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  • Bipartisan senior housing bond to get public hearing

    A bipartisan affordable housing bond for Maine seniors will get a public hearing June 5, 2015 at 1 p.m.

    House Speaker Mark Eves has proposed the bond to create 1,000 units of energy-efficient affordable housing for seniors in all 16 counties of the state as part of his “KeepME Home” plan to help seniors live independently in their homes and communities.   

    “The Keep ME Home bond will address a dire need for affordable senior housing across our state,” said Speaker Eves, D-North Berwick. “It will also help create good housing and construction jobs in every county in the state. It's a win for seniors and our economy.” 

    Maine has a shortage of nearly 9,000 affordable rental homes for low income older people, and that this shortfall will grow to more than 15,000 by 2022 unless action is taken to address the problem, according to a report by independent national research firm Abt Associates.

    Maine has the oldest population and the 8th oldest housing stock in the nation. 

    “We must ensure that Maine seniors have the opportunity to live independently, and to do so near their families,” said Senator David Burns, R-Whiting.  “In a rural state like Maine, that is not always easily possible. A bond that provides funding for housing as well as construction jobs is a reasonable approach to ensure affordable housing is available for Maine seniors in all regions of our state.” 

    Eves and Burns have come together to put a spotlight on the aging challenges facing the state, co-chairing the bipartisan caucus on aging.  The Keep ME Home bond has earned widespread support in the legislature from Republicans and Democrats. More than 150 organizations have endorsed the bill, including the Maine Council on Aging, Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine, Associated General Contractors of Maine, Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, Maine Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, American Council of Engineering Companies of Maine, Maine Real Estate & Development Association, and Maine Real Estate Managers Association.

    The public hearing on LD 1205, An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support the Independence of Maine's Seniors, will be held in the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee at the State House in Room 228.