be distributing more than $3 million in 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits to six development projects that received the highest number of points under the Qualified Allocation Plan scoring system. The projects will create 207 family units, and 83 elderly units.
Development Director Mark Wiesendanger said the developers were given notices to proceed on December 15-16. Fourteen projects from 12 developers were submitted, but one was withdrawn, totaling 572 units and $6.6 million in requested credit. Eight projects were family housing while six were elderly. 
Sharing $3.08 million in tax credits, which will bring $28 million to nearly $30 million in private investment, are:
  • 62 Spring Street Apartments, Auburn, 41 family units, new construction, Anew Local Community Development;
  • Oriole Way Apartments, Ellsworth, 50 family units, new construciton, Oriole Way GP, LLC;
  • Riverview Terrace, Westbrook, 83 senior units, acquisition/rehab with preservation set aside, Anew Local Community Development; 
  • The Hartley Block, Lewiston, 63 family units, new construction, The Szanton Co.;
  • Summer Street Workforce Housing, Gardiner, 15 family units, new construction, Developers Collaborative;
  • Southgate House, Scarborough, 38 family units, conversion and new construction, Avesta Housing Development Corp.
One Landlord's Story
A fire destroyed one of landlord Peter Marcinuk's buildings last October in Norway. Tenants got out safely.

'Thankful that no one was hurt'

By Deborah Turcotte, Public Information Manager

That high-pitched noise squealing through the chilly October night air would not stop. The constant buzzing and blaring of one long-held note lasted for more than one-and-a-half hours.
But nobody minded.
Landlord Peter Marcinuk, owner of Northeast Rental Housing, stood outside his burning two-story Norway apartment building that night hearing the otherwise nerve-grating sound as he tried to keep a mental checklist of questions as they popped up and eventually were answered. Were his 12 tenants out of the building? Did they have guests over? Were they out?
Is anyone hurt? Is everyone safe?
The noise finally stopped. But if there is such a thing as music to one’s ears, this sound's presence was it.
“The smoke detectors were going off throughout the blaze until they melted,” he said, with a gasping sigh of relief. 
Too often news reports of apartment or house fires include the words, “the smoke detectors were not working.” Not in this case.
“We were thankful that no one was hurt in the building,” he said. “A cat died, but people were safe. They were kept safe because we comply with life-safety codes.
BUILDING FAMILY FUTURES
HCV's new pilot program aims to prevent working family homelessness
A new pilot program aimed at preventing homelessness and increasing opportunity for working families is off to a good start.
The pilot is the result of one of the recommendations of the 2015 Maine Affordable Housing Working Group, which was established by the Maine Legislature to study housing affordability in Maine, and to offer recommendations on how to improve it. The rental assistance pilot program was one of several that was adopted by the Legislature.
The law includes a significant focus on increasing family self-sufficiency. Building Family Futures pairs rental assistance with the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program as well as shelter navigator services aimed at providing resources to families in a more holistic approach.
MaineHousing is starting this pilot with 10 Section 8 vouchers this year.
Participants will be working families who meet income and general eligibility requirements for the HCV program, and preference will be given to families in which an adult member is participating in an FSS-related service or program, such as financial literacy, employment preparation, or other courses. Families are referred to Building Family Futures by the MidMaine Homeless Shelter's Homelessness Prevention Program.
Waterville was selected for the initial pilot based on the challenges faced by families in the area. The median income is $31,995 compared to Kennebec County at $46,559.
In about a month's time, 10 families have enrolled in the RentSmart renter education course, a prerequisite to having a voucher issued to them. MaineHousing plans to issue vouchers to all of them if they finish the course and move on in the FSS program.
DROUGHT RELIEF
Another $250,000 to help low-income households
This month, MaineHousing allocated an additional $250,000 to help lower-income households whose wells are impacted by the extreme drought affecting Maine, bringing the total to $500,000 since last October.
State HOME Funds are being used in conjunction with the 2016 Home Repair Program to address well repair issues that are being experienced by households that are income-eligible. Households applied at community action agencies, and the funds were available on a "first come, first serve" basis.
The first $250,000 allocation helped provide drought relief services to 23 eligible homeowners.
Community action agencies continue to take applications and maintain waiting lists should additional resources become available.