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Interest rates up slightly; stay competitive
MaineHousing's first-time homebuyer mortgages continue to be attractive among people under the age of 34 who are buying a home. We hear from them that they like our low competitive rates plus $3,500 towards down payment and closing costs. Effective November 21, our 30-year fixed rates will go up by a quarter-point, below what we're seeing being offered in the marketplace. The First Home Loan rate will be 3.375% (3.976% APR, 0 points), and it is reduced by a quarter point for qualified active duty, veterans, or retired military.
IMPORTANT DATES
November 24-25: Closed to observe Thanksgiving.
December 20: Board of Commissioners meeting, Board Room, 9 a.m.
LIHEAP funds going out
MaineHousing recently received $33.5 million or 90 percent of this year's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) allotment. The first batch of payments to fuel dealers on behalf of LIHEAP receipients was sent out November 18.
LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP)

As of November 17


Total Applications: 25,934

Eligible: 10,441

Pending: 13,638

Denied: 1,265

Other: 590

FIRST HOME LOANS

Purchases: 857
As of November 14


Pipeline: 315
As of November 8

NEW RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION PERMIT AUTHORIZATIONS
September 2016 vs. September 2015
Privately Owned Housing Units: 348, up 21%
How this breaks down:
Single family: 312, up 12.2%
Multifamily: 36, down 77%
MaineHousing to beta test HUD data tool
MaineHousing has been selected as one of nine state housing agencies nationwide to beta test the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed Data Assessment Tool. The tool is proposed as a requirement of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation.
Developments among preservation awards
MaineHousing congratulates the development teams of Somerset Place in Brewer, Hodgkins School in Augusta, Rosa True School in Portland, and Mission Hill (the former St. Andre's Convent) in Biddeford, on your recent Maine Preservation awards! We're happy to have partnered with you by helping to fund their rehabilitations.
Cony Flatiron rehab wins national honor
MaineHousing congratulates the development team of Cony Flatiron in Augusta, winner of a J. Timothy Anderson Award for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation from the National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, in the category of "Best Historic Rehab Using LIHTCs -- Medium ($10-20 million development cost.)"
4% senior projects chosen; 9% underway
MaineHousing recently informed three developers that they may proceed with their proposals to develop senior housing under the 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LITHC) Rental Loan Program, according to Development Director Mark Wiesendanger. The agency, too, is busy scoring 9% LIHTC applications. Here's an update:
Senior Housing – 4% LIHTC: MaineHousing received five applications (116 potential units) for debt and subsidy financing for the 4% LIHTC. The total request was for more than $7 million, in excess of the $4 million available. 
As first announced in the July newsletter, the selection criteria included preferential points for projects located in "age friendly communities" that have made a commitment to "aging in place" initiatives. Projects also were given preferential points if they addressed the need for senior housing in a service center community, and if the project would be owned, sponsored, or developed by a community housing development organization (CHDO).
The successful projects were selected based on region, scores achieved, MaineHousing’s available subsidy resources, project feasibility, and other scoring requirements. The projects are: St. Francis Apartments II, Catholic Diocese of Maine, Waterville, 68 units; Larrabee Commons, Westbrook Housing Authority, Westbrook, 55 units; and Fox School Apartments, Avesta Housing, South Paris, 34 units.
9% LIHTC: MaineHousing received 14 applications for 572 units and $6.6 million in requested credit. Eight projects are family housing while six are elderly. Twelve developers are looking to site projects in Auburn, Berwick, Biddeford, Ellsworth, Gardiner (2), Lewiston, Old Town, Portland (2), Sanford, Scarborough, Waterville, and Westbrook. An announcement of projects being awarded the 9% LIHTC will be made next month. 
(From left) Bath Housing Authority's Amy Babb, director of administration, and Deb Keller, executive director, meet with four local housing authorities to kick off the aging-in-place pilot program.
ACCESSIBLE HOUSING
Aging-in-place pilot program underway to help elderly, disabled live safely in their homes
Following the example being set by Bath Housing Authority, MaineHousing is launching an aging-in-place home modification pilot program that brings basic, quality home safety improvements to the residences of income-eligible seniors.
Five public housing authorities will take part in the $300,000 pilot: Bath, South Portland, Old Town, Westbrook, and Fort Fairfield. Under the program, individuals 60 years old or older, or who have a disability, and own their own homes or live in a house owned by their family can ask the housing authority to inspect and make suggestions on how to make their living environment safer for them.
Bath Housing, which started the program 15 months ago with a grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation, is training the other housing authorities on how it operates the program. It begins with communication. The first question asked of residents is, "how do you use your home and how can we help you make it better?"
Bath Housing does a safety check of each home, including smoke and CO detectors, dryer vents, fridge coils, and water heater set points, and installs, if needed, grab bars, shower wands and seats, handrails, raised toilet seats, drawer pulls, faucet levers, and other improvements. Minor repairs to flooring, gutters, storm and screen doors, and existing steps and ramps also may be done. No major home renovations are part of the program, but referals to agencies that may help are given. The average amount spent per house is $1,500.
The program should be available in the four communities in January.
Keller receives Stephen B. Mooers Award
In 2015, MaineHousing created the Stephen B. Mooers Award to recognize the contributions of individuals in the housing field who exemplify Stephen’s lifelong commitment to assist Maine people in obtaining and maintaining quality affordable housing and services.  Stephen B. Mooers Award recipients not only help Maine people, but we look to them to teach us how to better serve those in need. They do so by their actions, words, creativity, ingenuity, and compassion. 
MaineHousing Director John Gallagher presented the 2016 award to Deb Keller, Executive Director of Bath Housing at the Maine Affordable Housing Policy Conference on November 17. A video of the presentation is on MaineHousing's Facebook page.
Deb has been with Bath Housing since January 2014. In that short time, she recommitted Bath Housing to serving the needs of the community by first conducting a community needs assessment, and then launched the Community Aging in Place program – a new, simple home repair program. The goal of the program is to demonstrate that small investments in home safety can extend the time low-income seniors can stay safely in their own home and reduce health care expenses while improving health outcomes. Deb is now partnering with MaineHousing to bring the program to four other housing authorities in Maine.
Deb has a solid track record of working to improve housing for people who need it most. Her impressive resume shows she has served as a community development leader in non-profit management with 25 years of experience in Maine. She most recently served on the 2015 Maine Affordable Housing Working Group.
DROUGHT RELIEF
$250,000 helps 23 stricken households
Drought conditions throughout Maine, particularly in southern areas, are drying many homeowners’ wells, including those used by low-income households.
In October, MaineHousing allocated $250,000 of state HOME Funds to be used in conjunction with the 2016 Home Repair Program to address drought conditions 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.
Within two weeks of our announcement, all funds available were earmarked to provide drought relief services to 23 eligible homeowners.
Community action agencies will continue to take applications and maintain waiting lists should additional resources become available. MaineHousing has been exploring other possible resources and partners to help us address this ongoing concern.
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