Maine state Rep. Roberta Beavers, and House Speaker Mark Eves, at the groundbreaking celebration for Young Street Apartments held at the South Berwick Public Library on Wednesday. The new housing will be located in the heart of town, next to the library.
By Ramona du houx
Maine House Speaker Mark Eves joined community leaders on December 17th to celebrate the groundbreaking for new affordable housing for local seniors.
The Young Street Apartments were made possible by the collaboration between the Town of South Berwick and Avesta Housing. The 28 units for people 55 and older is by the library, the elementary school, Main Street and a residential neighborhood.
The goals of the project are in line with Eves’ KeepME Home initiative to help Maine seniors age independently and have a more secure retirement. The initiative includes a proposed $65 million bond to create affordable housing in each of Maine’s 16 counties for a total of 1,000 units.
“The Young Street Apartments are going to do so much to help its senior residents live independently longer where they have their roots. The new housing is located in the heart of town, near the amenities and the services seniors need to participate in their community,” said Eves, D-North Berwick, whose district includes this part of South Berwick. “We can do this many time over in every county of the state – all while putting Mainers to work at a time when our state faces a significant jobs gap.”
The development and construction of the Young Street Apartments will bring $6 million in economic investment into South Berwick and create and maintain 200 jobs.
“This project is great news for local seniors and our area,” said Rep. Roberta Beavers, D-South Berwick. “Our community can be proud to be home to such a project – one that can inspire and inform others in Maine and help our state meet the challenges of our aging population. So many of us will be eagerly following this project to see how it can serve as model for others.”
In addition to creating affordable housing for seniors, Eves’ KeepME Home plan would boost pay for in-home care workers who have not had a raise in nearly a decade and expand property tax credits for seniors.
KeepME Home recognizes the demographic challenge that Maine faces. Already the oldest state in the nation, Maine is seeing 50 people turning 65 each day. Maine also has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, which can be more expensive and difficult to maintain for homeowners.