Maine’s affordable housing could suffer under Pres. Trump’s proposed budget

LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — President Trump’s proposed budget released Thursday could reduce Maine’s affordable housing due to its cuts to the department of Housing and Urban Development.

Thousands of families in Maine rely on federally funded housing. The President’s proposed budget would cut HUD funding by about 13 percent.

President and CEO of Avesta Housing, Dana Totman, one of the largest nonprofit housing agency in Northern New England, said these cuts could cause a chain reaction.

“The proposal is just devastating,” said Totman. “The carpenters, the sheetrockers, the plumbers, the folks who actually build those would not have jobs to do so.”

He said that these cuts could force nonprofits like Avesta, and others like them, to freeze construction of any new affordable housing. It could also force people waiting for housing to wait longer. It could also make people who live in affordable housing lose it.

Programs like Meals On Wheels are also set to be cut in the proposed budget. Totman said those programs help keep senior citizens and those with low income in affordable housing.

“If they lose that support, it really endangers their ability to stay in our housing,” said Totman.

Totman said these affordable housing programs have steadily received cuts over the past few years.

“I think we’re already getting into the bone on a number of these programs so I think at this point, these programs are about as thin as they can get,” said Totman. “I don’t think there are obvious places that cuts or savings could occur.”

Chris Costa

WCSH6