Affordable housing is an issue for every generation of Mainers.
Maine is facing an affordable housing crisis. There is not a single county in our state where a full-time worker earning the minimum wage can afford a typical two-bedroom apartment. According to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, nearly 31,000 renters — 1 in 5 Maine renters — pay more than half their income toward housing costs.
For every Maine family living in an affordable, federally subsidized unit, almost three families are on a waiting list. This is a statewide problem. I believe affordable housing should be the expectation in every community, rather than an anomaly. We owe this to our seniors, young families who want to make a life here, and our workforce.
In 2021, I sponsored a bill to cut red tape that stands in the way of building or renovating affordable housing units in our state. I chair the Commission to Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions.
In 2020, Governor Mills signed my bill into law, LD 1645, An Act To Create Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing and Preserve Affordable Rural Housing doubled the current rate of new affordable housing production by creating the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit program. It was the single largest state investment in housing in Maine’s history. In late October 2021, we broke ground on Skowhegan’s Mary Street Apartments, a 40-unit affordable housing construction, marking one of the first projects to be built as a direct, tangible result of this legislation.
In 2022, my bill LD 2003, An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Increase Housing Opportunities in Maine by Studying Zoning and Land Use Restrictions passed and was signed by Governor Mills as part of a group of bills meant to help Maine grow housing supply to meet demand. This law reforms zoning restrictions to help Maine meet goals to build more housing each year and allows Mainers to build ADUs on property they own.