Old Town’s Penobscot River House now under Volunteers of America management

Posted July 22, 2014, at 3:06 p.m.

OLD TOWN, Maine — The Penobscot River House — the old riverside woolen mill that was changed 30 years ago into affordable housing for the elderly and people with disabilities — is now being managed by Volunteers of America, company Vice President Melissa Morrill said Tuesday.

The 80-unit brick apartment house was formerly managed by Preservation Management Inc. of South Portland. Renters pay one-third of their income to live in the apartments that overlook the Penobscot River.

In partnership with Maine State Housing and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Volunteers of America officially took over management of the River House on June 26.

“We assumed the remaining debt on the property,” Morrill said, saying the original renovation costs were around $6 million. “The timing was right. We were happy to purchase the property and they were in the position to sell.”

The acquisition is the agency’s eleventh in northern New England, according to a press release.

“We’ve received a warm welcome from the residents,” Morrill said in the statement. “Our aim is to be a positive presence within each community where our housing is located, and we look forward to building partnerships with the Old Town community to improve the health and well-being of our residents and our neighbors.”

Once known as the Old Town Woolen Mill, the building was later used as a shoe factory and shuttered in the 1960s. The building was redeveloped in the 1980s into the Penobscot River House to provide affordable housing to people in the community.

Volunteers of America believes that service-enriched housing is paramount to the long-term independence and success of the people served and the Old Town program will continue to offer programs through the local Eastern Area Agency on Aging and programs at the University of Maine, Morrill said.

“We will continue to offer residents service coordination to help them age in place,” she said.

Those services include in-home support, resident service coordination and well-being and educational workshops and community activities, Morrill said.

Volunteers of America manages more than 400 affordable housing properties in 42 states and serves more than 25,000 people, the press release states.


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