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Funds from 2015 bond will help build more than 200 housing units for Maine seniors

Natalie Williams | BDN
Natalie Williams | BDN
Gov. Janet Mills speaks during the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce's Early Bird Breakfast in Bangor in this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Funds from a housing bond that voters passed in 2015 will help build more than 200 units of affordable senior living in five cities and towns, a year after Gov. Janet Mills ordered the sale of bonds blocked under the previous administration.

The bulk of the housing bond, $14.5 million, will help build 212 new affordable housing units across seven developments, including two in Scarborough, two in Belfast and one each in Ellsworth, Farmington and Hartland.

Funding from the housing bond will be supplemented by municipal funding, private capital, money from the Community Development Block Grant program and other sources. In total, funding for the seven projects is expected to total $45.8 million, according to the Maine State Housing Authority. The housing bond also included $500,000 to repair and weatherize existing senior housing units.

The $15 million bond, initially proposed by former House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, passed with 69 percent support in a statewide referendum in 2015. It stipulated that the bond would support housing in locations near health care facilities and that some of the funding would go to homes located in the 11 counties with populations under 100,000.

The funding was blocked by former Gov. Paul LePage, who cited concern about the state’s credit rating and later said he disliked handing money to developers and suggested the funds be used for telemedicine instead. Mills, who came into office in early 2019, signed off on the sale of the bonds during her first few weeks as governor.

 


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