The Porch Light

News and perspectives from Northern New England's nonprofit leader in affordable housing


Renters’ Credit Proposal Would Address Maine’s Most Pressing Housing Problem

3.9.17

A new proposal recently floated by the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities (CBPP) would tackle the single most pressing housing problem that we encounter at Avesta: a profound lack of affordable homes for extremely low income people.

In January of 2017, 369 households (representing 668 people) came to Avesta seeking an affordable home. Their average annual income was $14,400 and only 25% of them had any kind of rental assistance in hand. Households headed by a senior (age 55+) represented the largest share of these applicants.

In that same month, because turnover is so low and the resources available to build new, affordable apartments are so scarce, we were only able to provide housing to 35 households. And the bottom line? Without the benefit of rental assistance, the best that extremely low income households could get is their name on a waiting list. Of the 35 families we were able to house in January, 27 had rental assistance and the other 8 had incomes averaging nearly twice that of our typical applicants.

In other words, the typical household that comes to us for help in securing an affordable home is almost assuredly not going to get it unless…


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Laurie’s New Home

9.13.16
laurie-on-moving-day

Moving Day.

Sitting in Laurie’s new apartment with her and two of her three sisters, it’s hard to believe that this photograph of her was from just last month. In this picture, Laurie Rennae is sitting on the front steps of the small apartment building she had been staying in, waiting for her sisters to pick her up. Her face shows the weariness of having spent too much time in an unsafe and overpriced apartment. But there’s a glimmer of hope in there too. It’s moving day. Laurie was moving into a brand new affordable senior apartment building, Ridgewood at Village Square in Gorham, Maine. In fact, Ridgewood was so new that Laurie was the first resident there and lived in the 24-unit building all by herself for two weeks!

Like so many other seniors in Maine, Laurie struggled to find an affordable, safe, quality home. She was bouncing around between friends’ and families’ houses and substandard apartments, but had hit rock bottom in her most recent apartment. This overpriced, second-floor walk-up apartment posed serious mobility issues, and the lack of insulation and heat created dangerous living conditions for Laurie,…


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Back to School

8.31.16

Bus toyBuses are rumbling down the streets and school bells are ringing. It’s official… back to school for kids all over Maine and New Hampshire this week! As they don their backpacks and lace up their sneakers, we wish everyone a great school year filled with fun and learning.

 

Students: expand your knowledge, make new friends, try new things, and be the best you you can be. Teachers: Thanks for all you do every day to support your students. And to the nearly 500 school-age children who live in Avesta Housing communities: we’re rooting for you!

 

Brick Hill Kids, August 2016 020

Avesta Resident Service Coordinator Nick Kjeldgaard catches up with Yohanita before she starts fourth grade.

We caught up with a few Avesta kids earlier in the week and asked them about school. And while they all shared great excitement for going back to school, their reasons varied:

Ariane, 7th grade: I love school because it gives me new opportunities to learn. I love doing new science experiments, playing flute, and singing in the choir.

Yohanita, 4th grade: I like hanging out with…


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Top 5 Things to Do Before You Move into a New Apartment:

5.26.16

Moving

1. Look through your belongings and get rid of anything you have not used or worn in the past two years, because chances are you will not need it in the future. This is a great time to donate your items to a local shelter or second-hand store. This is also a great time to go through your cupboards and throw out any old spices and canned/packaged food that have expired. Get rid of any furniture that may not fit in your new place.

2. Pack a box of essential items that you will need immediately when you move into your new place (important paperwork, phone numbers to local utility companies, a few cooking utensils, and dishes). Pack one room at a time and clearly mark these boxes. Pack the kitchen and bathroom last as these are the rooms and items you will be utilizing until the day you move.

3. Change your address at the post office, doctors’ offices, utility companies, schools, places of employment, the bank, pharmacy, and any other companies you do business with.

4. Meet with your new landlord to walk through the apartment. Take measurements and have a plan of…


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7 Tips to Being a Better Technology User at Work and Home

4.4.16

As an IT professional, I deal with a lot of technical issues on a daily basis. Things go wrong for a myriad of reasons and there are any number of possible solutions, but there are definitely a few tips you can follow to avoid landing at your IT person’s desk.

Here are 7 tips anyone can use to become a better IT user at work and home. 

1. Enter at your own risk

More problems stem from Internet-related baggage than anything else. Going to unsecured websites, opening email that is from someone you don’t know, or clicking on links and ads that appear on webpages can all download harmful software to your computer. Being mindful of the places you go digitally can help keep you from accidentally downloading something that you don’t want. A lot of times this software just causes more ads and pop-ups on your computer, but sometimes it can be very devastating. Malicious software can capture information that you send out through the Internet, including bank and/or credit card information. The website where you shared personal information may be secure, but the software hidden on your computer may have bigger plans.

2. Don’t save your passwords

I know! It seems…


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